Ideas. Problems. Curiosities. Yours...
I have an ambition to try and make the world a more sustainable place. I can't do that on my own - neither can any of us - but I can contribute beyond my own actions in daily life by involving, informing and persuading others. I do this through an expanding network of similarly curious people and organisations. My website will help you plant the seeds in your own garden of curiosities by sharing ideas, connecting you, solving problems or even just making you think. If you would like me to keep you updated simply pop your name and address here, but why not have a look at what I'm up to first?
This website is both the end and the start of a process for me. So before I come to what's happening now and what might be next, a little about what went before. The sea and sky used to be my office as I forecasted weather for the Navy. I travelled, did some exciting things and found a useful outlet for a lifelong passion. Time went on and I progressed up the ladder until it dawned on me that I had lost my way somehow. I had stopped being a meteorologist, and the demands being placed on me meant I no longer enjoyed the job or the life. I needed to do something else but didn't have time to explore what that might be. So I decided to leave and find out.
I had always wanted to study again so I enrolled in a full-time masters degree at Imperial College in environmental technology specialising in business and the environment, which is a wordy way of saying I learned all about sustainability. It opened my eyes and my brain; not just the subject matter of which I knew a little, but I was also taught to think properly and critically. Sustainability, the environment and climate change are huge, complex subjects with many facets and nuances, made more difficult to navigate because of human involvement! If I was going to make a difference then I would have to appreciate the subtleties of debate and the kaleidoscope of views. My thesis was about how considering an alternative view of value - intrinsic value, or doing something for the sake of it - might help businesses become more sustainable. I enjoyed the research and the findings got me thinking about how I might use this in the real world.
I finished my studies in September 2015 and so began a series of experiments - including this website - some of which you can read about here. By accident or design, I began to find people and organisations that roughly aligned with my outlook: keen to learn and explore the world, and to change it too. Some of the people I most admire are polymaths. Not satisfied with mastering one discipline they feel an urge to open their minds and investigate others. In so doing they make unexpected connections and I found that I was starting to make them too.
My experiments, fired by my latent curiosity, have led me to cross paths with some interesting people and explore exciting new avenues. Tangible and intangible, practical and theoretical, creative and innovative, surprising and expected. I'm working on start-ups, academic research, organisational culture, writing, speaking, altruism, humanising business, mentor schemes, volunteering...a 21st century career. When I think back to my life a few years ago that would have been impossible. Below are my current collaborators; organisations that I create content for, help out or work with in some way. If you are curious about them, please click on the links. They are experiments too - some may flower and bear fruit, some not - but the one thing they have in common is that they are all taking a fresh approach to communicating or helping to solve some of today's and tomorrow's problems that collectively we all face.
The Future Debates
12 people. 45 minutes. 1 conversation. What's on your mind?
This is my main focus at present. Future Debates provides you with an opportunity to have a conversation about something that matters to you. I've held a number of events at Escape the City while co-working there and it's starting to take off. Do check out the website.
Royal Society for the Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce
I joined the RSA as a Fellow in 2016 and I'm now part of a network of over 27,000 people exploring today's and tomorrow's social, economic and cultural issues. I'm part of the RSA's Sustainability Network and I am in the process of starting a local group in Winchester.
I could write a long list here of things I enjoy doing for fun* or people, places, and activities that give me the metaphorical fuel for my experiments. Instead I thought I'd tell you about some other organisations that I am involved with in that have all played a part in shaping my life in great and small ways. I give my time to many of them. I'm sharing them with you (there are links below) because I believe advocacy is important and if you're passionate about something then why not tell people? Think of them as the seeds that have been planted in my own garden of curiosities. It's not an exhaustive list, you'll have to ask....
*oh, go on then, just one - skiing. I love skiing - the sense of freedom you get, the scenery, fresh air, adrenalin... Hence some of the pictures.
So, if that was what I'm up to at the moment, what's next? My future involves you! I'm really just starting to try things out and I'll need more collaborators if I want to make a lasting change and help the world become more sustainable. In time this website will be my CV (you can look at my actual CV via the link at the top if you want to), newsletter and virtual space to share the great and interesting things that people are doing. In the meantime here are a few ideas for as yet unborn projects of my own that will be coming along at some point. If you'd like to see them change from the future to the present then let me know.
If you're curious about these projects, or have ideas of your own that you think I could help you with through my connections then tell me about them.
Oases of nature for your urban space
My fiancée, Sarah, is a talented gardener. I think she should start a business creating pots for places that need it most. Your office, backyard or balcony. They'll look good, smell good and improve your day. I'd like to see her make this happen! Would you?
An (Inevitable) Book
Apparently everyone has a book in them. I might too...
I would love to develop the ideas I had in my MSc thesis around humanising business, altruism, intrinsic goodness and personal agency. I want to explore how this influences the way people work in the 21st century. It'll be a page turner I promise.
Ideas worth spreading - a little closer to home
Technology. Entertainment. Design. An evening of learning. I've always wanted to watch a TEDx event and I was disappointed to find that there were none near where I live. So I thought I'd put one on myself. They take a lot of work though, and I can't do it alone.
Letter to the Future
Before I go, as part of a LOPO event I was asked to write a "Letter to the Future". The future is both relative and a constant. When should I choose? Who should I write to? I could have written to my future self but I will change, and it would probably be full of trivial personal reminders to recycle or remember my mum's birthday. Writing to a government or similar institution could be powerful but they change too and it would soon be forgotten as one voice amongst many. So I decided to write it to my daughter, Emily. She was only 18 months old at the time but it will always be relevant. I thought I'd share it with you as it captures a what I'm all about...
You can’t yet read nor understand what Daddy is saying but as you grow and learn about the world, you’ll hear about climate change and its effects more and more. You will find out if the world has met the 20C target by 2050 and feel the consequences more than I do if has not. Most news you read and hear about it will be bad news; this is what sells newspapers and gets tv ratings. Do not be downhearted or overwhelmed, you cannot solve all the world’s problems so do not try.
If I have one piece of advice for you to carry you through your life it is to always be curious. Ask questions, learn, find out about things, talk to people. There are very few people you cannot learn something from or, who cannot learn something from you. And as you learn, question that knowledge. Be critical and demanding of it, be certain of its validity. But if it makes sense, then take hold of it, use it, be creative, be passionate. Don’t be afraid to have ideas and tell people about them. They will listen and follow you. You will find people just like you who can and want to do good and help the world. It doesn’t matter what language they speak, what they look like, how much education or money they have. They will all want to be part of something bigger than themselves and you should too.
Be brave, take risks, do things, be excited and be happy. If your dad’s brain still works then you can ask him when you’re stuck. If he doesn’t know or can’t help then ask your mum, she probably will! Finally, if you could me a ticket to the first meeting of the Mars chapter of LOPO that would be great. Oh and don’t forget to recycle, or mum’s birthday.
I’ll always be holding your hand, lots of love always,