Richard St. George, much loved former Director of the Schumacher Society, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 9. He was 61, and had been suffering from colon cancer. Richard ran the Society from the mid-90s until 2009 – and just last month, we all had the thrill of watching him receive the richly deserved lifetime achievement award from Diana Schumacher at the Schumacher Centenary Festival.
“Richard has been part of the Schumacher Society team almost from the beginning although I am not exactly sure of the year he joined us! From that moment he became an indispensible member of the organisation, always volunteering to undertake a task; perform a specific role, or act as our ambassador as the occasion demanded. He was always extremely enterprising, energetic and enthusiastic: gifted and able, yet never ambitious or overriding. Almost from the time Richard joined us, he played an indispensible role in organising the Bristol Schumacher Lectures especially on the practical side and dealing with the minutiae of running these events so frequently overlooked by other members of the Council.
I shall always remember you, Richard, for your practicality and good humour: for your ability to diffuse a tense situation with mirth and then get on with the job! I am also indebted for your whole-hearted support when, as President of the Society, I first suggested the idea of an annual Schumacher Award. How very appropriate that you should have received our first Lifetime Award at the Schumacher Centenary Celebration only last month!”
“Richard’s passing was a great shock to all of us who worked with him over many years. From the mid-90s onwards the Schumacher Society was closely identified with him, and as its director for over a decade he has left an important legacy. Richard was a pioneer in many aspects of renewable energy and sustainable development. He was a key figure in Bristol’s green movement and will be greatly missed by all who have known him well and who have worked with him. There is no doubt that he played a key role in shaping the green agenda that has become such an important feature of life in Bristol.”
Herbert Girardet, chairman, Schumacher Society, 1996-2008
“In all my years on the Schumacher Society Council I was constantly impressed by Richard’s energy, enthusiasm and instinctive understanding of the Society’s place in the world. When I became Chair last year, I realised just how much he had achieved and how grateful we should be to him for all his contributions. Seeing him receive the Schumacher Centenary Award at this year’s Festival was deeply moving, and he reacted with his typical humility and grace. The world has lost a great man and a lovely human being.”
Simon Cooper, Chairman of the Schumacher Society
“I was deeply tuched by the news of Richard´s death and sad that I have not spent much time with him in recent years. Richard was my mentor on sustainability. I indeed did not wake up to these important issues until I met him at a neighbour´s birthday partty in the year of 2000. I was so deeply touched by this conversation that I spent the next few months more or less like a zomby not knowing what to do. I felt that I had wasted 20 years of environmental research on teaching on issues that did not matter for the world. Richard was very generious with his time and ideas and told me to open up my mind and that I would soon find many people that were concerned also about these issues. And he was right. Through the Schumacher Lectures, Be the Change and many related events and dozens of books later I began to see how I could be a part of the Sustainability Science world. I want to thank Richard for his generousity, open mind, visionary thinking and kindness. He was the best lateral thinker that I have met and the most intelligent man that I have had the pleasure to know. His memory will be inspiration to me in the coming years to continue on the sustainability quest and hopefully have some impact in redirecting the world towards being a collection of sustainable communities that honour nature protection, to understand that conservation of resources is the only way to create wealth, to have powerfool grassrooots sustainability organisations and and informed policy makers – and last but not least, happy and healthy citizens. The memory of this great man will be my inspiration to continue his quest for sustainble development towards sustainablity.”
Vala Ragnarsdottir, Dean of Engineering and Natural Sciences at University of Iceland
“Richard was an amazing teacher, an inspirational figure who I learned so much from. His sense of humour was great to be in presence of and his ability to see all sides of a situation, through a cool yet passionate heart, is something I hope to replicate myself in the future. I will take forward the dreams and possibilities that he has planted in me. Thank you Richard. I will miss you.”
Emily Stokes, Development Officer Wales at The Woodland Trust