ecological identity

ecological principles for collective action

ecologically-centered design



Human-Nature Relationships

Human-Nature Relationships



Institutional Re-Design and Leadership Development

Institutional Re-Design and Leadership Development



Ecosystem Models

Ecosystem Models

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Aldo Leopold
May 11, 2016

Nothing can be done in the world without creating a new kind of people.

– Aldo Leopold

We believe that natural ecosystems provide the most abundant and diverse models for how complex human systems can and should function

We believe that natural ecosystems provide the most abundant and diverse models for how complex human systems can and should function.  Collective action problems are deep-rooted environmental and social issues that require many people working together to achieve structural change.  Ecological principles for collective action anchor our methodology that builds the capacity of individuals, organizations, and institutions to re-imagine and re-design themselves to function more like natural ecosystems.



Velvet Frame’s mission is to realign human aspirations with the evolution of natural systems by helping individuals and organizations to conceptualize and develop an ecological identity.

The purpose of realignment is to step closer to true sustainability by encouraging people to acknowledge themselves as an integral, and equal part of the natural world.  The development of an ecological identity™ allows people to identify and position themselves as actors in complex ecosystems.

Wendell Berry Given
May 20, 2016

There are no unsacred place; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.

– Wendell Berry Given

Who We Are


10.  I have worked with consultants and communications strategists before.
How are you different?

We are not a branding, public relations, or marketing agency. Therefore, we don’t work on the perception, personality, products, or positioning of your company in order to influence existing or potential customers, or distinguish you from its competitors. Furthermore, we only focus on shaping a visual identity to the extent that it supports the alignment of narrative, language, and theory of change. Velvet Frame engages in responsive capacity-building by applying an ecosystems methodology to social and environmental problems. Please see our philosophy, why work with us, and who we work with for more details.

9.  Who do you work with?

Please see who we work with under About.

8.  What are "cultural narratives"?

A cultural narrative is a system of stories that helps a community of people assign meaning to their history and existence. They reinforce societal norms, teach moral values and ethical behavior, and strengthen identity through shared knowledge and experience. Like the adage, “America is a melting pot”, narratives are ultimately the stories we choose to tell about ourselves.

7.   Is there a similarity between your work and biomimicry?

Yes, we are influenced by the principles of biomimicry and believe that the most sustainable solutions to mankind’s problems can be found by studying and emulating nature.
We are expanding the application of that core idea by focusing on leadership, institutional re-design, and collective action.

6. Why focus on organizations and institutions?

Organizations and institutions are critical to building the capacity and scale of structural change. They function as pillars of civil society, stewards of culture, and are spaces to negotiate shared values and identities, and foster social trust. Many long-standing institutions are in flux – a great opportunity to re-purpose and re-build them to be more responsive to complex environmental challenges and inclusive to rapidly shifting demographics. An ecosystems approach to their evolution is holistic, strategic, and sustainable.

5.  I’m interested in the work you are doing.  Are you hiring?

Thank you for your interest! Although there are no open positions at this time, we are always looking for exceptional talent to expand our team, and are open to requests to intern. We are also in the process of developing a Collective that will explore emerging topics at the intersection of environment and social change, create content, and generate thought leadership. Please contact us and tell us about yourself, your background, and career interests.

4.  What was the inspiration for starting Velvet Frame?

We saw a need for a deeper conversation about the intersection of environment and social change, particularly the complexity of human-nature relationships. We wanted to create a space to engage the fundamentals of change – the philosophies and ethics that inform what we value, and how we approach our work. The goal is to take environmentalism “out of the box” by elevating the environmental dimensions of social problems, and demonstrating how an environmental lens contributes a nuanced perspective.

3. I’m interested in talking about a project.  How do I get in touch with you?

We would love to hear from you! Please use our contact form to share some information about yourself, your needs, and your project. We will be in touch shortly.

2.  What is "collective action"?

Collective action refers to action taken together by a group of people whose goal is to improve their status, the status of others, or achieve a common objective. The challenge arises when there are disincentives to cooperation, or the scope of the problem is so great that coordination of a group’s actions becomes extremely difficult. In many ways, environmental issues are the ultimate collective action problem.

1. What are "ecological principles"?

Ecological principles is an umbrella term to refer to the interconnected principles that describe the processes of the natural world – ecological, cosmological, spiritual, biological, and scientific – that exist independent of human objectives.

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