As I have raced around town and the planet in recent weeks, I have been keeping a weather eye open for the signs of Spring – which are uncomfortably abundant.
Hania sent a link to the most extraordinary free diving film this morning. Watching it reminded me of my sometime semi-lucid dreams – and the time I would listen to Roger Payne’s remarkable whale song albums back in the 1980s, with the girls probably both under 10, sitting in the dark. It was as if the whales were nosing all around us. Extraordinary.
Here is the background:
In the film by Guillaume Néry, “the world champion free diver swims across the world in one breath, or at least creative editing and camera tricks present the illusion of this great feat. One Breath Around the World follows Néry to the spectacular scenes he explores without a snorkel or air tank, like a variety of underwater caves or a pod of clustered whales. The film is shot by his wife Julie Gautier who was also free diving as she filmed Néry throughout France, Finland, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines, and other oceanic destinations.
Came across to Exeter yesterday by train for an MBA Speaker Series session last night, open to public, and capacity audience. Hosted by the Exeter University Business School. Spoke on a title picked by Exeter U, “Capitalism: Does It Have A Future In A Challenging World”. My answer: Yes, but …
Dinner later with Adam Lusby and Stuart Robinson of the Business School. Then this morning I had breakfast with Tim Lenton of the new Global Systems Institute – and then went on to judge MBA student pitches, before doing one myself to them for support on our Tomorrow’s Capitalism Inquiry.
If the Triple Bottom Line was designed to capture value creation (and destruction) in economic, social and environmental terms, then a key part of our rapidly evolving Tomorrow’s Capitalism Inquiry involves taking our ‘trinoculars’ and turning them on the future—specifically the next deca
With the Inquiry still in exploratory mode, we are keeping all channels open. But three key themes are emerging: (1) doing business in the Anthropocene; (2) making sense of the shift in the centre of gravity of the global economy to Asia; and, (3), something of a wild card, how Adolescence—the stressful period where the world’s children will love into adulthood in the context of growing global challenges.
Some 1.8 billion people worldwide are now aged between 10 and 24. With adolescence turbulent enough in its own terms, how do we help these young people cope with wider turbulence—and help prepare them to drive more sustainable forms of development?
And in that context, thanks to a long-standing friend and colleague Patrin Watanatada, I was thrilled to take part in a fascinating event hosted by the Bernard van Leer Foundation and Arup this evening. The theme of the event is summarised in the slide below. A crucial question—and one that we will extend to the world’s adolescents, on whose shoulders the future will increasingly ride.
Gaia forwarded me this link yesterday, featuring a letter Kurt Vonnegut wrote to students at Xavier High School. What a generous, playful genius.
Am reading his Cat’s Cradle at the moment – and periodically laughing out loud, something I very rarely do with a book. The first time I remember doing so was with Joseph Heller Catch 22. Strange, given that both books came out of super-dark times.
Having spent some time in Mauricio Bonilla Padilla’s company in Mexico City, when he was working with Grupo Bimbo, and having first met during one of my annual lectures at Imperial College, it was wonderful to begin to repay the debt today. He now works with C&A – and is headed to Holland next week.
Flew to Copenhagen from Gatwick with Elaine and Louise on Wednesday, 30 January, to speak at a series of events. The really big day was February 1st, originally because it was Elaine’s birthday and because I was to do three major speeches in that one day. The news that my father, Tim, had died that morning was kept from me until after I had done the last speech.
The first event was organised by the Confederation of Danish Industry, the second by the High Level Advisory Board (with the audience including some 30 CEOs and the Crown Princess) and the third, out at UN City, a much larger event for the UN Global Compact. Though I say it myself, all three went very well indeed.
After discussion with the family back in Little Rissington, we decided to stay on in Copenhagen to complete my work visits on Monday. That night we had dinner with Louise and her son Noah, at Krogs, an extraordinary fish restaurant. And toasted Tim’s memory alongside Elaine’s birthday.
While we were visiting the glorious Design Museum, where we were blown away by many things, including their unbelievable exhibition of chairs, I heard from Chris Sveen, CSO at UBQ Materials, where I’m on the Advisory Board. We were invited to meet him and Glenn Frommer, who I think I last saw in Hong Kong, to dinner at Veve – a truly ravishing vegetarian restaurant. During the course – or perhaps I should say many courses – of the evening Glenn and I discovered a shared interest in SF bands, including The Grateful Dead.
Our father Tim died yesterday morning, aged 98. He was surrounded by loved ones, including our mother, Pat (see below).
I, sadly, was in Copenhagen, doing three speeches in one day. For decades I have travelled with the sense that one or both of my parents would die while I was travelling.
Here is a picture of the ensign flying at half-mast at the Capel-le-Ferne Battle of Britain memorial site over a replica of Geoffrey Page’s Hurricane.
More on this before too long, but a big tree has fallen in our forest. [And the BBC Radio 4 item picking up on this quote is some 13 minutes into this link.]
Here is one of the bigger stories from his extraordinary life.
And here is the love of his life:
Speaking from Denmark his son John last night told the Daily Express: “My father grew up in a different world. An only child, sent away to school when he was six, he jumped at joining the RAF shortly before the war. He would later stress that, while he was one of The Few, they in turn were supported by The Many. The ground crew, radar plotters, the merchantmen and tanker crews running the gauntlet of the U-boat wolf-packs. And, critically, the ordinary Britons who endured the Blitz.
“In recent years, he was an extraordinary ambassador for his generation – indeed there has been an amazing outpouring of gratitude over the internet since his death was announced and the RAF ensign went to half-mast at the Battle of Britain memorial.”
I began this blog with an entry reporting on a visit to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, on 30 September 2003. The blog element of the website has gone through several iterations since, with older material still available on this site.
Like so many things in my life, blog entries blur the boundaries between the personal and the professional. As explained on the Home Page, the website and the blog are part platform for ongoing projects, part autobiography, and part accountability mechanism.
In this new iteration of the site, the ‘Comments’ function has been reanimated. Please do make use of it.