Category Archives: 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Readers not already on James Robertson’s massive mailing list are advised to consider signing up to receive his Newsletter which has a wide overview of current issues, drawing on a range of sources and reaching people in many different countries. Here are a few extracts from Newsletter No. 58 – August 2017
FACING THE FUTURE
Viral essay: The Uninhabitable Earth. “It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.”
See David Wallace-Wells at www.ecologise.in/2017/07/15/viral-essay-uninhabitable-earth.
WE THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD MUST ACT, IF OUR LEADERS WON’T
14 years have passed since the British Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, offered us Our final century. “I think the odds are no better than 50/50 that our present civilisation will survive to the end of the present century”. See www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk2000/newsmakers/ 2976279.stm. If the leaders of our countries pay no attention to those warnings, we the people of the Earth must respond.
EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE RESPONDING INCLUDED:
- The Ecological Land Co-operative works towards a living, working countryside (Ed: co-founder Shaun Chamberlin). “Our mission is to provide affordable opportunities for ecological land-based businesses in the UK. We support rural regeneration by developing affordable sites for farming, forestry and other rural enterprises which are viable and ecologically beneficial”. Their current 2017-2020 Business Plan sets out more about their work. See www.ecologicalland.coop.
- The Farmer Is The Future, by Julian Rose. See www.notthembutus.wordpress.com/discussion-papers/the-future-is-the-farmer-julian-rose.
- Localise West Midlands works towards local supply chains, money flow, ownership and power for a more just and sustainable economy. Its joint co-ordinator is Karen Leach. This not-for-personal-profit thinktank, campaign group and consultancy exists to promote the environmental, social and economic benefits of:
Local trading, using local businesses, materials and supply chains
Linking local needs to local resources
Development of community and local capacity
Decentralisation of appropriate democratic and economic power
Provision of services tailored to meet local needs.
And finally: The overwhelming negatives of the Hinkley Point deal.
“The Chinese and French have made British consumers the equivalent of a gargantuan payday loan. The case for the project, says the NAO, was “marginal” and the deal “not value for money”. That is auditor-speak for crazy.” See www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/23/hinkley-point-cancel-theresa-may-hs2.
Shaun opens with a reference to a workshop at the first national gathering of the U.S. Transition movement: “All 180 attendees at that gathering were gifted a copy of Surviving the Future, courtesy of a wealthy fan of the book, and to honour Fleming’s influence on the birth of Transition“. He refers to Mark Boyle’s article in The Guardian and we note this paragraph:
“The late David Fleming – one of the greatest thinkers you’ve probably never heard of – said in his recent posthumously published magnum opus, Lean Logic, that “localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility, but it has the decisive argument in its favour that there will be no alternative”.
A Spanish publisher has now signed up to translate and publish Surviving the Future for the world’s half-billion Spanish speakers!
Shaun continues: “And filming is now underway for an hour-long film on David Fleming’s life, legacy and vision, provisionally titled The Seed Beneath The Snow! BAFTA lifetime achievement award winning director Peter Armstrong is at the helm, and I hope to be able to include an early teaser clip in the next update – stay tuned…”
The books were also named in ‘best of 2016’ lists by both GreenBiz and The Times Higher Education Supplement!
This dedicated page on the Fleming Policy Centre website has at-a-glance summaries of the reviews to date, videos from the launch events, links to buy the books etc: http://www.flemingpolicycentre.org.uk/lean-logic-surviving-the-future/
VIDEO (8 mins): 2016 event at Trinity College, Oxford University, Jonathon Porritt and Shaun Chamberlin discuss the work of David Fleming (Trinity alumnus ) focusing on economic collapse and the rediscovery of culture grounded in place. They were celebrating the launch of ‘Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It’ and the paperback ‘Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy’.
Follow @LeanDictionary on Twitter to stay up-to-date with all the latest
A forthcoming Schumacher College course on the work of David Fleming. Course dates: Monday, 6 February, 2017 to Friday, 10 February, 2017
“How should we live?” “What work should we do?” “How can we resource ourselves and each other?” It’s time to reclaim these questions from the economists. Sparked by the posthumous publication of Dr. David Fleming’s extraordinary book Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy (link is external), we invite you to an exploration of what ‘lives well-lived’ look like in this time of transition.
Fleming’s work highlights that “most of human history was bred, fed and watered by another sort of economy. But the market has replaced, as far as possible, the social capital of reciprocal obligation, loyalties, culture and traditions with exchange, price and the impersonal principles of economics”
As the market economy continues to crumble under the weight of its own impossible need for perpetual growth, we should admit that for all its destructiveness, we will miss its essential simplicity, the comforts it delivers to many and the freedoms it underwrites. And as ‘austerity’ bites and capitalism’s former largesse continues to shrink away, that future is becoming daily reality for ever more of us.
