Author Archives: admin

News from John Bunzl

The Simpol Campaign goes stateside

What the world needs now is more cooperation, and, you know, the level-heads necessary to make it happen. When you think cooperation and level-headedness, the US might not quite be the first place that springs to mind, but here at Simpol, we’re committed to empowering citizens in all countries around the world to drive greater cooperation from their leaders where it’s needed most.

John writes:

“For the last few months we’ve been busy preparing for the US release of The SIMPOL Solution, the latest book on why we need more cooperation in the world, and how our thinking needs to change to do it.

“To coincide with the release, we’ve been busy taking part in some interviews to help get the Simpol conversation in the US going, so that we can bring the campaign for global solutions to new audiences there.

“We’re in Evonomics!

“For those who are fed up with the meaningless ‘ding-dong’ between the political parties, Simpol offers a way to cut through that, driving all politicians towards implementing what really matters: a sustainable and just world.”

David Sloan Wilson – American evolutionary biologist extraordinaire, recently read and loved The SIMPOL Solution so much, he invited John and Nick to discuss the book, it’s genesis and their hopes for Simpol as part of an interview for Evonomics – economic thinking that can change the world for the better.

Tom Amarque, author, philosopher and podcaster recently interviewed John and Nick for his “Lateral Conversations” podcast at this link.

If you’ve got friends stateside that might be interested in helping to solve the world’s biggest problems, do consider sharing it with them, or better yet – connect them with us! 

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Calling all London-based supporters!

What are you doing on Tuesday 10 July? Simpol founder John Bunzl will be giving a short TED-style talk followed by chat over a few pints at Green Drinks – a regular green industry networking evening in Brixton. The evening kicks off at 18.30 at The Dogstar Bar, London, SW9 8LG.

 

 

 

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News from Zerbanoo Gifford

Zerbanoo writes:

The World Zoroastrian Youth Leaders Forum (WZYLF) was held at the ASHA Centre in Gloucestershire, England between March 16-25, 2018. It was a transformative experience for the group of 20 nextgeneration leaders from around the world, all identified as people closely concerned and connected within local, regional and global Zarathushti circles.

WZYLF organisers, participants & volunteers at Asha Centre

This forum’s aims were tied to using our heads, hearts and hands: to understand the dynamics of sustainable change; to reflect on the global Zarathushti community; to connect with the heart of Zoroastrianism and with one another; and to unite and focus our energies for the betterment of the Zarathushti community. Some of us from India, some from Canada, US, New Zealand and Australia

Adrian Locher (facilitator), Mark Mazda (facilitator) and Sanaya Master (Organiser of WZYLF came to receive us. We gathered to discuss our local community initiatives. These included the World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC) (Jehan Kotwal), Building the social Infrastructure of the community (Shazneen Limjerwala), Study of fire temples (Cyrus Rivetna), Zarathushti memory project (Arzan Wadia). We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening learning Latin dancing from Jimmy.

On Monday, we focused on mapping the challenges, problems and what needs to be healed, in the global Zoroastrian community to create a Zoroastrianism of our highest vision. We were given some questions to reflect on.

  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the global Zarathushti community?
  2. How do we achieve unity and a sense of common purpose?
  3. How can we achieve sustainable change?
  4. How does a younger generation make a difference? These were laid out diagrammatically on the sides of a circle, and in the centre was a central question,
  5. How does Zoroastrianism help us meet these challenges?

Several issues were listed by participants as in need of urgent attention from the community. These included a leadership deficit, the lack of assimilation of Parsis and Iranis, decreasing numbers, lack of understanding of religion, lack of engagement of youth, amongst others.

We took a walk in the Forest of Dean, ably guided by Adrian and Mark. It was beautiful, walking through the forest, sharing stories, bonding, and finally, arriving at a sacred pond (above). Adrian shared that this was used by Christian monks for years

We had a discussion and lunch with Baroness Jan Royall, the principal of Somerville College, Oxford University. In her engaging interaction, she proudly shared that Cornelia Sorabji, a student of Somerville College, was the first woman to study law at Oxford University, the first Indian national to study at any British university, the first female advocate in India and the first woman to practice law in India and Britain.

The grand finale: the Freddy Mercury singalong at the local pub.

Zerbanoo drew attention to this World Congress of Faiths essay award, deadline 28th August 2018

 

 

 

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News from Shaun Chamberlin

And first, a tribute to David Fleming discovered by chance

A symposium – Surviving the Future – on David Fleming’s work at Vermont’s Sterling College in December was oversubscribed.

