Wonderful Norman gothic cathedral today in Monreale, the Moon pale and distant overhead.
I saw the little white building from many miles away – amazing how news images can lodge in the brain. Hugely admire all those of who have fought the Mafia over the decades, including Judge Giovanni Falcone, whose assassination was triggered from that inconspicuous blob in the landscape. That same fated year of 1992 also saw the assassination of his colleague and friend Paolo Borsellino.
Palermo, where we stayed at the Hotel Excelsior, was incredibly noisy. But chapels, churches and cathedrals really were miraculous – particularly the Church of San Cataldo, with its three faded pink domes. Felt something particularly powerful there.
Seeing wings everywhere, on fallen angel statues, in museum, and even in fossilised shells. Loved the statue of fallen Icaro/Icarus. But also way too much plastic and other debris, particularly around the harbour near the Hotel Dioscuri, where we are staying.
A wonderful German guide took us around the ruins of Selinunte today, in a landscape once known for its wild celery. Playful and knowledgeable, she pointed out a mandrake plant, which has a singularly complex history – and wondered whether it might have had something to do with the tale of Sleeping Beauty? A glorious place, but with an easy-to-overlook and bitter history of war and destruction.
Fascinating visit to the Roman Villa del Casale near Piazza Armerina, in the middle of the island. Staggering – and beautiful – display of historical wealth. Amazing what could be done with mosaics. Struggled to get good shots of the mosaics with available light, though some folk were happily flashing away – despite notices asking them not to.
Scenes like ‘The Great Hunt’ are pretty distressing, if you choose to view them from the animals’ eyes. For example, where would the rhinos and ostriches shown being hauled aboard galleys have originally come from before they were shipped across the Mediterranean to whatever fate awaited them in Sicily?
Flew in from Gatwick yesterday to Catania. Travelling with Jules Verne for the first time. Slightly stunned by the size of the group, perhaps because they have recently been taken over any a more commercial group, though we sort of got used to it.
Then across today to Syracuse, founded in 733 BC, where Elaine, I and another woman managed to become separated from the group inside the Ear of Dionysius. Missed key parts of the tour of the ruins, but I suspect it’s because I am a natural outliers.
Fascinated by an independent visit to the Archimedes Museum, small but with some intriguing exhibits. Had long wanted to see his haunts, but interest was spurred when reading about the Antikythera mechanism. Surprised by the amount of graffiti here, though some to it quite creative.
A fairly frenetic September to date, among many other things with speeches given in:
Zurich at the Innovation for Sustainability conference on 4 September, Taking Sustainability Exponential, followed by a panel discussion with other members included the venture capitalist Steve Westly, who I hadn’t seen for some years having been on an HP advisory group with him shortly after we started Volans);
Amsterdam, at the Ashoka CircularFutures event on 6 September, co-hosted by Patagonia and eBay, where I spoke alongside Ken Webster of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation;
Bern, where I spoke at a dinner on 18 September, the night before the Swiss Energy & Climate Summit opened, meeting former German Foreign Minister for the first time since some time around 1990, when we spoke at an event in Wiesbaden; followed by a panel session the next day, alongside Urs Gredig, Editor-in-Chief of CNNMoney, Switzerland, and Anders Wijkman; and then
London again, where I was part of a panel that formed the centrepiece of an evening event co-hosted by Berenberg, Philanthropy Impact and the Impact Investment Network. Chaired by Richard Brass, Berenberg’s Head of Wealth and Asset Management UK, the panel also featured David Connor (Founder, 2030Hub, Liverpool), Martin Ewald (Managing Director & Head of Investment Strategy, Infrastructure Equity, Allianz Global Investors) and Rupini Deepa Rajagopolan (Head of Berenberg’s ESG Office)
Otherwise work continued on our New Carbon Economy Pioneers program, with Richard Roberts organising an event alongside Governor Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in California, where we launched our new White Paper, Our Carbon Future, on our Innovate UK event in Exeter, and on our Tomorrow’s Capitalism program. All in the teeth of headwinds created by e.g. Brexit and looming trade wars, but we are making real progress.
My first answer in an interview in The Knowledge Review, a U.S. educational publication:
“I am 69, I have been an environmentalist since I was 11 (when I raised money for the World Wildlife Fund in its first year, 1961), have founded four companies since 1978 (all still exist), written 19 books (one, The Green Consumer Guide, sold around a million copies), coined terms like green consumer and the triple bottom line, founded the company Sustainability in 1987 when the world was hardly used, have sat on over 70 boards and advisory boards, have spoken at some 1,500 conferences worldwide—and am still trying to work out what I will do when I grow up.”
Elaine compared the interview to a sub-image in a picture she recently bought at the Royal Academy summer exhibition by Mila Fürstová. The sub-image shows a tsunami (based on Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa) in a bottle.
The bottled wave is at the centre-bottom of the image, which also, serendipitously, includes the constellation of Volans.
Here’s the whole image:
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.