Envision the militaries of the world uniting to serve the planet.

Jim Channon’s vision for the militaries of the world is far-reaching. It includes the idea that they work in concert to address the environmental stresses on the planet in a program he calls Operation Noble Steward.  “We had a Marshall plan after WWII to rebuild Europe and Japan, and today we need something along these lines to recover the Earth’s biosphere,” he says.

As the lead guest instructor for the SAMS course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Channon meets with the future generals of the globe, who assemble from eleven nations to discuss just such an operation. This special advanced training program brings together the brightest and most promising officers from all branches of the American military and other allied nations. During the course these future leaders are taken through exercises that purpose them to use military resources to reconstitute the Earth’s biosphere – a mission he calls “our most unavoidable global task.”

Channon has been heralding this message for decades, beginning in the 1970s with his First Earth Battalion.  In the late 1980s, media maverick Ted Turner was inspired by the conversations he had with his friend Jim Channon. These conversations led to the creation of the back-story and characters for Turner’s leading syndicated environmental cartoon “Captain Planet.” The series played heavily during the 1990s and Jim’s signature “Go Planet” cheer was heard across the globe.

At his personal residence in Hawaii, Jim pioneers an eco-homestead and leads his twelve-member family of choice toward sustainability for 2012. On Jim's version of "the shire" he has integrated permaculture, bio-dynamic gardening, ancient land practice, and social architecture to make the land not only self-sustaining but a heavenly experience.

With physical nourishment and mental serenity as his goals Jim is unabashedly aiming high and heading for paradise in this lifetime. The primary skill set here is what he calls proto-mythology, or embedding a new idea inside a cultural setting then feeling it into being. His work is a pro-spiracy not a con-spiracy. He organizes concepts that will attract us to a positive future.

Often referred to as the “Fastest Magic Marker in the West,” Jim Channon is an out-of the-box strategic visionary and a high-speed graphic illustrator. His unique combination of imagination, wit and intellect has been likened to that of Walt Disney, Jim Henson and Bucky Fuller – combined. Channon’s career of 50 years spans the military and corporate worlds where he has developed far-reaching ideas, beauty, and conceptual tools to make Spaceship Earth a better place for all. 
Jim has pioneered and perfected a specific set of skills that create an archetype for the new Renaissance Man of the Twenty-First Century. Following our interview, I summarized these primary skill sets into six categories: Eco Warrior, Social Architect, Visionary Artist, Storyteller, Renaissance Man and Global Shaman. 
I believe the combination of these aptitudes could be taught in a college setting as an exciting course on leadership for change agents. Enjoy ~ 
© 2009  text by Susanne Sims
© 2009  Photos Susanne Sims, Jim Channon Archives

Social architects are innovators of social inventions and they are concerned with how human beings interact with each other within specific environments, dwellings, and in commerce. Social architecture harbors civilization. From spiritual country clubs to community recycling centers, Jim has illustrated and designed numerous new environments. This includes an award-winning green chateau in the Czech Republic, a sacred water palace in Bali Indonesia, and the renovated waterfront plan for Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. He as captured the strategic visions (development plans) for dozens of towns, districts, and special zones on the planet. 
In Lawton, Oklahoma he helped the town reinvent itself and create a new economic identity by conceptualizing Lawton as a global recovery center, able to respond to worldwide natural disasters and civil crises. The plan integrates the airport, warehouses, and even a university where attending personnel can train in crisis response.
The key to Jim’s success is this arena is his ability to listen to the emerging ideas of others as they are proposed and discussed in strategic sessions. He then assembles the key concepts and delivers them in a high speed, three–dimensional rendering. He can assemble dozens of ideas in one strategic design in which all participants involved see their respective thoughts in action. This skill set is unparalleled and among the 50 strategic visions he has rendered, he has received distinction as the only man on the planet to have assembled the visions of 10 of the top 100 multinational corporations. In every vision he requests the group first identify their higher purpose.
Of the many projects Jim has worked on, one of his favorites is the 80 square mile National Training Center for the army which he helped design near Barstow, California. It includes lanes and fairways where military units practice force on force engagements with non-lethal laser adapted weapons and sensors so that simulated battles can be scored with credible measures. He added fireside settings into the structure so that, at the end of the day, members of the units could gather at night to socialize and discuss their performances like athletes do to improve their teamwork.
Jim began painting in his early twenties while in Vietnam. His exquisite oil paintings were displayed in the Army War Art Collection and the chief of staff’s office. While on combat missions, his mapping of terrain and illustrations of combat zones proved to be extremely useful. He first mapped the Viet Cong underground tunnel systems. It was this extraordinary graphic overview skill, eventually recognized at top levels, which pulled him out of the trenches and landed him in the strategic design centers of the military world. As he worked he included in his mission the goal to bring warfare to a new level of sanity. He furthered the invincible in war and persuasive in peace concept and worked with other concepts that took a wider range of new thinking such as non-lethal weapons, peaceful interventions, and remote viewing taking them to new levels of acceptance.
The picture machine inside Jim’s head can capture not only what he sees, but goes well beyond to include imaginary worlds and environments unseen. From unseen ideas and vaguely understood structures, Jim explains how he CAD/CAMs (rolls the idea around in his mind) until he lands on the perfect view or perspective then instantly renders it onto a large white board. “I’ve drawn automobile assembly lines after just one walk through the space,” he tells me while assuring me that this is not a photographic mind or a God-given talent but something others can do as well. “People can load images into their brain just like words,” he claims. He calls this Visual Language and has written manuals and produced videos that explain how it works.
Jim has imagined and illustrated airfoil sailing ships, folding wing dirigibles, and buildings that seem to come from a combination of “tomorrow-land” and the “shire.” He is a futurist who insists on cherry-picking the past. He engineers like a Bucky Fuller with the social charm of Jim Henson.
John Strand, a client who worked with Jim on designing a new Sprint Communications Center describes why this skill is so valuable. “What Jim can illustrate in a few hours allows a planner, for example, to initially calculate the number of work stations, count the workforce members, cost out the building requirements and infrastructure, and define the scope of the work. This allows decision-making, rapid prototyping, and concept development to proceed at light speed.” Walt Disney called this “Imagineering” where concepts could become a built reality overnight.
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Project Earthrise, a 100-year positive vision for the earth as illustrated by Jim Channon for the World Business Academy.