Category Archives: Sustainablity

What is prosperity?

Prosperity: abundance; happiness; health.

I captured a visual metaphor what prosperity is to me: abundance; happiness; health.

I captured a visual metaphor of what prosperity is to me: abundance; happiness; health.

My apple tree and cat provided me a good visual opportunity to show my readers what prosperity is to me.

Abundance is the first quality of prosperity.  My apple tree produced many huge apples which presented a problem of what to do with them all.  The apple in the photo relative to my cat Pebbles is the sort of apples that grew in such abundance in my garden.

Happiness is the second quality of prosperity.  The face of Pebbles my cat in the photo says it better than words of a happy contented cat.

Health is the third and final quality of prosperity.  Pebbles my cat is eleven-years-old, she is an old cat, but she is a healthy cat.  Pebbles has a healthy appetite; can defend her territory against other cats (if she can be bothered); makes it clear to her younger rival Helix she is the Alpha cat; and her climbing skills are impressive.

Prosperity comes from working in harmony with nature.

You need room to grow

Nature provides living things the opportunity to grow.

Note the difference in growth of these two walnut trees relative to the size of their pots.  If a pot is opportunity, then living things grow relative to the opportunity available.  Nature provides the greatest opportunity to grow, and living things suffer through lack of exposure to nature.

Note the difference in growth of these two walnut trees relative to the size of their pots. If a pot is opportunity, then living things grow relative to the opportunity available. Nature provides the greatest opportunity to grow, and living things suffer through lack of exposure to nature.

I purchased large new pots for my growing oak saplings which are outgrowing their old pots.  I observed that one oak sapling in a larger pot grew faster and larger than the other seven in smaller pots.  It is the same with the two walnut trees that my friend planted, my photo shows the difference in growth between the walnut trees in different sized pots.

The oak and walnut tree pots are a good metaphor that all of living things need the opportunity to grow to their full potential.  Elephants are highly intelligent social animals, captive elephants in zoos become stressed and die younger than their wild counterparts.  The octopus is a another intelligent species needing lots of stimulation to avoid stress according to scientific studies.

The human eye needs the stimulation of sunlight and the outdoors to develop properly.  The BBC reports that a recent study of students in South Asian cities found 90% of the samples were short-sighted, a condition called myopia that needs glasses.  Modern South Asian students spend a large part of their lives indoors studying or involved with electronic technology such as the internet.  Young children in the UK are rapidly getting myopia as young as three because of being indoors and on computers for long periods of time according to the Daily Mail. A scientific study revealed the descendents of the Mutiny of the Bounty on Norfolk Island have the lowest rates of myopia in the world; whilst the study suggested genetics might be involved, I noted on Wikipedia an observation that “Islanders traditionally spend a lot of time outdoors.”

Living things are designed to live in nature, so to limit this exposure in any way causes a stagnation in personal growth in both mind and body, like I observe with my acorn saplings and the walnut trees limited by the size of their pots.

Individual power of change

Forget social movements and actors, you can make change.

This is Circe, one of my oak saplings I am growing.  Planting a tree is a small individual action, but it contributes overall to a healthier planet and community.

This is Circe, one of my eight oak saplings I am growing. Planting a tree is a small individual action, but it contributes overall to a healthier planet and community.

Individuals have no need to wait for a social movement, a celebrity endorsement or a disaster to make simple and small changes of steps now that benefit this planet and their community.  Small steps can include recycling, planting a tree or picking up litter. In the deeds and choices the individual makes they feel empowered and gain wisdom through experiential activity helping this planet and their community.

You may have heard about the ice bucket challenge where people are emptying ice-cold water over their heads in aid of ALS research which is a motor neurone disorder.  Many participants of the ALS challenge do so without bothering to learn what ALS is, or donate to the research; they follow a social trend with no understanding or interest of what it is about.  The ALS challenge echos the problems of the Occupy Movement, most of the participants had no goals or idea why they were protesting.  Many participants of mass social movements do so mindlessly without interest or understanding what such movements are about.

Russell Brand is a British celebrity involved in comedy, is becoming increasingly vocal in social and ecological movements.  When I take a closer look at Brand I find despite all the words he has no vision or answers to the issues he seems so passionate about.  I am cynical about Brand, who seems to lack authenticity.

The power of change is authentic and effective only at the individual level, that is I and you, and we have no need of social movements or celebrities to make our little ripples of positive change into the world.

Getting close and personal with nature

Nature is often full of adventures and surprises.

Two of the wild animals waiting to surprise you in nature.

Two of the wild animals waiting to surprise you in nature.

This morning a cat sits expectantly for treats.  I am clumsy and a rain shower of treats hits the cat, which flees.  I take a few treats in hand to restore my relationship with the fearful cat, I walk into a spiderweb I did not see; the upset spider is hanging from my face.  The cat will not touch the treats.  Sometimes my interactions with nature and animals goes badly wrong.

When I go camping, the problem at this moment is slugs and snails.  In the darkness I have to check for the slimy creatures in case they have invaded my tent, it is something I dislike sharing my sleeping bag with a slug.

As humanity expands, the wild lands of nature become smaller, so nature and humanity come face to face.  Humanity needs a new understanding of respect and harmony in a world where city and wild nature overlap.  Three stories in the media today highlights the problems of humanity and nature colliding.  You think it an ordinary day, you go to work and find a wild elk looking at you in the corridor. A normal day fetching water, you end in a 30 minute battle fending off a hungry leopard with a spade. Your mother-in-law is coming to stay, you enter the spare room to prepare the bed, a horror story greets you when you find 5000 wasps have made a claim to the bed as their nest.

