Tuesday, 30 November 2010

From Ellen MacArthurs Bradford Conference today - text roll from the education session


Moderator: Thanks for intros. Really pleased you could make it from where you are.

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DAVID GARLOVSKY: DAVID: SHEFFIELD - teacher, teacher trainer and inventor in renewable energy and energy edfficiency and manufacture a thermal and acoustic insulation from recyceld denim cotton.

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Jamie Saunders: Sustainability can't be solved...patterns in post-conventional age... ... "Sustainability is the possibility that humans
and other life will flourish on Earth forever.

Reducing unsustainability, although critical,
will not create sustainability." http://www.johnehrenfeld.com/

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Astrid: Agree, Jamie. It's a completely different mindset. It's the C2C's concept of 'being good instead of less bad'

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Gordon Keay: "Be excellent to each other" Bill & Ted

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Gordon Keay:   

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Jamie Saunders: http://www.longnow.org/

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Gordon Keay: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Aldo Leopold

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Jamie Saunders: Guidelines for a long-lived, long-valuable institution:

    * Serve the long view
    * Foster responsibility
    * Reward patience
    * Mind mythic depth
    * Ally with competition
    * Take no sides
    * Leverage longevity
Stewart Brand - Clock of the Long Now - proper role of government and universities to 'serve the long view'...  plus Illich 'de-schooling society' and opening up 'learning villages' (as in... 'it takes a village to raise a child')

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Moderator: Mind Mythic depth - explain?

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Jamie Saunders: Mind mythic depth..."Minding mythic depth means to consider the long-term connections between peoples and cultures" (looking back ... and forward...)

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Gordon Keay: casting fore, casting back...

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Moderator: Nice phrase - like it!

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Me: might be useful to conceptualise this as ecological literacy - otherwise the C2C 'brand' will dominate, what about permaculture for example as an holistic systemic approach for living? This is more than design, it is hand, heart and mind see blog www.sustainableretreat.blogspot.com where I have expanded on this at length...

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Jamie Saunders: When 'future considerations should dwarf the past' (we can't turn the clock back but can influence and shape anticipate and be better prepared for 'plausible futures'... what could we do with 500 years of effort? S Brand

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Becka: I'd be interested in getting in touch with people who, like me, are keen to move forward from a culture of fear and anxiety and therefore ultimately *control* to an envrionment of empowerment, challenge and change

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Astrid: I agree Paul. I have come accross many sustainable and holistic approaches we can draw from. Permaculture is one, Deep Ecology another. They all share certain principles though. It's finding the common sustainable principles (laws / ideas / concepts) which can be used as guidelines for the future.

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Gordon Keay: agreed

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Astrid: @Becka: do you have a Transition Town initiative in your area? Or listen tomorrow afternoon to Rob Hopkins.

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Becka: @astrid not sure, will ask Peter! And thanks for the tip to listen to Rob tomorrow.

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Caroline Walker: If schooling cannot remain untouched by the challenges and inevitable changes to come, then what will 'schooling' look like if it incorporates circularity rather than linearity?

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DAVID GARLOVSKY: Becka I am interested in your moving forward from fear and helplessness to one of empowerment.

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Astrid: @Becka; TT initiatives are all about empowering people to take action together and build a sustainable and resilient community.

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Jamie Saunders: Permaculture... 'whole systems thinking and whole systems action...with feedback...' ... 'closed loop/c2c' part of the 'toolkit'... maybe touches down into 'closed loop communities' and/or 'transitioning settlements' - those transitioning through time...

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Moderator: @Caroline - good point. It will be centred around the individual rather than the institution

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DAVID GARLOVSKY: David: and local cooperatives

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Jamie Saunders: Provocation: how might society 'learn' beyond the 'physical form' of a 'campus' ... campus dissolves...

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Becka: @ David would be happy to chat about it more if you wanted? My email is r.currant@bradford.ac.uk

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Becka: @astrid, sounds perfect    Have been trying to build a closer comunity on campus for the last 12 months, with some positive progress.

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Astrid: Could it be centered around groups of people instead of individual people? A fantastic talk about education: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

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henry liebling: Which teaching methods/pedagogical approaches might be easy to strengthen/introduce into the education system that might prove acceptable to the current system including OFSTED, TDA...... present gov't?

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Moderator: @Astrid - yes our model for our new Circular Economy course

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Becka: @ henry we also need to be leading and shaping the educational sphere.

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henry liebling: Suggest approaches such as "Learning to learn", "Building learning power", work in "Global YTeacher, Global learner" from 20+ years ago, role play and simulation, learning sets.

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Astrid: @Will; where can we get more info on this course?

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Me: its a detail/dynamic problem (self-universal) , our project Incredible edible is geared towards use of public space to connect people to the natural world, my main concern is we are deluding ourselves if we think that technology can fix the basic problem, it is a shift from ego to eco that is the rich territory to explore, particulalry in how we relate to built environment, live in our cities, retrofit them to ensure carbon reduction and generate a much deeper appreciation of relationship and community in the response to more sustainable ways of living

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Astrid: Suggest intergenerational learning as well.

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Moderator: It is in development - live early next year. Watch our website

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henry liebling: Addressing the content is trickier I think. Chaos theory, Catastrophe theory, looking closely at natural systems, going for mastery rather than coverage, being comfortable with what you know and how to learn, rather than filled with facts and overburdened curriculum.

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Jamie Saunders: As before... maybe a poly-cultural approach to 'education'... including 'social innovation', 'peer based behaviour change', 'collaborative consumption' etc...

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Astrid: @Will; will do, thanks.

