Because people are burning out. Too many are not part of things. Ecosystems breaking down. Yet people, our environment, tech, are all part of our connected world.
Having spent the bulk of the last 19 years working away from home in many faraway places with diverse cultures. I’ve valued those privileged experiences highly because it’s taught me so much and I’ve learned to value the incredible differences in humanity that make us strong, and the things that bind us together. I would not be who I am today without those experiences and without meeting those amazing people and visiting the different environments of our world.
Turning fifty in 2015 and planning a solo trip to circumnavigate the Isle of Skye. I needed help for this, although I’d been a keen paddler since I was 11 years old. I lacked the skills to plan that carefully enough to keep me safe. Engaging with a friend and long-time coach Gordon Brown, where we grappled with a table of maps, charts, tide tables, notebooks, mobile phone battery chargers, first aid kits, you name it. I planned to start in the July and took a month off. Some friends were going to join me from time to time and then the inevitable happened, it was one of the windiest summers on record so Plan B. Plan B materialised with a good friend to paddle the East coast for a week from Blyth to Dunbar, sheltered slightly from the strong south-westerly wind. It blew us up that coast, and we had great fun. I returned to Skye the following week to pick up on the planned adventure again.
A spoiler, I didn’t actually finish but in the time that I had, especially that on my own, not thinking of anything in particular, just noticing eagles, seabirds, the occasional dolphin, a pilot whale and seals. I realised that the life I was leading in the way was leading it, was not sustainable for me, my relationships, and certainly not for the planet. I saw the connection between everything. If we are feeling agitated, that causes us to disconnect from what we’re doing to ourselves, others, people in our workplace, our families and how we treat our natural world. We don’t make wonderful choices in those places, and I could see how I had been playing into that. I made a pledge to myself, the next trip I would go on would be the last big foreign trip. I was heading to Chennai in India. From Sky to Chennai, it’s quite a jump. From then on, I worked to build client relationships closer to home where it was more sustainable to work together and that we could do more online. And for the last six years, that has been the case. And then Covid hit. This has given us all the chance to reflect even more about how we want our world to be, how we want to live our lives, and what’s important to us. What it has given us is time to look at what didn’t matter so much. I know also that some people have had no chance to even think for a moment as they’ve been working so hard just keeping us going, and to them I bow deeply.
The pathways and answers to the big gnarly questions that we have about how we want to live on this planet, so we still have a planet, are difficult. I believe those answers are out there, not in one person with one solution or one silver bullet. They are in us getting together in community groups, organisational groups, local government, national government, and international organisations where conversations facilitated well will draw out the quiet ones, the noisy ones, the ones with deeply held thoughtful ideas. That’s where the work lies right now, no matter how big or small, these conversations matter.
I believe it will need us all to innovate our way out of this with peace, compassion and a place for everyone. To ensure we don’t pit one group against another as more or less important. We’ve not got time for this anymore. We have to make sure we include everyone, because everyone needs valued, and everyone matters. In that everyone, I mean our planet too. There are consequences to every action we take. Being able to take decisions with some insight. That’s where people with our skills come in. We’re here to use our skill but also teach our skill, so that those conversations from the tiny to the massive happen in a way that does not create further destruction of either people or our planet. These skills are only a tiny piece in the jigsaw puzzle of what’s required in this world, I know. We’re here and available to help you put your ideas into “active plans” for good.