Tag Archives: sustainability

Unplanned and Unexpected – A Vision of the Future

Life’s journey has no beginning or end yet events, like seasons and birthdays, mark its progress. So, in anticipation of astraea turning 20, and to say “thank you” to all the people who had helped us along the way, we thought about having an exposition of our work and a party.

Many people around the world have helped and supported us, so, while we would gather here at Ballin Temple, we wanted to share with everyone who couldn’t come. We planned to broadcast the event on the web.

We planned to share a broad, experiential perspective on our adventure over the past two decades. We’d give a walk around the vegetable plots, tool shed and so on offering little demos such as digging, harvesting, chainsawing, splitting logs and so on. Then we’d have a chat in The Tent on big picture perspectives like holonics, metaphysical dynamics, money, nature, consciousness and more. Followed by “tea” and chat (to include drinks, snacks and music).

Continue reading Unplanned and Unexpected – A Vision of the Future

Time is running out: Behind the curve on SDGs

SustainAblility and Globescan’s recent survey of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals is not encouraging.

Progress on transition to sustainable development to date (% of experts)
Progress on transition to sustainable development to date (% of experts)

Over 500 experts contributed.  The consensus is that progress and attention is lagging the need for change.  If data is restricted to those with a decade or more of experience the picture is worse.

“Poor” progress on transition to sustainable development to date (% of experts)
“Poor” progress on transition to sustainable development to date (% of experts)

Progress is dominated by social entrepreneurs and NGOs while national governments’ and corporates’ performance is considered poor.

Contribution of organizations to progress on the SDGs (% of experts)
Contribution of organizations to progress on the SDGs (% of experts)

The lack of attention by governments and corporates is underpinned by their “clients” – voters and consumers – so clearly there remains among people generally a lack of awareness of the need and opportunity for system change.  People don’t perceive the dangers of failing commercial and social systems and the disintegration of Earth’s natural environment upon which we rely.

Perhaps this is not surprising.  Except for change agents and social entrepreneurs, people are not engaged with the problems of the world but instead stick to traditional mindsets and routines.  (The SDG’s themselves are fundamentally flawed in their promotion of growth, as opposed to working within natural laws and the capacity of the biosphere.) Continue reading Time is running out: Behind the curve on SDGs

Global perspectives: Technology, Growth, Money, Politics and what to invest in

The Long Termworld-300px

We’re talking 20 years or so here.

In 20  years we’ll be facing Big Stuff.  Climate change, weather volatility, species loss, clean air, clean water, … that whole environment thing will be getting much more serious and everyone will be dealing with it in some way or another.  I’m hoping it’ll make Ireland a bit more like the south of France, and it might, but whatever else, it’s going to make the simple things in life more difficult.  For most of humanity that will include feeding themselves and getting clean water.

So that will make food and land more important.

In 20 years we may well have passed “The Singularity“.  That’s a term coined by futurists, often with a trans-humanist bent, which denotes the inevitable point at which technology development starts happening “by itself”.  This occurs as humanity’s understanding of physics and biology enable the creation of thinking machines (computers) that emulate the brain, and then androids and cyborgs begin to be used in place of people.

Certainly in 20 years technology will have changed our world even more than in the past 20.   Do not imagine The Singularity to be fantasy.  We are close already.  The mobile phone/computer in your pocket is old technology compared with neuro-computers being tested in laboratories.  Robots are already becoming remarkably similar to C-3PO in looks and mobility at least.  Today the consequences are being felt in most professions as AI (artificial intelligence) takes jobs away from humans.  This is what we all wanted – automatic checkout, automatic cashier, automatic accountant, automatic lawyer, automatic vehicle … The challenge now being solved is automatic creativity.

Continue reading Global perspectives: Technology, Growth, Money, Politics and what to invest in

BT Notes: Spring is springing, Book, TV, Yoga, Hay.

Happy new year!  We hope 2015 is off to a good start for you all. For those of you that made it to the walk in the woods over Christmas, photos are on Flickr. Enjoy!  We had a great crowd tromping through the woods and enjoying mince pies and vin chaud afterwards!

The start of the year has been unexpectedly busy for us because we launched a book Common Sense- a book about people, planet and profit by a venture capitalist just before Christmas.  It turns out that media says it’s topical, being about balancing economics, ethics and the environment which we’ve been working towards for over a decade and a half.  It took ages to write the book – I never imagined it could be so hard!  And thank goodness for Pam who is an amazing editor able to make it pleasant to read.  Thanks to all of you who’ve bought a copy and for all your positive feedback.

We’ve been on a steep learning curve since launching it, including changing printers to a local Kilkenny family team, Digital Outputs, for the second, third and fourth small print runs.  We were interviewed on KCLR which was fun and friendly and then in mid January a film crew came from RTE’s Nationwide to find out more.  That was fascinating.  We learned that it takes 6 hours of filming to produce a minute of television! Nationwide’s team arrived on a blustery January morning and almost without a break filmed until the evening. It was a busy day here, with horse training, logging, building, tilling and harvesting going on in the background. Most of the family was here so we’ll all be cringing equally as we watch!  Check it out tomorrow night, Friday 6th February at 7pm RTE 1.

While the film crew was here we got a call from an friend we haven’t seen in over a decade who received the book as a gift from his brother.  He wanted five copies to give to friends and wanted to know when I was going to London.  So I went and spent a week reconnecting with friends and meeting new ones to talk about how to embed sustainability in organisations and find the elusive work-life balance. London is full of things to do, new ideas and fancy offerings, which was fun, and meeting so many people eager to make a positive difference from cancer research to solar energy to organisation enlightenment was exciting.  It seems that the momentum to breakthrough to a world of common sense is building.  Whew!

We’re holding our first gathering of the year of the Ballin Temple Nature Club on Saturday February 14th at 2:30pm.  It will be an open-hearted chat/walk/tea to talk about the Club activities from walking to fishing to logging to nature preservation to personal transformation.  Please let us know if you’d like to join in.  Everyone is welcome.

Pam’s yoga classes continue in Tullow on Tuesday evenings and in Carlow on Wednesday mornings. Her workshop “Establishing Your Home Practice”, run for the second time in January, went really well and is becoming more popular as people find out about it.  Another one will be held close to summer. Keep up with Pam’s classes and workshops via pambutleryoga.com and the Pam Butler Yoga facebook page.

February is a chilly month but already we see signs of spring – snowdrops out, daffodils on the way, lambs bouncing in the meadow.  Nature is wonderful isn’t it. But it’s still a time of year that demands wood for the stove and food to stay warm.  If anyone needs hay for their beasties we have top quality small square bales for sale and some round bales too.  Give Tom a call on 086 8179238 to get some.

We’re nearly out of the winter season of festivities, which culminates in Chinese New Year in a couple of weeks.  So, Kung Hei Fat Choi!  We could all do with a bit of that 🙂

Tom, Pam and the gang.

PS: Common Sense is available at Antonia and Gerry’s Alive & Well Health Shop in Carlow Shopping Centre, The Book Centre in Kilkenny High Street as well as here or online.