The Fund of the Long Now

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 02015 by Bryan Campen - Twitter: @bryancampen
link Categories: Announcements, Fund of the Long Now   chat 0 Comments

June 02016 marks Long Now’s twentieth anniversary. In terms of a new nonprofit, it is a pretty good run. But for Long Now it means that we still have at least 9,980 years left to go…

So we decided to build a fund to better ensure our future, and at the same moment put deep time in your hands. We have created The Fund of the Long Now, a donor fund that we will invest in to help make Long Now a truly long-term institution.

The Bristlecone Pine Kit that includes its own tiny greenhouse tube.

As a thank you to those who provide tangible support to The Fund, we have made a limited edition set of Bristlecone Pine Tree Kits. These kits will be sent to everyone who can make a substantive donation.

The bristlecone is one of the longest living species on earth, and a living symbol of our shared commitment to the deep future, whether we measure that in centuries or millennia. The Fund of the Long Now is being built to back up our promise to that future, and to support the operating budget of a truly long-term cultural institution.

Once we reach $500,000, The Fund of the Long Now will go into active management that is specifically designed around long-term thinking. We have been testing the principles of the fund with our financial advisors for several years, and will continue to tune it as we move forward.

What your bristlecone tree will look like after about 5,000 years. Individual results may vary.

The idea behind the Fund originates from one of our core principles, to leverage longevity, and was best illustrated in Stewart Brand’s The Clock of the Long Now. So as you consider making a contribution we leave you with his quote:

The slow stuff is the serious stuff, but it is invisible to us quick learners. Our senses and our thinking habits are tuned to what is sudden, and oblivious to anything gradual. Between the near-impossible win of a lottery and the certain win of earning compound interest, we choose the lottery because it is sudden. The difference between fast news and slow nonnews is what makes gambling addictive. Winning is an event that we notice and base our behavior on, while the relentless losing, losing, losing is a nonevent, inspiring no particular behavior, and so we miss the real event, which is that to gamble is to lose.

What happens fast is illusion, what happens slow is reality. The job of the long view is to penetrate illusion.

  • Kim Liu

    As a minor side note – er, how does one take care of a bristlecone pine over the long term? I mean, I assume at some point repotting would be necessary. So, what kind of soil and such? (I.e. soil acidity, etc.) Perhaps at some point a link pointing to relevant information would be good.

    Also, I hope this does not need immediate germination – I plan on waiting until January or so before following the instructions to put the seeds in the refrigerator to try to stick with the seasons.

  • Bob Coppock

    I’m in. But I would like to hear more about the 5000-year part.

    What happens fast may not be an illusion. It may kill you. Ask the dinosaurs.

  • Zander

    Great questions, sorry I just saw this. Here are some basics, but as you might imagine there is more just a google search away. We will try and post some more care feeding links:

    Bristlecone Propagation
    Although bristlecone is a sub-alpine plant, you can grow it from seed at lower elevations. With its irregular, sculpted form and striking red-brown cones, it works well as a bonsai or a specimen plant. It is extremely slow-growing and reaches a mature height of 20 to 25 feet. Intolerant of moist or saline soils, these trees prefer well-drained, dry, rocky soil with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. They are also shade intolerant, so plant them in full sun. They are cold-hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture zone 2.


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