To Cambridge and a 6-hour Skype call
Despite my wilting blogging output, it’s time to catch up on a busy week, as the rain continues to gurgle in the gutters outside. It has been a week of highs and a low. T
he low was when I attempted my first-ever PechaKucha presentation (20 slides, with the computer giving you just 20 seconds per slide) at a green entrepreneurs event and left feeling it had misfired.
But a wave of highs soon had me cheering up. Maybe I had been tired: the previous day, Monday, I had ended off with a 6-hour Skype call to New York for the final judging of this year’s Buckminster Fuller Challenge awards. The session ended at 22.00 and I confess Skype isn’t my favourite environment, but will try almost anything in memory of the hallowed Bucky.
Also among the ups were two days in Cambridge, the first with Jorgen Randers and perhaps 20 other contributors to his book 2052. Great to catch up with Jorgen, and with other contributors (and friends) like Paul Gilding, Tom Gladwin, Nick Robins, Mathis Wackernagel and Peter Willis. On the evening before the session, picking up a thread of deep pessimism in Jorgen’s analysis in the book, I asked what the average age (and sex) of we contributors had been? The answer, in essence, was older white males – and my reaction was that, even if the outlook is dire, the mood and creativity would have been significantly improved had we had more women and more younger voices.
One set of images that sticks in my brain came from Australian David Butcher, a former CEO of WWF Australia and Greening Australia, He lives on an Illawarra property which is 30 percent tropical rainforest, and described to me seeing (I think from a bridge across a river on the property) a red-bellied black snake catching and eating an eel, and (separately) a large python dangling from a tree to catch passing birds on the wing. He only rumbled what was going on in the latter case when he saw the explosion of feathers.
The following day, Paul, Tony Juniper, Karl Wagner and I did an all-day session with some 12-15 chief sustainability officers, and similar, for the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. A wonderful opportunity to take the temperature of a sample of these key change agents. They came from companies like Jaguar-Landrover, Lend Lease, Nestle, Sainsbury and Unilever. My sense is that many of them have been banging their head against some fairly dense walls and ceilings, but there were many examples of great work being attempted.
The first time I had been at the Moller Centre, part of Churchill College, which turned out to be an excellent venue for both meetings. A nice link back to Winston Churchill’s support for Denmark in the Second World War. He apparently borrowed the Maersk fleet for the duration and, if I was correctly informed, made good the losses (which must have been pretty substantial) after the war.
Another great thing this week: Jo(sephine) Living, our new OnPurpose Fellow, has joined the team for six months. Still recall Susie Braun, our first OnPurpose Fellow, with huge gratitude and affection. Checking the Volans website, it strikes me that we need to update her entry – she went on to become a senior strategic planner at Comic Relief.