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Caroline Walker: Can we not, in the words of Buckminster Fuller, build a new model which makes the old model obsolete? let's not ask what ofsted would accept!

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Moderator: @Caroline - that's the cunning plan.

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Becka: @ caroline agree totally! We should be leading the sector and showing how it can be done

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Me: absolutely - ofsted is only England - there is a whole world out there!

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Astrid: Good question, Caroline.

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Green Business 1: Is the Morrisons course based around C2C?

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Jamie Saunders: District primed and promoting 'sustainable and cohesive District'...Bradford District non-conventional past... post-conventional future... http://www.bradford.gov.uk/bmdc/BDP/the_big_plan

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Moderator: The old model has been obsolete for my entire educational life. This course is designed to reflect the C2C philosophy.

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Astrid: In all ingredients for a future sustainable society and likewise education, I would like to add poetry please.

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StellaDudzic: The problem is not so much what Ofsted will or won't accept; it is the perception (fear) among teachers of what Ofsed will accept

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Moderator: No fear - we can easily argue our case

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Jamie Saunders: Localism - shaping and securing the prospects of Bradford District (and other places as well)...

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Becka: that's exactly the fear and anxiety that Peter was talking about earlier. IT's easy for us to challenge the system but harder to get everyone else to do the same.

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Moderator: You're now live on the screen in the auditorium

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henry liebling: Glad to hear VISION in these responses. Try to canhge existing system&/or build a new one. Lots of exciting initiatives around, can they be linked. Believe only awareness is educable. esd.escalate.ac.uk

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Moderator: Let's have a few questions or reflections

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Becka: I'd be interested to know what one thing people are going to do differentl as a result of this event, once they leave the room. Can they find another technique to pilot, or assessment to design or project to facilitate to move more towards a circular system?

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Me: Home and conference all in two hours - still snowing in Todmorden! Question: Pedagogoc design = non linear or are we really exploring emergence theory? Paul Clarke

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Astrid: We may need to redefine what we want our children to learn. The wisdom versus knowledge concept. Will sustainability in eduction include social skills, cultural values, etc etc

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DAVID GARLOVSKY: David: My reflection it appears this talk and are academic in context - l was hoping for practical solutions that we can engage in now.

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mark hodgson: i think the open learning / emergence for innovation, working with universities is great, but universities can get access to funding, smaller businesses cant and sometime ideas are taken by the agregator! (uni) and applied for funding and the private business is left out. how can you make sure this happens fairly

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Moderator: @Paul - no we're really exploring authentic learning

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Jamie Saunders: Connection to place and community... viable, resilient, adaptive people in creating the conditions for 'thriving, flourishing settlements... 'post-disciplinary practice' vital...

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Astrid: @David: a lot of people are already working very practically too!

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Rich Hurst: I come from a schools focus, what is the learning for, sustainability is based on values, a moral purpose if you like. Young people need to be able to engage in change and appreciate they are global citizens. That will inspire learning

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DAVID GARLOVSKY: David:I have experienced an unwillingness of the RDA's to provide finance to SME's - prefer to fund University programme for example.

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henry liebling: In the 1980s we had movement towards "being a mathematician" BEAM across a number of subjects/areas. Worth re-visiting?

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Moderator: Please give our colleagues in Elluminate an opportunity to feedback

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Jamie Saunders: Thomas Homer Dixon proposed we need ingenuity... especially and more 'social ingenuity' over 'technical ingenuity'...

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Astrid: Not one over the other, but both!

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Me: Nice point Clive - isnt there a danger of creating  message that we pursue ego over a need for rethinking our relationship as part of the eco?

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Me: perhaps the idea of spiritual is an examination of the relationship of self with universal - we are both part of the planet, and at the same time ourselves - the relatiosnhip matters and is important to explore - if spiritual isnt a word we like, we need to examine a new way of thinking about beyond self

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mark hodgson: totally agree with ellen lots we can learning from the majority world..

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Jamie Saunders: 'Closed loop communities' as a focus... neighbourhood scale - seems very, very timely ? with core focus on 'eco-effectiveness' and 'local' assets, flows, cycles, stocks and capabilities... at the heart of protecting and enhancing communities especially in and across the North...

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Astrid: A system's view allows for double-loop thinking too.

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Astrid: And asking the right questions.

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Me: This debate is highlighting a transformational and not a reform agenda for schools - connections between schools, communities, business and doing this internationally - not locked to a single schooling system is one way of beginning to act differently - its a global and local challenge the mindset has to be global and local perhaps?

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Astrid: Yes, think so Paul.

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Rich Hurst: In agree Paul, another issue is what is the motive? We can ask lots of questions but whay are we asking them?

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Astrid: To improve? Zen philosophy.

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Jamie Saunders: Can a 'closed loop communities' focus help re-frame  and drive positive change in creating functioning and resilient places?

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Moderator: This conference has been both local and global. That's the way our young people live and learn.