Shaun (below left) was a key organiser, but having sworn off flying in 2002 due to its environmental impacts, he was an interested spectator on the livestream!

Video:

http://www.darkoptimism.org/2018/01/31/sterling-college-symposium-david-flemings-legacy/

17-19 May 2018: after the success of the above symposium on Fleming’s work, Sterling College will be hosting a deeper dive into Fleming’s work taught by Richard Heinberg, Martin Kirk and Matthew Derr at Craftsbury Common, Vermont, USA.

Several engaged fans of Fleming’s work made submissions to the Irish Citizens’ Assembly regarding his ingenious TEQs carbon rationing system

(The submission by Prof. Barry McMullin of Dublin City University).

Shaun also led a number of events discussing the books, including this enjoyable webinar with Helena Norberg-Hodge of Local Futures, the special anniversary event at Gaia House near David’s home in Hampstead.

 

 

 

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News from Helena Norberg Hodge

Join Local Futures at Earth, Culture, Economy

25th-29th June | Schumacher College, Totnes, UK

What would the world look like if humans lived harmoniously with nature rather than creating environmental mayhem? What strategies can be employed to overcome the entrenched power of big business, big banks, and big government?

We’ll dig into these questions in Earth, Culture, Economy, an open course at Schumacher College led by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Stephan Harding, and Satish Kumar. Our approach will be broad and holistic and we will consider a range of themes from the perspective of both the global North and South, including:

• How to measure real progress
• Putting food and farming at the center of the local economy
• Tackling climate change through localising trade
• The balance between urban and rural
• The spiritual and psychological benefits of connecting to nature and community
• Healthcare in a life-based economy
• Resolving the roots of racial, ethnic and religious conflict
• Restoring democracy through localisation

~RESERVE A PLACE~

We also have two other events coming up in the UK this summer:

Localisation, Degrowth, and Wellbeing

An evening of discussion and Q&A
with Helena Norberg-Hodge and Jason Hickel

19th June | London, UK

Co-creating Wellbeing Economies

A how-to course on big picture activism

13th-17th July | 42 Acres, Frome, UK

 

These events will present a global perspective on localisation and equip you with practical strategies for supporting genuine social, ecological, and economic renewal wherever you may be. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

 

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Ben Parkinson in Uganda: the latest development

Ben writes:

Boardgaming is turning into a major hobby for those children in Uganda, whom we can connect to board games.  We’ve seen confidence build and even children learn to read, as they desire to play the games better. 

Visitors to this website, from ten countries in March – who may not have read earlier news of the Butterfly project – should know that there are too few useful things that Ugandan children who live in slums or remote rural areas can do, so often they can end up in scrap collecting or worse in cities or into alcohol in villages.  Board games which are part of Ugandan culture are a welcome addition to our activities, and it is a privilege to be able to introduce these games to so many.

In May this year, we hope to host the second Village Boardgame Convention in Uganda, more details here, following on from last year’s amazing event. At our remote rural centre in Koro, near Gulu in Northern Uganda, we have a children’s activity centre, where we plan to bring children and youth from multiple districts of Uganda with your help. This event is part of an initiative by UK charity CYEN, which trains teenagers from remote villages to be social entrepreneurs, young people who can catalyse change in the most disadvantaged parts of society.

We believe that boardgames can effect change in these young people by teaching them skills, which they would otherwise find difficult to learn.

For instance:

  1. a) Games can teach young people about the outside world in fun ways, which will stimulate their interest and ambition
  2. b) Winning games can build confidence, when often schools have few mechanisms to boost the confidence of their pupils
  3. c) Most games have a planning or memory element, which can help their players think in different ways, when often children might live day to day for their survival
  4. d) Many games are creative and help inspire problem-solving, which is key in seeing change occur in these remote places
  5. e) We hope to inspire new game designers from communities, who can then earn money that can help enhance local school or health provision.
  6. f) Co-operative games can inspire teamwork and partnership, a factor often needed in impoverished areas.

The initiative is called Gamechangers

See the video here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/uganda-village-board-game-convention/

New clubs have sprung up in two sites in Gulu and another at our centre in Koro, in Northern Uganda.  In Kampala, we launched our Boardgame sleepovers two weeks ago, which were incredibly well attended that we barely fit everyone in!

In December, we ran Christmas workshops for village children as part of the Gamechangers Road Trip making it to some of the most remote parts of Northern Uganda.  Last weekend we opened up a third official Gamechangers club in Mpigi, about 30km to the west of Kampala.

