It is an honour to be asked to present the second Socratic Lecture in Thirroul. The topic I chose is: Caring for future generations – why a wise culture trumps the growth economy. As part of my preparation I turned to Plato’s classic work The Trial and Execution of Socrates and was struck at how the genius of the man can still be communicated and felt over two-plus millennia later. It also occurred to me that, cultural and personal differences aside, the fundamentals of what are referred to as ‘human nature’ do not appear to have changed markedly over that extended period. Which may or may not be good news, given the fact that to have any chance of successfully confronting the global challenges facing us requires depth understanding in a number of domains, including that of our own interior selves.
To support this event I’ve placed two items in the Action Resources section of this weblog. First is a 5pp summary of the lecture. Second is a link to an exceptional (and remarkably brief) paper by Paul and Ann Ehrlich that attempts to answer the question: Can a collapse of global civilisation be avoided? Don’t be tempted to pigeonhole this as ‘gloom and doom’ (a term I detest since it indicates lazy thinking / avoidance). Related items on this same weblog include a post and links to a session I was involved in that took place in Toronto last year. That session addressed what my North American colleagues refer to as the Global megacrisis.
Those looking for other related resources may wish to check the Foresight International site where copies, pdfs and ePub versions of recent works can be found: http://www.foresightinternational.com.au/
Finally, as this was being written I was finishing the ePub version of my book The Biggest Wake-Up Call in History. The book won an APF award last year as a ‘most important futures work’ and is highly relevant to the themes of the lecture.
Socratic lecture flyer (To open click here)
I’ve just added a new section to the site.
It introduces five recently produced clips from a mid-2012 conference session in Toronto. The material may be useful to anyone wishing to review approaches to what, by any measure, is a vast and immeasurably challenging topic (but, I would argue, one we can no longer afford to ignore). It also acts as a kind of ‘marker in time’ that identifies the point that an extended conversation between Michael Marien, William Halal and myself had reached. We were also fortunate that Thomas Homer-Dixon was available to participate. If you only have time to view one clip, I suggest you look at his since there are few people anywhere with his depth of understanding and knowledge.
As promised we’ve produced a new bird calendar for 2013 – the front and back covers can be seen below. I’m also part-way through writing a two-part article for the Birds Australia Southern Queensland bird photo group on the topic of Why photograph birds? When finished I’ll add it below. Also included here are two pages of notes on this year’s images.
Notes on 2013 bird calendar (To open click here)
This new book is being launched at Swinburne University, Melbourne, on Friday 19th October. Scroll down this page for cover image and other details of the book. For details of the launch please click the link below.
Invitation to launch of To See With Fresh Eyes… (To open click here)
This is the long awaited third conference organised by the Australian futures / foresight community and it takes place next month in Perth on November 16 to 18. Themes include sustainability, descent futures, city futures and Asian regional futures. For further details please click on the link below.
Overview of Asia-Pacific Foresight Conference (To open click here)
The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) marked its 10th anniversary with a series of events in Toronto during late July, most of which I attended. Among them was an evening get together in the Distillery District during which time a number of awards were presented. One of these was a Most Important Futures Work (MIFW) for my 2010 book, The Biggest Wake-Up Call in History. In the book I reviewed the global predicament, some of the strategies proposed to address it and possible ways forward in what look like increasingly impossible times. (Further details are in earlier posts; about a dozen reviews can be found on the Foresight International site, where the book can be purchased.)
The relevant award category was ‘published works that analyse a significant futures issue.’ The other publication thus honoured was Tim Jackson’s stimulating Prosperity Without Growth. It is indeed an honour to be recognised by the APF and to share the limelight, as it were, with such a ground-breaking work. The award may, in turn, make it a little easier to work toward a second edition and mainstream publication. Sincere thanks are due to all those who were involved in this year’s selection process.
As part of the preparation for WFS and APF events in Toronto at the end of July, I’ve gathered together a number of resources that are relevant to sessions I’m taking part in. There are obviously other resources on the other three sites I administer, but I thought it useful to assemble some of the most relevant items in one place. They are filed on the Toronto Resources page under: Education Bootcamp, APF, ‘Megacrisis’ session, Bio and Other Items.
I’ve added a new section where I’ll be placing appreciations of colleagues or friends who have died. The first of these is for Prof. Allen Tough with whom I worked for some years.
This is the title of a new section. Over time I’ll be adding images and commentary on these two fascinating and closely- linked subjects. If you’re at all interested in either I hope you’ll enjoy the result and perhaps take a little more time next you pass some unexpected work on the street.
As a change from my more serious work on futures here are the front and back covers of my 2012 calendar. This is the second year I’ve produced one. Currently they are not for sale. Next year, however, I’ll be taking orders from September or October for the 2013 one. Watch this space for further details.
Notes on 2012 Bird Calendar (To open click here)