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david corrall: paul, good point, henc my interest in Advaita and its application in 'real' life' fo ryhoung poeple. For example, the St James' school in London gives a holistic perspective on our lives.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

AIR CONDITIONING & ENERGY FROM DEEP WATER - from a downloadable report - http://www.i-sis.org.uk/GreenEnergiesPreview.pdf

AIR CONDITIONING & ENERGY FROM DEEP
WATER
Deep lake and ocean water and even ground water is being exploited for cooling buildings, providing drinking water, and generating electricity.
The cities of Toronto and Stockholm, and the Cornell University campus have been using cold deep water to cool large buildings and making big savings in energy and carbon emissions and cutting other pollution from energy generating plants.
Toronto, for example, draws cold water from the depths of Lake Ontario to Toronto Island where the water is filtered and treated with chlorine as it is delivered to taps in homes and businesses. After treatment, part of the very cold water flows to a city plant, and via heat exchanger, cools a closed water loop that circulates to the distribution network where more heat exchangers cool the water circulating through the air conditioning systems in the office towers. A total of 46 buildings signed up to the system, saving 85 GWh and reducing 79 000 tonnes CO2 emission annually.
Honolulu has been investigating the possibility of converting the energy of sun-warmed surface water to electricity (ocean thermal energy conversion, or OTEC). OETC systems include the closed-cycle system that uses a working fluid, such as ammonia, pumped around a closed loop with three components: a pump, turbine and heat exchanger (evaporator and condenser). The warm seawater passes through the evaporator and converts the ammonia liquid into high-pressure ammonia vapour. The high- pressure vapour is then fed into an expander where it drives a turbine connected to a generator. Low-pressure ammonia vapour leaving the turbine is passed through a condenser, where the cold seawater cools the ammonia, returning the ammonia back into a liquid.. The open-cycle system uses the warm seawater as the working fluid. The warm seawater passing through the evaporator is converted to steam, which drives the turbine/generator. After leaving the turbine, the steam is cooled by the cold seawater to form desalinated water. The desalinated water is fit for domestic and commercial use.
The hybrid system uses parts of both open-cycle and closed-cycle systems to produce electricity and desalinated water. In this arrangement, electricity is generated in the closed-cycle system, and the warm and cold seawater discharges are passed through the flash evaporator and condenser of the open-cycle system (i.e., the original open- cycle system with the turbine/generator removed) to produce fresh water. The first OTEC was deployed in Hawaii in 1979.
Japan began pumping up deep ocean water in 1979 to support fisheries that had been depleted by over-grazing of seaweed beds that support fish and marine mammals.
Pumping deep ocean water to air condition cities, produce energy and fresh water, and to fertilize the productive surface waters, appears a promising approach to mitigating global warming by reducing the consumption of polluting oil and coal and the impact of overgrazing on marine food production.
But is large-scale pumping of deep ocean water sustainable? The deep ocean is ventilated through a giant thermohaline circulatory system that moves deep waters from north to south as salt-laden cooled water sinks into the depths in the North Atlantic and energizes a global conveyor belt that sends nutrient laden deep waters naturally to the surface in the North Pacific, north Indian Ocean, and south- east Pacific. This circulatory system is already being seriously disturbed by global warming.
There is a potential threat to deep sea communities as food particles and organisms are sucked up with the cold water and hence removed from the deep water environment. Furthermore, the construction and maintenance of the pump and pipe system could damage the deep sea habitat and its wild life. These applications, if practised on a large scale could contribute to warming the oceans, thereby decreasing their net primary production and impacting on all marine life.
Many big projects have remained on the drawing board also because the technology is expensive. Nevertheless, small scale air conditioning projects are definitely sustainable, and there are increasing examples, including the use of ground water to cool the tunnels of the London underground in the UK, and deep-mine flood water for air- conditioning in Springfield, Nova Scotia in Canada, and Park Hill Missouri in the US.
REEF NOT BARRAGE TO TAP THE TIDES
The Severn estuary has the third highest tidal range in the world, and a barrage across the estuary to trap the high tide could contribute 0.6 percent of UK’s primary energy use and 2 percent of its electricity. The barrage, estimated to cost of £15 billion many decades back, had triggered widespread environmental concerns as it would lead to the loss of hundreds of square kilometres of mudflats and salt marsh, home to waders and other coastal birds and a host of migratory species. The powerful surge of water over the turbines when the barrage gates open will profoundly disturb estuarine life, including fisheries and salmon runs.
A possible solution proposed by Cornish hydraulics engineer Rupert Armstrong Evans is to build a reef instead of a barrage that would generate as much electricity and far more steadily than the big barrage. This would consist of a semi-floating set of box structures housing the turbines and stretching across the estuary riding over a fixed base on the estuary floor. By using a moveable ‘crest gate’ to track the tide level and therefore to maintain a small head difference, irrespective of the stage of the tide, the turbines would operate for long periods, at least double the generation period of the proposed big barrage.
The reef would minimise environmental effects, save on construction and costs and still allow big ships to pass. The UK government announced in 2008 it believes the Severn tidal reef to have merit and would consider it. In July 2009, however, a row broke out as Evans’ idea, entered in a Department of Energy and Climate Change competition, was rejected in favour of a similar design put forward by another engineering firm.

