The Schumacher 2013 Lectures

Big Green Week

Bristol’s Big Green Week

Once again, the Schumacher Lectures were an important aspect of Bristol Big Green Week. The main Lectures were on the opening Saturday at our traditional venue, City Hall. We also had 2 other events – the first featuring economist Charles Eisenstein and Jacqueline McGlade, former director of the European Environment Agency; and the second a look at some huge changes happening in ‘Beyond (Party) Politics’.

Schumacher Lectures 2013

Saturday, 15th June – Bristol City Hall (AKA Council House), 10am – 5pm

Beyond Sustainability – Towards a Regenerative Economy

For 25 years sustainable development has been held up as the solution to the world’s problems. But instead we have had ever more pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change. Sustainability has been abused like few other terms in history. It is time to think not just about sustaining the world’s badly damaged ecosystems and human communities, but about regenerating them instead.

The Schumacher Lectures on 15th June are aiming to map out steps towards regenerative development – in the context of climate change, urban futures, environmental policy and new approaches to ethics in a deeply materialist world.

Our speakers are among those leading this movement – cities expert Herbert Girardet; Satish Kumar – editor of Resurgence; Jane Davidson, former Welsh environment minister; Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement; Mary Clear of Incredible Edible Todmorden; European planner Michael Schwarze-Rodrian and Carbon Coach Dave Hampton. And to ensure that our spirits dance at the highest level throughout the day, we welcome back our favourite poet, Matt Harvey.

Herbert Girardet

Herbert is an author, film-maker and international consultant on sustainable cities. He is a co-founder and former program director of the World Future Council. He developed sustainability strategies for London, Vienna and Bristol. In 2003 he was inaugural ‘Thinker in Residence’ in Adelaide, defining eco-development strategies for South Australia which have since been implemented. Herbert is visiting professor at University of the West of England and is a recipient of a UN ‘Global 500 Award for Outstanding Environmental Achievements’.

We live in the ‘Anthropocene’, on a human-dominated planet. Sustainable development is no longer adequate as a response to the damage we have done. Regenerating depleted eco-systems, soils and watercourses is, above all else, a challenge for the world’s cities. They use the bulk of the world’s resources and discharge most of humanity’s wastes. Herbert will look at some of the pioneering steps being taken round the world in the name of regenerative development.

Satish Kumar

Satish Kumar is a former Jain monk and long-term peace and environmental activist who has quietly been setting the global agenda for change for over 50 years. Fifty years ago, he walked 8,000 miles for peace. This year marks the 40th anniversary of him editing Resurgence magazine. He has been the guiding spirit behind a number of internationally respected ecological and environmental ventures including Schumacher College, where he is now a Visiting Fellow.

Satish will examine how sustainability is only the first step towards regeneration and how we need to replenish and not just sustain what is. Above all we need to be a partner with nature. As a former Jain monk and long-term peace and environmental activist Satish Kumar will encourage us to actively work with nature for everyone’s benefit.

Jane Davidson

Jane was in the Welsh government from 2000 – for 7 years as Minister for Education, then 4 years as Minister for Environment, when she was responsible for the Welsh Government agreeing to make sustainable development its central organising principle. Today, Jane is Director of a new sustainability institute, INSPIRE, (Institute for Sustainability Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness) at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, which is introducing sustainability content into every student’s experience. INSPIRE recently won the Guardian award for the best Higher Education sustainability initiative in the UK.

For Jane, the personal is political. Having stood down from politics in 2011 to live on a smallholding in west Wales, she will explore how her personal, political and professional journeys have become a quest to discover whether strong ethical values at the heart of an organization can help it be more sustainable in an age of austerity.

Rob Hopkins

Rob is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of Transition Network. In February 2012 Rob and the Transition Network were among NESTA and The Observer’s list of Britain’s 50 New Radicals, and in 2012 won the European Economic and Social Committee Civil Society Prize. Rob lectures, blogs and writes widely on Transition. He is the author of 3 books – and with this talk he’ll be launching his latest, ‘The Power of Just Doing Stuff’. He lives in Devon and grows fine beetroot.

The Power of Just Doing Stuff

What can the work of Transition initiatives, now popping up in 40 countries, contribute to our thinking about how we create a sustainable, and more resilient future? Rob will regale us with tales from across the Transition Network: of how solar energy is reviving a London community, how a small garden in a town in Portugal brought a community back together, of the communities looking to community resilience as the foundation of their economic future, and the pioneering local food business founded by people with no previous knowledge of either running a business or local food. It is through joining up such stories, he will argue, that a new economic story starts to emerge, one that goes beyond theory and can already be seen in action around the world.

Dave Hampton

Dave Hampton is a prolific campaigner for social and climate justice, and an eco brand evangelist. Dave gives counsel over coffee (carbon coaching) to individuals and families, to CEO’s and celebs. He has his own weekly radio show – “the Watt Next show ” – on Marlow FM 97.5. Dave studied Engineering at Cambridge University. He rowed for Great Britain in 1982. The first 25 years of his professional career he spent influencing thought-leaders and captains of industry towards deeper sustainability. In 2005 he set up on his own as ‘The Carbon Coach’. Dave is a Chartered Environmentalist, and adviser to the Society for the Environment.

Some are called to live off land; some to live off grid; some to close resource loops; some to create renewable energy plant, built to last, that will power the kids future. As we make these re-connections in our home lives, in our own backyard, we master inner regeneration. As we each regenerate from within, becoming the very best inspiring authentic self we can be, our global problems magically evaporate.