Our team of 16 young trainers taught 12 games to almost 70 children and staff at the Abato Foundation.  During the next month we plan to open eight more small clubs in Northern Uganda, in advance of our second Village Boardgame Convention, so that we can bring a further 80 children to the Convention to meet their peers and learn from our more experienced players. In total we estimate we have introduced boardgaming to almost 1000 children in Uganda and regular boardgaming occurs now to at least 100, from North to South.

 

 

 

 

News from Julian Rose who comments: A little satire can go a long way.

             The Monsanto/Bayer Transgenic Knot is Tied!

                       Don’t Miss the Mono Satanic Wedding of the Year

                                                 Julian Rose

            A Special Report by Big Pharma/Big Agro Weekly News.

Oh happy day! Two entities that are clearly a near perfect match, are to be joined together in hellish madrimony.

On the 21st March, 2018, after due consideration, The EU Monopolies and Murders Commission sanctioned their marriage – for the princely sum of just $666 billion dollars. What a joyous day for the people, plants and animals of planet Earth!

The wedding, between these two infamous same-sex corporates, is to be celebrated with a laboratory prepared Roundup Ready cocktail, which invited guests will be able to savor from specially commissioned asbestos goblets, each bearing the Saturnian insignia’s of the corporate couple.

Cyber waiters, wearing only a fixed smile and an Aspirin, will bring to the table a large bowl of Agent Orange consomme, as black nanotech confetti rains down on the happy couple.

Genetically modified mosquitoes in a rich glyphosate sauce is to follow; garnished with Amflora GM potatoes and further spiced with Monsanto’s very own Flaver Saver tomato dressing. I am reliably informed, that the eagerly awaited desert will be an organophosphate Golden Rice pudding, served in genetically engineered pig skin bowls with the words ‘New World Order’ inscribed on the outer rims.

A gentle ‘digestivo’ of microwave warmed  Coca Cola will also be served, sweetened by Monsanto’s original saccharin chemical formula, to help settle any over inflated stomachs.

Lastly, for anyone wanting something as simple as a nice glass of water, the Carkill corporation has most generously offered to donate free bottles of its fluoride enriched tap water, for this occasion.

After their sumptuous dinner, guests will be entertained by Lady Bla Bla, Mad Onna and Miley Citrus, a cyborgian trans-gender act famous for its ’emotion free’ performances and costumes entirely made from reconstituted GM chicken thighs. What a grand spectacle!

Tickets will be available for a special public event to follow later in the week at the Head Quarters of The European Commission. Prices will start at $10,000 a head, but there will be a limited number of front row seats available at $1,000,000 each. Those fortunate enough to purchase these seats will get a free ‘MonBay’ T shirt and a bottle of synthetic bovine growth hormone (bovine samatotrophin), enhanced semi skimmed ultra heat treated milk. Book early, as seats are expected to sell fast.

Also available at this event, owing to the generosity of the host corporations, will be special gift vouchers for original 1925 examples of products made using polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), so helpful in plasticating internal organs, but unfortunately banned in the 1990’s after too many people got the irrational notion that they were not doing anyone, or anything, any good.

Finally, the happy couple will leave for their honeymoon so as to consummate their common lust for power. In this case, in a delightfully un-restored Transylvanian castle by invitation of Count Roth-Soros, a great grand son of the much vaunted Count Dracula.  There they will spend a quiet weekend with close fiends and New World Order vampires, planning the next major take-over.

What will it be? Speculation is rife that it is likely to be the World, as nothing else has quite the cache.

Postscript: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace” Jimmy Hendrix

Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, a writer, actor and international activist.

He is President of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside and the author of: Changing Course for Life and In Defense of Life, see http://www.julianrose.info/

 

 

 

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A message from Colin Hines

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Colin shares his Guardian letter and hopes that readers will blog or forward on email the link at the foot of this page

Policies geared to achieving more job security, a decrease in inequality and protection of the environment

The rise in right wing populism seen in Italy’s election result shows the need for ‘progressive protectionism’, nurturing and rebuilding local economies through the permanent reduction in the level of international trade in goods, money and services, and enabling nation states to control the level of migration that their citizens desire.

The first step to an effective response by progressives to the rising tide of rightwing populism in Italy and elsewhere (Editorial, 6 March) is to realise that ever more open borders are the problem. It was predominantly the opposition to inadequately controlled immigration that resulted in the Italian election result, the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election.