AIR CONDITIONING & ENERGY FROM DEEP WATER - from a downloadable report -

AIR CONDITIONING & ENERGY FROM DEEP
WATER
Deep lake and ocean water and even ground water is being exploited for cooling buildings, providing drinking water, and generating electricity.
The cities of Toronto and Stockholm, and the Cornell University campus have been using cold deep water to cool large buildings and making big savings in energy and carbon emissions and cutting other pollution from energy generating plants.
Toronto, for example, draws cold water from the depths of Lake Ontario to Toronto Island where the water is filtered and treated with chlorine as it is delivered to taps in homes and businesses. After treatment, part of the very cold water flows to a city plant, and via heat exchanger, cools a closed water loop that circulates to the distribution network where more heat exchangers cool the water circulating through the air conditioning systems in the office towers. A total of 46 buildings signed up to the system, saving 85 GWh and reducing 79 000 tonnes CO2 emission annually.
Honolulu has been investigating the possibility of converting the energy of sun-warmed surface water to electricity (ocean thermal energy conversion, or OTEC). OETC systems include the closed-cycle system that uses a working fluid, such as ammonia, pumped around a closed loop with three components: a pump, turbine and heat exchanger (evaporator and condenser). The warm seawater passes through the evaporator and converts the ammonia liquid into high-pressure ammonia vapour. The high- pressure vapour is then fed into an expander where it drives a turbine connected to a generator. Low-pressure ammonia vapour leaving the turbine is passed through a condenser, where the cold seawater cools the ammonia, returning the ammonia back into a liquid.. The open-cycle system uses the warm seawater as the working fluid. The warm seawater passing through the evaporator is converted to steam, which drives the turbine/generator. After leaving the turbine, the steam is cooled by the cold seawater to form desalinated water. The desalinated water is fit for domestic and commercial use.
The hybrid system uses parts of both open-cycle and closed-cycle systems to produce electricity and desalinated water. In this arrangement, electricity is generated in the closed-cycle system, and the warm and cold seawater discharges are passed through the flash evaporator and condenser of the open-cycle system (i.e., the original open- cycle system with the turbine/generator removed) to produce fresh water. The first OTEC was deployed in Hawaii in 1979.
Japan began pumping up deep ocean water in 1979 to support fisheries that had been depleted by over-grazing of seaweed beds that support fish and marine mammals.
Pumping deep ocean water to air condition cities, produce energy and fresh water, and to fertilize the productive surface waters, appears a promising approach to mitigating global warming by reducing the consumption of polluting oil and coal and the impact of overgrazing on marine food production.
But is large-scale pumping of deep ocean water sustainable? The deep ocean is ventilated through a giant thermohaline circulatory system that moves deep waters from north to south as salt-laden cooled water sinks into the depths in the North Atlantic and energizes a global conveyor belt that sends nutrient laden deep waters naturally to the surface in the North Pacific, north Indian Ocean, and south- east Pacific. This circulatory system is already being seriously disturbed by global warming.
There is a potential threat to deep sea communities as food particles and organisms are sucked up with the cold water and hence removed from the deep water environment. Furthermore, the construction and maintenance of the pump and pipe system could damage the deep sea habitat and its wild life. These applications, if practised on a large scale could contribute to warming the oceans, thereby decreasing their net primary production and impacting on all marine life.
Many big projects have remained on the drawing board also because the technology is expensive. Nevertheless, small scale air conditioning projects are definitely sustainable, and there are increasing examples, including the use of ground water to cool the tunnels of the London underground in the UK, and deep-mine flood water for air- conditioning in Springfield, Nova Scotia in Canada, and Park Hill Missouri in the US.
REEF NOT BARRAGE TO TAP THE TIDES
The Severn estuary has the third highest tidal range in the world, and a barrage across the estuary to trap the high tide could contribute 0.6 percent of UK’s primary energy use and 2 percent of its electricity. The barrage, estimated to cost of £15 billion many decades back, had triggered widespread environmental concerns as it would lead to the loss of hundreds of square kilometres of mudflats and salt marsh, home to waders and other coastal birds and a host of migratory species. The powerful surge of water over the turbines when the barrage gates open will profoundly disturb estuarine life, including fisheries and salmon runs.
A possible solution proposed by Cornish hydraulics engineer Rupert Armstrong Evans is to build a reef instead of a barrage that would generate as much electricity and far more steadily than the big barrage. This would consist of a semi-floating set of box structures housing the turbines and stretching across the estuary riding over a fixed base on the estuary floor. By using a moveable ‘crest gate’ to track the tide level and therefore to maintain a small head difference, irrespective of the stage of the tide, the turbines would operate for long periods, at least double the generation period of the proposed big barrage.
The reef would minimise environmental effects, save on construction and costs and still allow big ships to pass. The UK government announced in 2008 it believes the Severn tidal reef to have merit and would consider it. In July 2009, however, a row broke out as Evans’ idea, entered in a Department of Energy and Climate Change competition, was rejected in favour of a similar design put forward by another engineering firm.

cutting carbon

A few lines on carbon reduction. New Internationalist this month has an excellent set of articles exploring the issue. For example, an 80% carbon reduction would put us back at levels last seen in 1972, interesting, people were clothed, ate food, lived their lives, it wasn't disaster time. So it is perfectly possible.
In the analysis section there is a nice piece on eight steps to a lower carbon future. As follows:
Build the mother of all movements: social movements around the world are exploring alternative ways to live. The climate change issue can bring together people from across the planter with many different local needs but a common goal.
Stop the worst stuff first: we need to phase out coal entirely over the next 20 years and stop the hideous tar sands oil extraction process in Canada. Biofuel is a non starter as it is wrecking virgin forests, doing so immediately changes the options for the people in such places.
Get the alternatives going: we know what they are, lets get a huge expansion of alternative power so it becomes the normative power sources.
Clamp down on the climate criminals: People and governments need to clamp down on the oil industry which is pillaging the earth for its shareholders, global rules to eliminate destructive development are increasingly possible, and can curb the excesses of massive corporate powers.
Reclaim democracy and clean up politics: independent and fearless people and media are vital for democracy. There is a global network of people and organisations all gearing towards greater levels of public participation and engagement in their communitities, this can extend to all aspects of public life.
Fight the growth myth: aim for a balanced steady state economic model.
Stick a spanner in consumer culture: encourage art, music, creative writing to expose the failures of the culture of shopping, this is hearts and minds work as much as transport and energy.
Defened and extend local sovereignty over land and food and forests: the most effective way to protect forests is to protect peoples land rights - small scale sustainable farming locks carbon in the soil and enables people to live. It also equalises access to food sources, unequal access is a major contributor to food scarcity and famine.
New Internationalist December 2010