Mary Clear

Mary Clear is co-founder of the Incredible Edible movement and chair of Incredible Edible Todmorden’s community group. Mary is a dreamer and schemer; she is living her life on the edge. Mary sleeps like a baby because every day is filled with adventure. Mary has 11 grandchildren, a brooch from the queen and is a fellow of the RSA.

Incredible Edible Todmorden is seeking to make a kinder world, they use food and growing as the lever . They have achieved more than they reckoned was possible, creating a national movement by having oodles of passion and a sense of fun.

Michael Schwarze-Rodrian

Michael Schwarze-Rodrian is the head of the Department European and Regional Networks and the EU Representative of the Regional Association Ruhr (RVR). He is a landscape planner who moderates local and regional networks for a sustainable Metropolis Ruhr. He has great experience with urban landscapes, integrated strategies and project management.

Chance of Change – Transformation of urban landscapes The change of the industrial region Ruhr is connected with a complete qualifying of the urban landscape. Emscher Landscape Park is a regional strategy with 20 cities and an ongoing investment programme since 1989. It includes brownfield redevelopment, industrial heritage, urban wilderness and new perspectives for people and nature.

Matt Harvey

Writer, poet, enemy of all that’s difficult and upsetting, Matt’s way with words has taken him from Totnes to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships via Saturday Live, the Edinburgh Festival and the Work section of the Guardian. He is host of Radio 4’s Wondermentalist Cabaret, creator of Empath Man, and author of The Hole in the Sum of my Parts, Where Earwigs Dare and Mindless Body Spineless Mind.


There will be a series of 3 concurrent, hour-long workshops in the afternoon. The first – The Power of a New Economic Story – will be led by Inez Aponte.

Inez is a trainer and facilitator. She has an arts and performance background and has worked on communication projects with WWF, The British Council and the Soil Association. She is an accredited Trainer for the Transition Network and works for Totnes-based Big Green Canoe on their Leadership for Resiliency programme. She has recently developed a new training with Jay Tompt of the Reconomy Project using the principles of Human Scale Development to help community’s transform their local economy.

Economics is getting a bad name. It would appear that – as a discipline – it is out of touch with the physical reality of living on a finite planet. How then could a framework developed by an economist give us any hope of living lightly and compassionately on the planet?

In this workshop we explore the stories we tell ourselves about economics and its purpose, through the ground-breaking work of ‘barefoot economist’ Manfred Max Neef. We will see how a new language – and a new story – can provide deeper insights into what motivates people, and offer a fresh perspective on a community’s potential and each individual’s valuable role within it.

The second workshop – Creating Re-generative Cities – will be presented by Herbert Girardet and Michael Schwarze-Rodrian, and will follow-on from and develop the ideas presented in their morning talks. Both are recognised experts in the field of regenerative cities – Michael for his work in the Ruhr district in Germany, and Herbert in a number of cities around the world – but especially Adelaide.

The third workshop – on Community Food – will be presented by another of our speakers, Mary Clear, who has supported Incredible Edible projects around the country, as well as in her own town, Todmorden. Mary will be joined by Nick Weir. Nick has worked as a part-time veg grower on an allotment-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project for 11 years. He helped to set up Stroud Community Agriculture 9 years ago and has since supported several other groups in setting up CSA projects around the UK including a third farm-based CSA project in Stroud and a woodfuel CSA. He has also developed a Food Hub in Stroud providing a low-cost, internet-based distribution system for local food producers to supply local consumers.

Tuesday, 18th June – Arnolfini, 8.30 – 10pm

Economic Innovation

With Charles Eisentstein and Jacqueline McGlade

Charles Eisenstein

Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. His books (The Ascent of Humanity, The Yoga of Eating, and Sacred Economics) as well as his other essays and blog posts on web magazines have generated a vast online following; he speaks frequently at conferences and other events, and gives numerous interviews on radio and podcasts. Writing in Ode magazine’s “25 Intelligent Optimists” issue, David Korten called Eisenstein “one of the up-and-coming great minds of our time”. Eisenstein graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, and spent the next ten years as a Chinese-English translator. He currently lives near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his wife and four children.

The assumptions of the old mythology include that human wants are unlimited, that people prefer to gratify their desires sooner rather than later, that we live in a world of fundamental scarcity, that people are generally averse to work, and that human needs (and indeed everything real) are quantifiable. Of course, these assumptions extend their influence far beyond economics. Charles will explore where they came from, and what the world might look like when they shift.

Professor Jacqueline McGlade

At the end of May, Jacqueline McGlade moves on from ten years as Executive Director of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen. Before that she held a range of academic posts focussing on the dynamics of ecosystems. She is also on the board of the Gross National Happiness Commission in Bhutan.

Having just retired from the European Environment Agency, Jacqueline can now share her experience of ten years at the cutting edge of environmental change. She will also give us an insider’s view of the huge promise of the Bhutan-led movement for adopting Gross National Happiness as a new, evolutionary goal.

Friday, 21st June – Arnolfini, 6.30 – 8pm

Beyond (Party) Politics

What next for politics in the UK? Is the South West leading the way? Local politics in Frome was transformed last year when a group of 10 independents – a ‘majority’ – took over their local council. A real first. Then Bristol elected independent George Ferguson as its first mayor. And now, seven candidates are standing, as an ‘independent group’, in Bristol’s local elections in May. Frome’s Pippa Goldfinger (now Mayor) and Peter Macfadyen will join George Ferguson and Bristol candidate Brenda McLennan to discuss the impact of operating outside the restrictions of political parties. Jonathon Porritt, a co-founder of the Ecology (now Green) Party, will join what promises to be a truly out-of-the-box discussion.