and I’m never entirely sure what I’m going to write. This week feels like I have done very little except watch a LOT of the american version of The Office.
The people factor
I went to an online book launch about a Degrowth book. It was an academic meeting, and some people were invited to comment, and criticise on the book. And they did. It’s amazing and great that people are so open, and ready to see that this is part of the learning. Personally I hope that the commentators and critics had already written a book on Degrowth themselves, and I think they had. The people factor here was fascinating; one of the critics quoted the book and criticised the quote. But when it got back round to the author’s turn to speak, she re-read the quote from the book which had been MIS-quoted by the commentator. Thus making the criticism invalid. The author had to try and positively react to this, incredible work. Imagine being so on the spot, probably anxious about the event, receiving criticism, then having to deal with this situation! It was an amazing experience to see how it was all dealt with in a civil, if strangely tense, way. Imagine writing a book then facing people for criticism.
Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop have written what I find to be a fantastic and funny book on permaculture called “Building a Better World in Your Backyard”. The tone can be interpreted as annoying, but since my years in permaculture mostly lead me to agree with him, I like it. Actually the only part I don’t like is where he talks about heating his home. He mentions the bed and the desk as the places he spends time. Therefore, in his design those are the places he needs to keep warm. What about erm.. food prep, eating, and cleaning up? That’s a huge part of daily life for anyone surely. I find it odd that it’s not mentioned. Or maybe that’s just considered stuff which is “active” so you don’t need to be warm.
Anyway I love his summary of living in community, which is: if you can take out the “drama” factor, then it’s all good. And that is exactly the difficulty – the people factor. How do you deal with drama? It is the biggest question. I spend increasing amounts of time in workshops looking at regenerative self-care and regenerative working with others, because they are so key. Actually I should admit that I haven’t finished Paul’s book – there is a chapter from him on how to deal with drama that I look forward to.
The Boodaville project is actually just one big long lesson in how to work with others, which goes well, and goes badly. Just ask the advisory group we have: 98% of everything we talk about is the people factor. We are all, each an every one of us, infinitely complex! Of course this is where things get complicated as we come together in a system. For today I just want to share last weeks revelation about the idea of Learning by Doing.
I am a HUGE fan of learning by doing, and much less of a fan of learning with a whiteboard. Last week though, I faced the awkward situation where I felt I wanted to do something differently to the way it had been done.
If we had had a theoretical situation, there could have been a discussion about the best ideas with no back story of personal investment. But the reality was that conversations, lots of effort, time and emotional investment, had already happened. The reality was that an amazing amount of work had been done. So the conversations about different opinions, and how to have these conversations positively, became more important than the job itself. Because Boodaville is not about this job, or that job, it is a complex system of people doing many jobs.
Overall I learnt from this 1) the ideal situation is that people work when they are motivated, and don’t force motivation. I wonder if working with others could be the key to helping to find motivation in a repeat of this situation. 2) As always I keep learning that it’s better to share ideas and opinions to an incredible amount of detail at the beginning of the job, and if there’s even the slightest difference of opinion that should be resolved properly at the time.
The end of the world
This morning on the BBC (which I have almost completely stopped listening to because the “news” can drive me into a rage and then to tears about the continued movement of humanity in the wrong direction. Who has the power? the people who tell everyone the news, they have the power. And the UK press, and FB, and now the BBC are increasingly drawing our attention towards blaming immigrants, away from ecological collapse, and reinforcing the story of separation. In the end you can react to any situation in a way that increases love, or a way that increases hate. Choose love. Oh my, I’m on fire. all this was just a bracket).
On BBC Radio 6 this morning they had a short section with a story about a deputy head teacher who’d just quit his job to become a wellness instructor, and he chose to play “the Wall” by Pink Floyd. Me and Kira were dancing around the bathroom as we got ready for school.
That song was written.. how many?.. years ago, and here we are facing the collapse of our living systems, having done nothing to create an education system that puts value on ethics, natural world, empathy, ecology, systems thinking. At least they could do this could be as WELL as teaching business, economics, science, grammar and to do what you’re told.
But listening to the song, I felt it doesn’t actually address the issue. Blaming the teachers is not really going to help, most of them are fantastic people with a passion for sharing their passions. It’s like blaming individuals for buying drinks in plastic bottles… The SYSTEM needs to change. And that is why things are mostly still going in the wrong direction. Even if I personally, and you personally can be ok and do what we can within our sphere of influence, we sadly need to spend a lot of time finding ways to be ok, because there is so much to be concerned about.
Luckily being ok comes from connection with the people around you, addressing together important questions and creating a regenerative culture. It also comes from enjoying the small things like dancing to the song “All Star” with your child in the bathroom while you brush your teeth. Oh – and writing, that’s a good one. I do this for myself more than for you.
The problems with the Environmental program I quit teaching this year are pretty much summed up by a question in the FB group for teachers last week “How do I teach the students to explain the innate value of nature in an exam question?”
Real news this week continues to be data showing that the effects of climate change are happening rapidly, in line or above the models that predict catastrophe.
The Great Game
Oh this is wonderful please play with us! This game is a competition between players to see who can go the longest without finding out the result of the upcoming US election. Sign up with Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org