Thursday, 25 November 2010

student debts - work and no work

A bit off the usual observations this one but I listened to Vince Cable yesterday complaining that students didn't get the fact that the system the ConDems were putting into place only kicked in on repayment when they earnt 21k or above.
It reminded me of my Nan and Grandad. They didn't do credit, not ever. The reason was pretty simple, work and no work. During the 1930's my grandad was unemployed, for a long, long time. He grew food, enough to keep the family ticking, it taught self reliance and resilience, and it taught him to be very cautious about credit. After that, he got jobs on and off, a life of work and no work. Having debt was culturally unacceptable, it was tough enough being poor, but the fear of debt was much much more frightening, as this was something that maintained a constant looming shadow over all aspects of life, threatening your home, and everything you did.
That is what I think Vince and his cronies fail to understand. It has nothing to do with not understanding the deal, it has everything to do with how money works - and it works differently for the poor than it does for the rich. People aren't dumb, they just look at the prospect of 21k (plus all the add ons - and of course they talk to their friends and know that this means a good 10-15k on top) and they see a mountain of debt, which they will have upon them for a long, long time. It isn't enough to argue that graduates will over their lifetimes earn more money, because a) that story could collapse entirely if, and it is an increasingly likely if, the economic growth we are all promised fails to materialise and b) What jobs? Flipping burgers is now a graduate level profession in many parts of the USA, as the poorest drop out of the workforce completely. We are witnessing the fracture point of a story that has run its course. Debt is debt. Credit based living is tough enough when you have money and a regular income, but put it in front of intermittent work, the NINJA generation (no income no job) are making a serious point to politicians who simply don't understand, and they don't understand because culturally they don't get it, they come from a community who has money, it is much easier to deal with credit when you have money behind you. Vince, David and Nick, credit is not the same as money in the bank, it is debt, debt plain and simple and that sucks the lifeblood out of you, makes you dependent on having to find work and often take jobs because there isnt anything else you can do, it is a desperate, predictable story that repeats and repeats, especially when our culture of fear keeps spilling out the rhetoric of economic challenge.

Monday, 22 November 2010

what would it take?

Just sitting listening to JG Ballard on BBC7.
Wondering what would it take to suddenly shift people's attention and make a radical change of life? 

Alien life? 

A jump start for the planet.


Picture is of Mars.


or is it?



this Saturday 27th November 2010

thanks to Desi - a great find!

http://www.sustainableworldradio.com/Sustainable_World_Radio.html

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

desert island discs

i thought I would begin a list of my records for the desert island
so...first of all

Big Rock Candy Mountain - with Harry McClintock singing it. Utterly irresistable, up beat and positive view of life. Wonderful.

More later.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Saturday, 13 November 2010

one other thing...

another thought from today which I want to get back to -

it was wonderful just to talk and hear people who are doing such fantastic things, and interested in such extraordinary things - ordinary people, extraordinary worlds - in particular I thought the messages it can explore about the future, not future with a little f, but Future as in not giving up on it, we live in an extrordinary moment, not to give up because things seem tough sometimes has always been such a big part of overcoming circumstances. I was reminded about the World of the Future magazine of my youth today - in between the bonkers imagery of the time, there was a huge optimism for what was to come.

now where has my robotic butler gone with that drink, and for that matter where is my all in one red romper suit?!

Top day at Interesting North

Just back from a cracking day at Interesting North in Sheffield. Of the many highlights through the day was the oddest named books talk - (Including How Green were the Nazis? and How to Bombproof your horse.) A fascinating talk on industrial espionage in the early 1800s in Leeds, talks on bicycles in cities, fascinating talk on games and rules, setting parameters and then how we use the spaces, a whizz piece on lessons from lego, the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland. 
Cake making  - side saddle riding, design and evolving ideas, and the surreal interface of where we go next and where we are and have been. 

Great fun! have a look at the pictures here http://www.flickr.com/photos/gulch

BIG thoughts to mull over - 
spaces - shed technologies  - adaptive forces  and mutant design - structures that enable ideas to flow - how old ideas come around in new forms - deterritorised zones in urban places

 

Thursday, 11 November 2010

This appears in the March-April, 1935 issue of Land and Freedom - Now called
Land and Liberty:

"The subject upon which I have been asked to address you is at
the root of every social and economic question. We have innumerable
organizations which are engaged in advocating specific social reforms
all most admirable. But they will all fail until the land question
has first been settled. There is no economic or social question which
is not at the bottom a land question. Land is essentially different
from every other material property. It is from the land that all
human needs are supplied, and if that original source is monopolized,
if there are a few individuals who can control that supply, then they
hold the destinies of the community in their hands."

LORD SNOWDEN in an address in London before the Women's
National Liberal Federation.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Green school Bali

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEuwqmf1SDc&feature=related

Saturday, 6 November 2010

booklet link for IET

http://www.scribd.com/doc/37196855/IET-Booklet

vote for hannahs blog

vote for hannahs blog!
Dorset Cereals little awards

WINNER OF 2010 BUCKMINSTER FULLER CHALLENGE

INITIATIVE TRANSFORMING AFRICAN DESERT
NAMED WINNER OF 2010 BUCKMINSTER FULLER CHALLENGE

ALL SIX FINALISTS DEMONSTRATE SIGNIFICANT POTENTIAL TO
SOLVE SOME OF HUMANITY’S MOST PRESSING PROBLEMS




JUNE 2, 2010, WASHINGTON, DC — Operation Hope, a solution combating one of the major causes of climate change has been named the winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. At its core the winning strategy transforms parched and degraded Zimbabwe grasslands and savannahs into lush pastures with ponds and flowing streams, even during periods of drought. Operation Hope was awarded $100,000 to further develop its work at a ceremony today at the National Press Club in Washington DC. (Watch video from the conferring ceremony on our homepage.)