Ed: Stan Labovitch in the next letter agrees: “In order for “progressives” to prevail, they need to understand rather than condemn the electorate, who fear unemployment and the never-ending flow of asylum seekers through Italy’s southern flank. The opulence that we tourists see in Sorrento, Venice or Rome, is not the experience of many Italians”.

The other contributing factor was globalisation, with its job-destroying and far-too-open borders to goods such as steel. Lastly, inadequately constrained flows of capital and financial services assisted in the economic crash of 2008. The only counter will be some form of protectionism.

Trump’s threatened trade war over steel (Report, 5 March) is the wrong kind of 1930s-style one-sided protectionism. He wants to curb imports that cause domestic unemployment, but at the same time plans to use all possible leverage to open up foreign markets to US exports.

To avoid a re-run of the 1930s will require a very different “progressive protectionism”. This could benefit all countries by nurturing and rebuilding local economies through the permanent reduction in the level of international trade in goods, money and services, while enabling nation states to control the level of migration that their citizens desire.

This approach can return a sense of optimism to the majority through championing policies geared to achieving more job security, a decrease in inequality and protection of the environment.

Read the letters here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/06/italy-shows-that-rise-in-populism-not-limited-to-trump-and-brexit

 

 

 

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James Robertson: ‘a reasonable revolutionary’

Only last week, a Handsworth reader emailed asking for news of James; he had just reread ‘The Sane Alternative’ and been impressed anew by it.

I replied that James still lives with Alison in Cholsey and has just retired, but that all the website resources, including articles, papers, newsletters and the pdfs of his books, will continue to be available here: http://www.jamesrobertson.com. Use this link to go directly to the newsletters.

I added that I recently discovered his  book ‘Future Wealth’ and put a chapter online: The local economies of cities, towns, rural districts and villages, ending “I think you will warm to it”.

Seeing that world society was in an early stage of a ‘great transformation’ and that, as has happened from time to time in history – for example, at the Renaissance – this would affect every aspect of human life, James explored three possible responses:

Business As Usual;

HyperExpansion (HE), boosting the drives of the industrial age – centralising, scientific, technical, economic; and

Sane, Humane, Ecological (SHE), inspired by a new, genuinely post-industrial direction for human society’s next stage of development. Based on principles of Enable and Conserve, SHE would give priority to the needs of people and the earth.

He explains: “I recognised that the actual future would be shaped by a mixture of all these and other responses, or visions, or scenarios. But I have focused since then on what the third one – the sane alternative – would mean in practice”.

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Writing an account of James Robertson’s life and work would be a formidable task for the most experienced biographer. Here only two awards will be mentioned – the outline of his life may be read by following the link above.

 

The Citation for the Award ‘To the Creator of the Sane Alternative’

The most high profile recognition of his work was the award of the Gold Medal of the Pio Manzu Centre by its International Scientific Committee. This took place at the Pio Manzù International Research Centre, a non-governmental organization of the United Nations and the UN’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) an institute for the in-depth study of the main economic and scientific aspects of the relationship between man and his environment. UNIDO promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.

Citation

 

After working as an aide to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on his “Wind of Change” African tour in 1960, and as a director of interbank research, James Robertson came to see that “decolonising” today’s overpowerful institutions must be part of the transition to a democratic, environmentally benign post-modern world.

Taking a clear-cut stance on issues involving moral choice, his books as an independent writer and lecturer – including “The Sane Alternative”, a landmark study for the “new economics” movement – have supported practicable measures to promote economic justice, such as monetary reform and a shift of taxation on to the use of land and other resources. He was a prominent founder of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) and the New Economics Foundation in the mid-1980s.  

The Pio Manzu Centre pays homage to this ‘reasonable revolutionary’ and singles him out as an outstanding example of a modern thinker at the service of society.  

[signed]

Mikhail Gorbachev, President

Rimini, 19 October 2003

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James and Adrian Cadbury gave the inaugural addresses of the Attwood Group in 2002 -see James’ tour de force here.

The presentation of the more low key Attwood Award took place at Barnes Close on Saturday October 15th 2011 during the annual – and final – gathering of the Bromsgrove Group, attended by his wife, Alison and many friends and colleagues who had long known James and appreciated his work.  Some readers will remember him speaking at the first meeting of the Bromsgrove Group in 1997 – and attending most of the following meetings.

John Johansen-Berg gave a short introduction and Angela Shaw (Attwood family) spoke about Thomas Attwood, political and economic reformer and Birmingham’s first MP. The Attwood Award for long service to the cause of monetary reform was presented to him by seven year old Thomas Southwell – also a member of the Attwood family.

