Sitting quietly in London, in the home of loving friends, I am reflecting on the last couple of days in Amsterdam. Invited to participate in a master class on Feeding the World: the 9 billion people question, I am so grateful to Volkert Engelsman of Eosta for creating this way of celebrating 25 years of working for soils: “the conference will be more than just an exchange of knowledge and commitments; it is intended to be a true celebration of life and its living foundation. Soil… this wonderful thin layer embracing our planet, where trillions of micro-organisms meet in a magic encounter of cosmic and terrestrial powers. Celebrating Soil=-Celebrating Life!”
What does it mean to learn ecologically within a postcolonial frame?
The SI approach to learning is core to who we are. As we imagine what it is to be human, what a good society might be, we come back time and time again to how we learn. As Africans, what does it mean to learn ecologically within a postcolonial frame? The attached chapter was published in: The Necessary Transition, 2013, edited by Malcolm McIntosh, a long-time friend of the SI and deeply committed to socioecological transitions.
In A Time for New Dreams (2011), Ben Okri writes evocatively: “Childhood asks us what reality really is, what the world is, and where it came from. Childhood asks where life came from, and where it goes. Does the soul exist? Where was the soul before birth? How many realms are there? Are fairies real? Do ghosts and spirits exist? Why are some people lucky and others unlucky, why is there suffering? Why are we here? Are there more things in the innocent-seeming world than we can see? These are some of the questions that the state of childhood asks, and which perplex us all our days.”
I’m back, after a very long walk in Europe – a pilgrimage – as part of the insane privilege of a sabbatical made possible by Sally Wilton and Teresa Graham after celebrating last year the 15th birthday of the Sustainability Institute. Being the founding director, from 1999, is my greatest work privilege.
On 28th January 2015 45 people registered for the Masters Programme in Sustainable Development, starting off with the three day Orientation followed by the two-week introductory module on Sustainable Development. Of the 45 that registered, 53% are classified black, and 47% white. Significantly, 66% are women and 34% are men - a shift away from the usual pattern of roughly equal numbers of men and women. Continuing a trend that started about five years ago that has resulted in a rising number of people employed in the private sector and deciline in the numbers from the non-profit and public sectors, 62% of those who registered are employed in the private sector. The remainder come from the public sector (20%), education (9%) and 7% are full-time students. The diversity of disciplinary backgrounds is notable, from engineers, to a fashion designer, a chef, school teachers, managers in cement and oil companies, to environmentalists, social scientists and economists, this is a programme that attracts a truly multi-disciplinary group. This contributes significantly to the richness of classroom discussion and learning.
Convetional western growth models will not work
In 2014 a group of PGD students travelled to Nepal to attend a course delivered as part of the SI Explorers programme. They travelled through cities and rural areas in order to assess what kinds of development strategies have been implemented. They concluded that western development paradigms promoted via globalization processes are unlikely to work in Nepal. They compiled a YouTube video to express these findings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOMXMtpvp2U&feature=youtu.be
Article by Mark Swilling
The September 2014 Heinrich Boll Foundation publication Perspectives was devoted to the theme of greening African economies in the context of climate change. The first contribution by Mark Swilling was based on his talk at the African Union Summit of Ministers of Finance and Economics in Abuja in February 2014. The contributions reflect diverse ideological perspectives on the challenge of making African economies more sustainable. For a copy click here.
During the period 10 November - 19 December, a Training Course in Macroeconomic Sector Analyses and Systems Dynamics was convened by the Quantum Global Research Lab working in partnership the School of Public Leadership and the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
This course is an initiative by the Quantum Global Research Lab AG (QGRL), established in Zug, Switzerland to lead innovation and excellence in delivering bottom-up models for inclusive development and sustainable investment decision-making in African countries. This course is hosted by the QGRL in partnership with the School of Public Leadership and Sustainability Institute, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, under the auspices of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Quantum Global Research Lab and Stellenbosch University. Subsequently, the course participants will receive further training on country-specific analyses, and other relevant subjects as well. For a detailed breakdown of the course, click HERE.