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is the premier international competition recognizing initiatives which take a comprehensive, anticipatory, design approach to radically advance human well being and the health of our planet's ecosystems. The 2010 finalists are providing workable solutions to some of the world’s most significant challenges including water scarcity, food supply, and energy consumption. View a movie of the finalists here.

The Challenge is sponsored by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, which is accelerating the development and deployment of whole-systems solutions which demonstrate the potential to solve some of the world’s most significant challenges. (Click here to watch Inhabitat feature video about BFI.)


Operation Hope is a project of the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe and its sister organization the Savory Institute in Albuquerque, NM. Its successful approach to land management contradicts accepted practice and theories of resting land from animal grazing. Instead, Savory’s holistic management process re-establishes the symbiotic balance between plant growth and the behavior of herding animals, returning unusable desert back into thriving grasslands, restoring biodiversity, bringing water sources back to life; combating global climate change, and increasing crop yields to ensure food security for people. The approach is currently being practiced and producing results on over 30 million acres world wide.

“Our work proves that we do have the ability to simultaneously better mankind’s experience while bettering the Earth,” said Allan Savory, founder of the Africa Centre for Holistic Management and the Savory Institute. “We are thrilled that the Buckminster Fuller Challenge exists to recognize and support work such as ours, and thank the jurors for this honor.”

Berlin-based Watergy was named runner up of the Challenge. Watergy has developed and implemented a closed system greenhouse that provides extremely efficient farming capabilities in water-scarce communities. The approach, being demonstrated in Almeria Spain, allows a dramatic shift in resource efficiency for the supply of water, food and renewable material, and can be deployed across urban and rural conditions.

The other four finalists were:
Barefoot College, which teaches illiterate, rural women in India and Africa to be solar engineers within their communities, providing energy to their communities, catalyzing their local economies and improving their quality of life;
Brooklyn-based BK Farmyards, a leading model in the urban agricultural movement, which is creating a web-based crowd-sourcing platform to advance urban farming as a viable business and food source for local communities;
UrbanLab, which has re-conceived the Chicago street-grid as a holistic Bio-System that captures, cleans and returns 100% of the city’s wastewater and storm-water to the Lakes, ensuring constant regeneration of that natural resource while producing added economic, energy, social, and environmental benefits; and
The Living Building Challenge, which has developed the most advanced green building rating system in the world. Living Buildings are virtually self-sustaining, generating their own power, using renewable sources, and capturing and treating all their own water.


“My grandfather believed that we have the ability to apply transformative strategies based on whole systems thinking, Nature's fundamental principles, and an ethically driven worldview to better the world and our own experiences. He called this approach comprehensive anticipatory design science,” said Jamie Snyder, Buckminster Fuller’s grandson and co-founder of the Buckminster Fuller Institute with his mother, Allegra Fuller Snyder. “I’m proud that the Institute is supporting the creative pioneers who are bringing this vision to light, and thankful to our partners who sponsor the Challenge and work with us to fulfill our mission.”

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge originated in 2007 and awards $100,000 annually. Support for the program has been provided by the Atwater Kent Foundation, The Civil Society Institute, The James Dyson Foundation, The Highfield Foundation; The Jewish Communal Fund, and the members of The Buckminster Fuller Institute

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in New York, The Buckminster Fuller Institute is dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of solutions which radically advance human well being and the health of our planet's ecosystems. BFI’s programs combine unique insight into global trends and local needs with a comprehensive approach to design. BFI encourages participants to conceive and apply transformative strategies based on a crucial synthesis of whole systems thinking, Nature's fundamental principles, and an ethically driven worldview. By facilitating convergence across the disciplines of art, science, design and technology, BFI’s work extends the profoundly relevant legacy of R. Buckminster Fuller. For further information visit: bfi.org

Friday, 5 November 2010

Great community food project

This is a really lovely site that looks at the Rockaway community at Queens, New York.
Have a look - http://rockawaytaco.com/ and http://www.theselby.com/7_8_10_RockawayTaco/
Nice stuff.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Asking: Why does the ecological focus matter? What is the fuss about?


