Grateful to Christian Sarkar for this interview in The Marketing Journal, following our conversation on Monday.
Off and on, I have watched the BBC’s Dr Who, in its various guises, since it began in 1963. Every so often, a new Doctor hooks me back in. Admit that I didn’t have high hopes for Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth time around the block in the Tardis, but was moved by this evening’s show, riffing off the Rosa Parks historical-turning-point-on-a-bus-in-Alabama story.
If this gets even a few people digging back into the history of the civil rights movement that will be helpful, but I suspect that it will have opened many eyes – and hopefully minds. Loved Vinette Robinson as Parks: quiet, determined dignity in a human and civic rights cesspit.
Liked the central idea that apparently small, inconsequential events can set change the world. Saw The Telegraph dissed it, while The Independent liked it: the old political resonances still at work. Found some interesting background on Parks’ personal history here.
Really enjoyed the session I did for Tech Mahindra at Pennyhill Park, where I discussed the overlaps between Artificial Intelligence and the Sustainable Development agenda.
Lots going on at the moment, including the complete revamp of the Volans website, where we are working with Twist Creative. Real progress also being made with our Tomorrow’s Capitalism Inquiry, with Aviva Investors, Covestro and Unilever all confirming their support this week.
Lots also going on in the realm of boards and advisory boards. Attended my last Board session for The Ecological Sequestration Trust and Resilience Brokers. Sad to leave, but after seven years I feel I have done as much as I can. And other opportunities keep coming up.
Slightly disappointed by the V&A’s ‘The Future Starts Here’ exhibition, which I dropped into after the meeting at Imperial College. But I did pick up a copy of Jaron Lanier’s stunning book, Dawn of the New Everything. Enjoying it immensely.
Got off the Tube at Hyde Park Corner, near SustainAbility’s erstwhile offices, and walked up through the backs to Grosvenor Square to meet Gaia – ahead of the People’s Vote march from Park Lane. Met her in front of the FDR statue, then met film-making friends of hers before we headed back across to Park Lane.
One of the many piles of books waiting to be read at home is No Ordinary Times, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, the story of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, which I had been meaning to read for aeons – and bought a week or so ago. We seem to be back in those times, with a growing need for a new generation of leaders.
An extraordinary mood abroad, joyous even, with people waving in friendly fashion at the police helicopters overhead. Saw many banners I liked, but one placard I particularly liked suggested that we need a national cuppa tea and a quiet chat with all concerned.
Only after some minutes of following the placard did I realise that it was being carried by Sue Riddlestone of Bioregional. We walked together for the rest of the route, with a fair few people coming up to say how wonderful the banner was.
Amazingly, so great was the press of people it took us three hours just to get back to Hyde Park Corner. Some estimates put the number of marchers at around 700,000. It felt like it, though consistently good-tempered and milt-mannered.
Along the way I met a number of people I knew, including a friend from York and a couple of friends of my brother from Henley.
A remarkable display of the tolerance and good humour of ordinary Britons. The best of a country that Brexit so threatens. And a fantastic scrambling of the generations, albeit with a strong sense that it is the young who will ultimately pay the greatest price for the “Eton Mess” that Cameron, May and their ilk have been dragging us into in zombie-like fashion.
Across to Imperial College this morning for my last Board meeting with The Ecological Sequestration Trust (TEST) and Resilience Brokers. I had resigned as part of a general tidying up of my board and advisory board memberships, but remain totally committed to the work of Peter Head and his team.
This has been my second TEST, given that the first grown-up job I had, back in 1974-78, was with John Roberts and TEST (Transport & Environment Studies).
I have been thinking, rethinking. Hard. Long. As deep as I can go.
Indeed, a close colleague even suggested last year that I consult a psychiatrist, urgently. Why? Well, from long and close observation, she had concluded that I was deeply disturbed.
Willing to try anything once, I duly trotted off to London’s Harley Street to tap into the wisdom of a psychiatrist who, at least from the online menu, looked sympathetic. And after several sessions, I was forced to admit that my friend was right — but not, I think, in the sense that she originally intended.
Like any human being, I am shot through with psychological flaws. Way more than I care to admit. But the more I trawled these murky waters, the more I concluded that my agitated state of mind also reflected deeper “disturbances in the field,” in the world into which I was born.
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Vainglorious, I know, to put myself alongside such mega-names in science, but all of the major science tests and thinkers spotlighted last night on BBC2 in Andrew Marr’s programme Life and Death on the continuing influence of Charles Darwin have had a major influence on me and the way I think.
They included Rachel Carson, whose books Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us had a huge impact on me back in the 1960s, Charles Elton (who had a big impact on my long-time colleague and friend, Max Nicholson), James Lovelock (ditto, as the author of the Gaia Hypothesis/Theory) and Norman Myers (with whom I worked on the Gaia Atlas of Planet Management back in 1985-6).
A case, last night, of key parts of one’s life and learning flashing past before one’s eyes.
Last morning in Giardini Naxos, waiting for the trip out the airport. Walked to the town museum, which is a bit patchy, but was intrigued to learn of the slipways archaeologists have found that were used to repair triremes. Would love to have found out more.
The best book I have read on that era of shipbuilding and warfare is John R. Hale’s Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy.
After Etna, back to Taormina, for a visit to the Greek theatre and then on the verandah of the Hotel Villa Schuler – where we had a glorious farewell evening enjoying their Etna-grown house wine. Toasting Taormina and other wonders across this extraordinary island. Would love to come back here. Huge thanks to Rosaria.
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.