I was one of a group of external people invited to join, staff, students and alumni of Schumacher College to consider the future strategy of the College. Other ‘visitors’ included Tony Juniper, the former Director of Friends of the Earth, Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation and Rob Hopkins, the inspiration behind the Transition Network which started in the neighbouring town of Totnes.
Most of the think-tank time was spent in small discussion groups. However, we did hear two more formal presentations. The first was given by Tony Juniper and was an incredibly useful, a fact-packed position statement. It was balanced in that it recognised the progress that envioronmental action had made in recent years (eg the conservation of special places (National Parks); the phasing out of systemic pesticides; the reduction in atmospheric sulphur; the trading in endangered species; ozone depletion etc) and then went into the enormity of the challenge we face to avoid what some describe as catastrophic climate change. Tony was preaching to the converted and the mood in the room at the end of his presentation was sombre to say the least.
Next up was Rob Hopkins and I have tried to capture what he said in the video below. Rob’s message was similar but focussed on what communities were doing in response and finished with a hypothetical story, or vision, of what the Dartington Estate (where the Schumacher College is based) might be like in 15-20 years time.
Our reaction to Rob’s presentation was very interesting. There was an excitment, there was engagement, there were discussions about different options.
The insight I gained from this was the importance of a positive vision for people to engage with when facing the challenge of climate change.
Note that this video might take a while to load on a slow connection.