Asking: Why does the ecological focus matter? What is the fuss about?
If we succumb to a dream world then we’ll wake up to a nightmare. But if we start with reality and fight to make our dreams a reality, then we will have a good life, a life of meaning and purpose. Jimmy Carter (1980)
I was recently asked why I keep talking about ecological sustainability when there are so many problems we have to deal with already in our schools. It was a good question, and I hope here to explain my preoccupation.
My simple response is that most, if not all of the problems we face as a species, arise from a profound realignment between human and Nature that has arisen over the industrial period of the past 200 years or so. It seems we  have simply forgotten some basic things, we are part of Nature, we rely upon it, and when we turn back to learn the lessons it can teach us there are great benefits we can draw into our own lives, in terms of better well-being, better outlook, and better practices in our life.
On the more complex level, I think that ensuring ecological sustainability is the defining issue of our age. This is both selfish and practical, selfish because if we do not pursue this goal we will perish, and therefore practical because it demands we engage in substantive actions to ensure such a situation does not arise. For example, we need to maintain the existing wild spaces on earth, and systematically restore the damage we have caused in recent times in such places. This may seem a long way from our daily life, a rainforest after all, is not something we might encounter in an entire lifetime. However, if we visit the supermarket, there will be numerous products on the shelves which have a direct relationship with the destruction of such places, from beefsteaks, to palm oil, the clearance of the forests arrives served up on our plate for our convenience and as such, we are implicated. However, this is not an entirely tragic story, we can change the course of this destructive sequence because we choose what we consume, we can act differently, and markets respond to consumer decisions. In effect, our design for life, as a set of conscious choices, can and should be redefined, we are complicit in this process, for good or bad. 
So this agenda demands attention on a global scale, but has local consequences for all of us. It is far more than simply counting carbon emissions and ticking a green box, although that is at least a start. It represents a total rethink of our entire systemic game.
The more I have considered this huge and interwoven problem, the more I am convinced that the challenges I am referring to, and the context in which we might place it, are sufficiently significant to suggest that they represent a new epoch – a new age in the movement of planetary time.  The ecological crisis is big enough to be considered as the defining feature of a new social, cultural and economic narrative. Our great work is to settle ourselves into a way of living on the earth in a minute frame of time (within the next thirty or so years), before we find that we have completely trashed the place. At the same time, we have to make sure that the remaining wild places, forests, grasslands, wetlands and oceans stay as such. Our moral purpose is clear, ensure we take ourselves and as much as possible of the biodiversity with us across the next century, through what E.O. Wilson calls the bottleneck of converging crisis of water, soil, population and biodiversity depletion.
The challenge comes to us in the form of action, or inaction. The suggestion is that we are at a decisive moment where the past is no longer sufficient to inform the present. There are occasions in human history when we can look back and recognise that the future was being formed in a beneficial manner. We might take as an example the moment that humans began to control fire, or when the first languages were spoken, or the first wheel was crafted, when we learnt to cultivate edible plants and created an alphabet through which we learnt to paint, read and write. Similarly, there were also moments when great visionaries lived, and they presented to people of the world a view that transcended the moment and put us in the context of the universal, longitudinal time frame of human history. We can think of the many prophets, gurus and spiritual leaders, we can think of the musicians, painters and storytellers. We can also think of the historians, Ssu-ma Ch’ien in China, Ibn Khaldun in the Arab world, and the Greek Thucydides in the West. All of these in their own ways represented ideas and insight of the human journey, each taking us to a higher level of awareness and consciousness. The sum of these contributions created great civilizations, cultures and dynasties. They were instrumental in assembling ways of governing the mind to connect the sacred with the practical; they were formative elements in generating the basic norms of reality through which people designed their lives. We can see that for many thousands of years, human beings have lived a relatively sublime existence in keeping with natural systems, in so doing; they sustained a quality of life, which connected directly with the natural world. These civilizations of our shared human past were sophisticated and cultured, they were founded on a practical understanding of the connection between spirit and nature that was often witnessed in their temples, cathedrals and sacred places. It was through an eco-literate (Capra 2005) agrarian consciousness that this connection between the human and the planet, the nature and the spirit, the self and universal was demonstrated and maintained across the centuries.
Despite the immense legacies and civilisations they represent, it seems clear they no longer on their own provide us with enough guidance, the lessons they give us of the past are insufficient to guide us into the future because our intervention in the world is so significantly different now from that past record. Whilst we cannot function without these lessons from our past, they are insufficient in themselves to generate a narrative of the present post-industrial society. We are out of step with ourselves and with our world upon which we depend. Something is happening that is profoundly different, apart from the lessons we have learnt from the past. We need to form the conditions to enable a new vision for the future to emerge. 
Let us begin by suggesting that what connects us as a global human tribe to this time is the ecological crisis. I am taking it as given that this is a fact of our time and this alone distances us from our fellow human beings of the past..  As Rees (2003) observes, ‘We still live, as all our ancestors have done, under the threat of disasters that could cause worldwide devastation: volcanic super-eruptions and major asteroid impacts, for instance. Natural catastrophes on this global scale are fortunately so infrequent, and therefore unlikely to occur within our own lifetime, that they do not preoccupy our thoughts, nor give most of us sleepless nights. But such catastrophes are now augmented by other environmental risks that we are bringing upon ourselves, risks that cannot be dismissed as improbable.’ (p2) Our presence here on earth is no longer benign; we are no longer ‘one species amongst many’ on this planet. Instead we are a dominant species exerting that dominance over all other forms of life. This is having a damaging effect on the environmental conditions upon which we, and other species depend in order to survive.
This change is historically and profoundly significant, brought about by disturbing the biosphere to such an extent through human industrial actions that we are now at an impasse in our relationship with the earth. It has no parallel in historical terms of ecological shift since the geo-biological transitions that occurred some 65 million years ago during the last great die off of species. At that time history witnessed the terminal phase of the dinosaurs, and a new biological age began with the Cenozoic age. This was age of life on earth, and so it has been until now.  Evidence from all parts of the planet is suggesting that, through our wanton destruction of the natural environment there is a profound change taking place across the planet and it is sufficiently significant to be considered as the beginning of a new biological age, what Thomas Berry calls the Ecozoic era. This change is likely to take centuries for our species to respond and adapt, if we are able to do so at all (see Berry 1999, Lovelock 2009 and an extensive commentary by McIntosh 2008).
Over the years of growing industrialization, the general rule to continue a direct and clear connection with the natural has been lost. It seems to be that as industry spreads globally in both scale and power, our essential connection with the natural environment declines.
What defines this relationship and generates the conditions which in turn generate our action in response? One way of looking at this question is to consider the role of education to provide a platform of understanding about sustainability - our education systems define what we choose to learn, the reasons why particular things are selected as valued knowledge, and what their relationship is to the broader consideration. They also model our behaviour, the purchasing choices the school makes, the way the outdoor environment is nurtured, or all too often, ignored as a learning resource. Our capacity to respond to the global challenges of water, food, energy and population in no small part depend upon the way we make sense of these things in our daily lives and change our behaviour accordingly. As such, these ecological challenges are fundamental educational challenges, they require new learning, a new way of seeing our present problems, a new literacy for our time – an ecological literacy.
Development, growth and improvement
For many years now, industrialisation has been the mainstay of our economic certainty, it has been the basis of our understanding of how our world connects, and it has formed a definition of human progress, industrial growth, through which we have come to measure progress. It is now under serious question, can we continue to seriously believe that we can model our civilization on an industrial growth model and not be concerned about the consequences?
This common legacy, our industrial connection, is not just the result of one single set of intentions and outcomes, it has instead arrived as a result of layer upon layer of change and modification, and of the consequences and unforseen consequences of those changes. William MacDonough calls the consequences of this inherited legacy an ‘intergenerational tyranny’ (MacDonough 2008). It is intergenerational because  the cumulative actions of the past influence and inform our present ways of understanding. It is tyrannical because we have little knowledge of why our ancestors decided to do what they did, when they did it. Perhaps all we can do is to continue to fumble away towards the next re-organisation, weaving our way in and out of the layer upon layer of the landscape of past versions of society as we navigate through our present world, but perhaps we might make some important choices along the way. These past versions of society are all around us, in our buildings, our public spaces, our institutions, our businesses, our cultures, they serve as pointers to these possible choices. No doubt our ancestors tried their best to deal with a world that they too inherited as a result of earlier solutions to earlier problems, just as we do today, no doubt they were left sometimes wondering if the approach was correct, just as we do today.