One thing I am certain of is that in nature nothing is ever dull.

Becoming individually responsible

Liberty comes with responsibility.

I found this large puffball fungus in Colchester which are often only found by chance.

I found this large puffball fungus in Colchester which are often only found by chance.

I support individuality, but individuals in expressing their individuality do so with responsibility if it impacts other people and this planet.  I came across a spider and its web in my garden, I took another route so to avoid harming the web; this in my opinion is a good example of individuals acting responsibly.

An irresponsible plane passenger nearly killed a child who lives near my town of Colchester by eating peanuts despite multiple warnings not to do so.  In the media report the child had a severe allergy to nuts so that even their smell would cause a life threatening reaction.  At least three clear warnings were given on the aircraft to all passengers to not eat nuts, but this passenger knowingly refused to heed the warnings, nearly killing the child.

The weather in Colchester has encouraged a large number of edible puffballs to grow three months early in a certain place.  The puffballs look like large white soccer balls, one that I foraged last year to eat.  To my dismay people are kicking these puffballs to pieces for a few moments of mindless entertainment.  The responsible individual would give the puffballs a purpose either by foraging them for food, or allowing them to follow through their life cycle to seed themselves.

My view on charity giving

Sadly people are taking advantage of people’s good intentions.

The ancient workhouses of the UK were charities for the poor who were notorious for starving their "inmates" whilst the administrators grew fat on charitable donations.

The ancient workhouses of the UK were charities for the poor who were notorious for starving their “inmates” whilst the administrators grew fat on charitable donations.  Dickens Oliver Twist story exposed the scandal.

In the Colchester square the smiling face offers a leaflet, “for you!” he says.  I take the leaflet, but it is held tightly, wheeling me in to the grinning face like a fish.  The charity salesperson is selling a worthy charity called the World Wildlife Fund.

Welcome to cynical capitalism, salespeople as predators on the good intentions of human beings for emotive causes.  Should I donate to the charity via these salespeople they will keep 90% of the donation, the charity will get practically nothing.  I politely tell them I am not interested, I stay silent about where I would like to shove their leaflet, which they keep.

Anything of a charitable nature is via my business, which as its CEO I am the ultimate decision maker.  For legal and business reasons I have policies and processes in place to assist in the decision-making, activity and recording of charitable donations.  I have a localism policy which means the donation must relate to something in Colchester; the donation must benefit the business in some manner such as its brand or products; the donation must translate into a tangible result such as the planting of trees; the donation must meet values such as sustainability, liberty and opportunity policies.

One charity I might consider partnering with in the form of corporate sponsorship is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which has broadened its scope to dealing with other wildlife and the land.  The RSPB runs many nature reserves around the UK including a small nature reserve near Colchester. This potential charity donation ticks all the boxes such as localism, sustainability and branding, so this is where I might donate to.

I argue that people need to become wise to the fund-raising activities for charities, checking that donations are properly used and administrative costs are low.

The rise of localism

Globalism and central control is coming to an end.

Bees are localised, sustainable and self reliant, something humanity will learn the hard way.

Bees are localised, sustainable and self-reliant, something humanity will learn the hard way.

The first of a series of debates on Scottish independence from the UK took place yesterday, the vote for independence takes place next month.  The campaign for Scottish independence is part of a larger paradigm shift away from globalism to localism around the world.  Cornwall, Wales, Mercia, Yorkshire and Wessex are all campaigning for independence in the UK.  Even in my town of Colchester we want to take back control of highways from external authorities.

The European elections this year resulted in a surge in anti-EU nationalistic parties doing well.  UKIP which wants the UK to leave the EU was the clear winner in the UK in the European elections.  The UN is increasingly seen as ineffective in the face of international crisis, often used by a few powerful nations, and ignored by practically everyone.  Israel recently expressed the contempt nations now have for the UN by bombing UN schools in Gaza.

The USSR has broken up into small nations, as has Yugoslavia.  Sudan split into two and Georgia into three nations.  There is talk of California in the USA breaking into six states, and a growing but still small movements for other states breaking away from the Union altogether.  The fighting in East Ukraine is as much about local Russians wanting to determine their own future as the international games of chess between the superpowers.

Flanders is seeking to break from Belgium; Catalonia and the Basque Country want to break from Spain; the city of Venice wants to break from Italy; Quebec is looking to break from Canada; Kurdistan and many other Peoples are seeking to form their own nation states out of the chaos of Iraq, Syria and Libya.

New forms of local currency such as the Totnes pound and electronic currencies such as Bitcoin challenge the bankers. Until recently my local council Essex Council was talking about creating its own bank for local people.  Corporates such as Starbucks are considering creating their own currencies, in effect becoming their own banks.  Multiple non-banking payment systems such as PayPal are now part of internet commerce.  In the face of sanctions Russia has created their own version of VISA for citizens to pay their bills.

The internet has helped to break up the power of information monopolies where the citizen blogger is as effective as a journalist in the New York Times.  The internet places greater power in the hands of the individual on the local level.

Water, energy, food and debt are the four great forces now driving the world politically, economically and socially.  The many chasing a diminishing amount of resources drives people to fight or conserve their resources.  Huge growing public and private debt is destroying nation states, driving the momentum to think local rather than global.  The Greek economic crisis drove local people back to the land, to become self-sufficient, and create systems of trade outside of the global financial system.

I support localism, and I designed my business with localism in mind.  The growing international crisis will force people to become local, sustainable and self-reliant.  As the money runs out nations, communities and individuals will quickly learn that it is down to themselves to live or die.