Such a time brings fear and uncertainty, but also great possibility. The forces that have cocooned us are failing, but these are also the forces that constrained us. This is a time of loss and freedom, if we can minimise our dependence on the market and find sustenance with deeper
Now is the time to repair or replace the atrophied social and ecological structures on which most human cultures were built, as the basis for a nourishing, cohesive society that might survive the turbulent times to come. This is the story of our times, and living it imbues our days with meaning.
With Shaun Chamberlin, Rob Hopkins, Mark Boyle and Stephan Harding
Shaun Chamberlin (link is external) is the editor of his late friend David Fleming’s posthumous book Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, and the paperback version Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy. Shaun was a co-founder of Transition Town Kingston and author of the movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline (2009), and has since contributed to more than ten other books. Living on little money has enabled him to devote himself to roles such as chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative and a director of the campaigning organisation Global Justice Now, and he is currently Chelsea Green Publishing’s commissioning editor for the UK/Europe. Read the Q&A put out by Positive News.
Rob Hopkins (link is external) is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. This grew out of many years’ experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and setting up the first two-year full-time permaculture course in the world, as well as co-ordinating the first eco-village development in Ireland to be granted planning permission. He is author of The Transition Handbook (2008), The Transition Companion (2011), The Power of Just Doing Stuff (2013) and 21 Stories of Transition (2015), served 3 years as a Trustee of the Soil Association, and was named by the Independent as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists. He lives in Devon and grows food for his family.
Mark Boyle is widely known as ‘The Moneyless Man’, after living completely without money for almost three years, an experience which formed the basis for his first book, The Moneyless Man (2010) and his second, The Moneyless Manifesto (2012). He is also a trustee of the Streetbank sharing network, holds a degree in Business and spent his earlier professional career involved in the management of organic food companies. He is the author of Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi (2015), and is currently engaged in creating a fully localised, land-based gift economy in Éire, putting his holistic ideas into practice.
Stephan Harding is Programme Coordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science and resident Ecologist at Schumacher College, teaching on the MSc core modules and on many of the short courses. He holds a doctorate in behavioural ecology from Oxford University, and before becoming a founder member of the College taught ecology at the National University in Costa Rica. He is a close associate of James Lovelock and an expert in the study of Gaia theory and deep ecology. He is the author of Animate Earth (2009) and Grow Small, Think Beautiful: Ideas for a Sustainable World from Schumacher College (2011).
David Fleming (1940-2010) was an inspiration to all our teachers. He himself taught at Schumacher College, and was a visionary thinker and writer who played significant roles in the genesis of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement, and the New Economics Foundation, as well as chairing the Soil Association. He was also one of the early whistle-blowers on oil depletion and designer of the influential TEQs carbon/energy rationing system. He read Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford, and later earned an MBA and then an MSc and PhD in economics (in 1988). These enabled him to better engage with and confound the mainstream, in support of his true passion and genius: understanding that diverse and mysterious thing “community.” His Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It (link is external) was the work of over thirty years, and will inform this short course.
Course fees include all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon, and includes four nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.
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It has been produced with an exceptional level of care and attention from Chelsea Green’s design team – who told Shaun they felt they were handling a classic. The book has a foreword from Jonathon Porritt, completed endnotes and (epic!) bibliography, full index, editor’s preface and several wood engravings selected or commissioned by David. Shaun has also edited a paperback version – Surviving the Future – in a more conventional read-it-front-to-back format, and at around a quarter of the length.
Last year Shaun lead authored a peer-reviewed academic paper on David’s TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas) system, which was published in April. The Ecological Land Co-operative (which he chaired at the time) also raised over £300k in community finance and purchased a second piece of land, in Sussex, to make available their next set of eco-smallholdings: http://ecologicalland.coop/ . His article was published in STIR magazine introducing what the ELC is about: http://www.stirtoaction.com/article/the-law-of-the-land
His role is identifying authors and book projects in line with CG’s mission: to reverse the destruction of the natural world by challenging the beliefs and practices that are enabling this destruction, and by providing inspirational and practical alternatives that promote sustainable living.
Speaking as an author, he says that they are ‘comfortably’ the best publishers he’s worked with and looks forward to hearing from any voices/projects that could use a great publisher.
Founded in 1984, Chelsea Green Publishing is recognized as a leading publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, publishing authors who bring in-depth, practical knowledge to life, and give readers hands-on information related to organic farming and gardening, permaculture, ecology, the environment, simple living, food, sustainable business and economics, green building, and more. Website information:
“We lead the industry both in terms of content—foundational books on renewable energy, green building, organic agriculture, eco-cuisine, and ethical business—and in terms of environmental practice, printing 95 percent of our books on recycled paper with a minimum 30 percent post-consumer waste and aiming for 100 percent whenever possible. We also print our books in North America, as opposed to overseas like many publishers, with most of our printing partners based in the United States”.
In 2012, Chelsea Green decided to become an employee-owned company, creating an ESOP in which employees control 78% of the company’s privately held stock; the remaining stock is held by the founders.