Today is also very different from the past because there are simply a lot more of us around to fit into the cities where we live and work, and the interconnection between ourselves and our environment is both local and global on a continual daily basis.  If I call a customer helpline about my bank account, I speak to an operator in Bangalore India, who then connects me to my regional branch in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. If I take a look at the computer I am using to write this book, I see that it is designed in California, USA and assembled in southern China. If I eat a meal, the chances are that it will contain ingredients drawn together from many countries. This in itself promotes utterly new logistical, economic, cultural and environmental challenges compared to those faced by our ancestors.

The sheer abundance of commodities available to consumers generated by our industrial  activity is at once the miracle and the nightmare of the modern world. It is miraculous that we are able to pull all of this together, when one considers the logistical demands that arise from almost any manufactured or processed product the interconnectivity of resource, construction and distribution is extraordinary, but the nightmare comes when we begin to scratch the surface and see the consequences that this lifestyle is having on habitats, human and natural on every continent and ocean across the planet.

The miracle comes primarily from the availability of cheap energy, and central to that cheap energy is the availability of cheap oil. Cheap oil has facilitated the greatest period of industrial growth in human history, it powers our economies and drives our lives. The nightmare of this legacy comes when we begin to understand that we are so dependent on oil, and then we recognise that oil is a finite resource, that many commentators are now reporting that cheap oil production has or will peak in the coming decade and the price of such energy will rise as ever more expensive extraction mechanisms have to come into use. It is a serious problem because we are all addicted to oil. Our oil dependent industrial systems feed us, clothe us, keep us warm and move us from place to place, but far more significant is the fact that by burning oil we are continually adding to the heating of the planet. Little wonder then, that the Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency tells the world government leaders that ‘we should leave oil before it leaves us’ (Birol 2008).

The industrial legacy and its oil hungry legacy is also playing itself over timeframes which were immaterial to our ancestors daily needs. In the past, when resources were plentiful, and populations were small, the need to conserve our physical material resources mattered little. But, as our resource hungry economies continue to expand, we face a stark reality that almost all essential resources are finite, our earlier economic and industrial models of make, use and dispose no longer suit our urban circumstances.

This is the fault line from the past to the present, it is the gap between how we used to respond to our problems of growth, and how we now need to respond to our idea of growth. This time around, if we aren’t conscious of what we are doing as we plan our next steps we will find that the results might be dire, it suggests that we need a new design for life. As Richard Register says, ‘if we don’t explicitly recognise the role of conscience as well as consciousness in this process, we won’t be able to harness the process for anything close to what we generally think of as good. For our next step in the pattern of healthy evolution, the two modes of thinking - consciousness and conscience  - need to be seen as whole.’ (Register 2006, p106) We clearly need to develop new learning to suit our time to accommodate these ideas, and begin to step away from our existing and inherited habits.

The parallel worlds of human systemic dysfunction and the natural systemic dysfunction both tend to suggest that there seems to be something profoundly outdated, destructive and unsustainable about how we live our lives in modern society, and our schools as part of these societies, are complicit in this process.  However, our efforts to rectify this will remain fundamentally flawed if all they ever do is reform the existing order, after all, it was this order of things which created the problem in the first place. Our way forward is a new design, a design for living that connects the natural systems to the human systems, that models itself on the cycles of life, how to generate abundance without waste, and how to ensure variety and richness in all things without depleting the resources for the next generation, the essential building blocks that Nature uses, the durable, sustainable model.

If there is one clear message from the convergent crisis of water, energy, population, food and the environment it is that they are all just symptoms of the deeper malaise, our lack of connectedness to nature. If we realign our attention to the eco, and move off our obsessive belief in our own ego, we begin to establish the basic reconnection to the earth. This is the foundation of the new narrative, a narrative that combine the heart, hand and mind of change to an ecological consciousness, the new literacy for our time.
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