What is the Creative Response? Activate it and influence others

Allow yourself time and space to think about how we tend to look at things. Are we really paying attention? And what kind of attention?

Yeray Lopez Portillo
Yeray Lopez Portillo
Takes 6 minutes
Follow your intuition - The number one tool

Although I believe that daydreaming is a fruitful source of inspiration, having a creative task at hand, or being learning one, has always had the power to center and connect people. Today I write about the "creative response", and what changes within us when we allow ourselves to do something creative.

Many people complain that they aren’t ‘creative’, some get annoyed by what they perceive as a lack of rigor, taste, or originality, while missing the point that being creative does not equal being an artist. The creative pond from which we “fish ideas”, as David Lynch would put it, is the same we use for business, hobbies, and life, and you have it. So here we are, hoping to help you get ideas from it, be creative, whatever your craft is.

Here at Moonleaks we'll start diving into filmmaking, photography, and storytelling soon (we are preparing some really nice online classes for you to learn, and get out in nature with your new skills). We will share whatever we consider helpful to communicate the importance of fighting for nature creatively, and help you get more ideas. Yes, ideas and awareness are our tools.

... I Love the analogy of "catching ideas" as if they were fish. They are out there, we just need to allow them to enter our consciousness, and get to know them. I equate catching ideas with fishing, where you require patience and abate, which is the desire to catch them. You don't see the fish (the idea) at first, as it is underwater, but then you catch it and fall in love with it. Now you see the fish as a whole, now you have something. Write that idea down, as it will attract other ideas, other fish from that school of fish, a beginning of a script (or a creative project).

David Lynch

I guess the most important take for me, from what I hear him say, is to be aware of what occurs in our minds. Drop the fear of that seminal idea not being good enough, or full enough, and give it a chance to aggregate with others. Drop self-criticism and create a body of ideas big enough to call it a project. The bad ideas will drop out with time and scrutiny, that’s part of the process. The change that happens within us while doing it, that state of alertness, we call “the creative response”.

Focus on the idea, and you will be transformed. This change is independent from the output it might have, a drawing, a song, etc. Maybe you don’t make a film after all, but just the fact of caring to understand the shadows on your bay’s face, and how to capture them on camera, the color contrasts throughout spring, or the fact that you appreciate the roughness of the paper you’re drawing on, is worth the while.

The creative response can shift how we think, how we see; it leads us to feel something different about our experience and the world. It compels us to actively participate in it, and challenge the destructive ideologies that oftentimes surround us.

The creative response

The creative response is something we do to answer the question: What kind of world do we want to live in?

Creativity as a compass

I have worked for a while now as a photographer and a graphic designer for humanitarian and environmental projects, NGOs, and campaigns. I must say that I have been very lucky, but I always felt a lack of documentation, and inclusion of local perspectives, along with most phases of those programs. On many occasions, the reason given was not enough funds or personnel. But I believe, in most cases, it was a lack of design and understanding of how empowering, and enriching, the creative response of those affected by the project can be.

Our long-term goal at Moonleaks is to enable organizations and individuals to document, creatively, what they believe is meaningful and necessary. We would like to see the creative expression as a must-have in these kinds of programs. That’s why I would like to briefly describe the concept of human development that we are working with.


Human development is a process of enlarging people's choices, creating enabling environments for them to enjoy long, healthy, and creative lives while maintaining fair relationships with their fellow earthlings.

In principle, this set of choices can be infinite and change over time. But at all levels of development, there are three essential ones that must be present, so other choices remain open. Those are: for people to live long and healthy lives, to be able to acquire knowledge, and to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living.

But the concept of human development does not end there. Additional choices from political, economic, and social freedom, to opportunities for being creative and productive, are highly valued by many of us.

Human development has two sides: On one hand, the formation of human capabilities such as improved knowledge and skills, and on the other the use of those capabilities for leisure, or for being active in cultural, social, and political affairs.

Income is clearly only one option that people would like to have. Albeit being income an important option to have, income is a means, not an end. The well-being of a society depends on the uses to which income is put, not on the level of income itself, thus development must, therefore, be more than just the expansion of income and wealth. The focus of healthy societies, we believe, must be the living and their capabilities to contribute, with their voices and stories, to what society should be like.

Another problem with traditional indicators, like National Income Figures, is that they do not reveal the composition of that income or the real beneficiaries of such. Many times improvements in gross figures do not improve human development or happiness. They don't translate in average people living better, in fact, sometimes it is the opposite (imagine for example the quality of life of those close to newly opened mining sites. Their country is better off on paper, but they are not).

In valuing national growth, we often look at achievements like better nutrition, better working conditions, security against crime, and so on. But we tend to forget how our societies satisfy our creative needs, and give us a sense of participation in economic, cultural, and political activities.

Measuring human development

Sustainability and equity are similar in one fundamental sense: both are about distributive justice. The current generation’s destruction of environments for future generations, is no different from the present-day suppression of equal opportunities of certain groups.  

The key indicators


The use of life expectancy as one of the principal indicators of human development rests on three considerations:

Longevity. The intrinsic value of longevity is easy for theorists to underestimate in countries where longevity is already high. Living a long life may not be people's most obvious objective, but their other plans and ambitions clearly depend on having a reasonable lifespan to develop their abilities, use their talents, and carry out their plans.

Literacy. Literacy is a person's first step to knowledge building. Literacy figures are essential in any measurement of human development. At Moonleaks we would like to contribute to bringing together creativity, literacy, and activism.

The third key component of human development rests on the command over resources needed for a decent living. It is perhaps the most difficult to measure simply. It requires data on access to land, credit, income, participation, and other resources. We believe that by enabling people to document their own fight against climate change, for example, or the abuses that their habitat suffers, we increased the understanding of the need for a resource-based economy, where wealth and consequences and more equally shared.

Creative and inclusive communication helps control, and oversee, the use of resources and fulfillment of needs. Having a platform like ours to express world-views will benefit the voices of those in the front lines; the ones more affected by the lack of transparency and accountability in the use of resources.

Human development is incomplete without human freedom. The human development concept, we believe in, focuses on people's capabilities or, in other words, people's strength to manage and communicate their own affairs, understanding the importance of self-representation as an essential base for freedom.

The article on audio

MoonLeaks aims to promote human development through creative expression, while fighting abuse against animals and nature. Join us.

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Yeray Lopez Portillo

My focus is on creating content that entertains, enlightens and sparks dialogue.