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An outstanding example of a modern thinker at the service of society” indeed and a highly valued colleague.

 

 

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News from Helena Norberg-Hodge

The 2017 Arthur Morgan Award was given to Local FuturesDirector Helena Norberg-Hodge, “in recognition of her tireless advocacy for communities across the planet”.

The award is bestowed annually by The Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions to honour those who are passionate about – and committed to – community and democracy.

Community Solutions is perhaps best known for their inspiring 2006 film The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

It described how organic farming, urban agriculture – and of course community – enabled Cuba to survive the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent loss of almost all its oil and food imports.

Read more about founder Arthur Morgan’s work here.

Community Solutions is among the many organizations worldwide that are helping to forge a grassroots path to a new economy, and Local Futures are happy to have collaborated with them on the Economics of Happiness conference in Ohio.

  • In Japan, Local Futures has helped to forge a broad-based Economics of Happiness/localization movement.
  • In South Korea, it collaborates with a group of 37 mayors who have formed a Social Economy Forum.
  • In Italy, it is in dialogue with the Five Star movement (M5S), an environmentally-minded people’s party that is channelling half of their MPs’ (member of parliament) salaries into a microcredit bank that provides funding for small businesses. They have raised more than €10 million so far.

In the UK, the small Somerset town of Frome, where Local Futures film The Economics of Happiness was screened in 2011, has revolutionized rural politics.

 http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/what-a-democratic-revolution-in-the-somerset-town-of-frome-could-teach-our-political-class-8312163.html

Over the last few years, representatives of Independents for Frome have gradually won all the seats on the local council. Their platform is about sustainability, inclusivity and rebuilding the local economy from the ground up. Read more about their achievements here.

In 2017, Helena hosted four live webinars in The Global to Local Webinar Series. In January she was joined by Christian Felber, founder of Economy for the Common Good and the final webinar of the year was with Shaun Chamberlin, author of The Transition Timeline and managing director of the Fleming Policy Centre. It focused on the late David Fleming’s work, his book Surviving the Future, and his contribution to the localization movement

Read more in the latest Local Futures Newsletter.

 

 

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News from Ben Parkinson

Ben writes:

During 2018, we will be working on the construction of the Chrysalis Campus, most specifically the Chrysalis Secondary School, which will be a school that empowers more youth to be social entrepreneurs.

We’ll be enabling young people at the school, which will be in remote Northern Uganda, to learn what their own talents are, which will mean there will be opportunities for them to develop their creativity in arts, crafts, music drama, sports and even games and game design.


Here are some of the highlights:

We’ve received a 20 foot container distributed the contents and transported it to our remote rural centre in Koro in Northern Uganda

We’ve sponsored 83 children in school or university.

We’ve produced thousands of bricks using a donated brickmaking machine and started building our own school in Koro.  We hope to complete Phase 1 of the building programme early next year.

We’ve trained a new group of Butterfly trainee social entrepreneurs and continued supporting disadvantaged children living in Acholi Quarter slum areas and remote rural Koro with activities.We’ve launched Gamechangers, a board game outreach project, designed to encourage new young people into board gaming and identifying new changemakers. 

Boys and girls from the Chrysalis Athletics Club members have won every athletics event they have participated in this year!

Uganda needs more schools that put their pupils first and we believe we can have a major impact in Northern Uganda, based on our track record to date.

Grace Ayaa, the Director for Northern Development for Chrysalis, the organising running the Gamechangers programme in Uganda, is a great fan of board games and her children (9, 11 and 15) play frequently and have been helping with the teaching.  Grace has discovered that board games can be very good at teasing out capability in children and building confidence.

“In Uganda, when growing up, children who are a bit different often underperform in schools and lose confidence.  If they excel with board games, that confidence can be brought back.  I find that, once discovered, the children want to learn more and more games and I can see their abilities and confidence growing week by week, which has to be a good thing.”

We want to give special thanks to The Creativity Hub, who are helping us in a number of ways this year to develop our board game activities.  Creativity Hub produce the famous Rory’s Story Cubes, which have been so important in teaching children how to tell and write stories.

They are helping us expand the board game clubs and also to help train our young people in game design, so that in the future Uganda can have its own game design hub, where young people can learn games and then have some support to bring these to the international market.

We need to raise a lot of money during this year and are looking for partners to help us fundraise.  To that end, we have set up a Justgiving page to allow people to fundraise for us.

 

 

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