My listing of my favourite 5 science fiction books appears on the Shepherd website today. The titles are: Dune (Frank Herbert), Earth (David Brin), American War (Omar El Akkad), The Wandering Earth (Liu Cixin) and The Ministry for the Future (Kim Stanley Robinson). Could readily have conjured up several more lists on sci-fi, including one made up entirely of women.
This week saw us properly back in the office, Somerset House, for the first time in a very long time. On Tuesday. I was also meant to go in yesterday, Thursday, but had too many Zoom calls already booked – and had managed to give myself blisters by wearing new shoes on a hot day and walking back and forth across London to pick up a new suit.
Plants back in place in the office, which greens the space up nicely. But the rhythm of online events and calls continues unabated. This week, for example, my virtual gigs have included two with the Vibe Summit, on Monday evening for (EU and North America) and on Tuesday morning (APAC). Also zoomed into the latest meeting of the Royal Household Environmental Steering Committee, affording a somewhat different set of lenses on reality.
Very much enjoyed an event with The League of Intrapreneurs, as part of Global Intrepreneur Week. Founded by my old colleague and friend, Maggie De Pree, the League had asked us to do a couple of sessions this week. Mine saw me in the chair of a session on Biomimicry and Regeneration, featuring another long-standing colleague and friend, Beth Rattner (ED, Biomimicry Institute), Diana Yousef (founder & CEO, change:WATER Labs) and Ido Sella (founder & CEO, Econcrete).
It went exceeding well, by all accounts. As did yesterday’s session for the Positive Fashion Forum, with Rachel Arthur of FashMash in the chair and Valerie Keller of Imagine and I discussing the need for transformational leadership and collective action. Important issues raised, but we concluded that this the transformation is only going to work if it’s fun, at least some of the time. And this was.
My second article on aspects of the emerging Regenerative Economy appeared in I By IMD today.
Delighted to soft launch today the new website for our Green Swans Observatory. Two of my favourite bits of content from the launch edition are the interviews I did with Patagonia, Inc. founder Yvon Chouinard and Dr Azzam Alwash, the man who has led the semi-miraculous regeneration of the Iraqi Marshes – devised on the order of the happily long dead Saddam Hussein.
What a joy to be able to identify plants as we walked across Barnes Common yesterday. I have had the PictureThis app on my iPhone for well over a year, but it really came into its own as we walked around Mill Hill and back.
Alongside relatively common plants like Comfrey, Gorse, Scottish broom, Sheep sorrel, Ribwort plantain, Hedge mustard, Wall barley, Greater Celandine and Star of Bethlehem, we came across Sicilian honey garlic for the first time. The latter’s leaves tasted as advertised.
The richness of plant names was illustrated by the Star of Bethlehem, aka as Garden star-of-Bethlehem, Sleepydick, Nap-at-noon, Grass lily, Summer snowflake, Snowdrop, Starflower, Bird’s milk, Chinkerichee, Ten-o’clock lady, Eleven-o’clock lady, Bath asparagus, and star of Hungary. And Dove’s dung.
I’d be rather less inclined to taste Ripgut brome which we saw on the Common or the Hemlock water-dropwort we saw along the banks of Beverley Brook, a plant whose common names include Dead tongue and Dead man’s fingers.
Wonderful sense of walking through a landscape in multiple dimensions. Past, present and future. Plants, insects, birds, and people representing many more nationalities and family trees than might have been the case in the sixteenth century, for example.