Schumacher College Fundraising Event July 2014

by Olivia Bowen It was a treat to have Satish Kumar chairing the meeting. As originator and cofounder he should be so proud of what the Schumacher College have achieved to date, and how their future plans will help to shape our mutual future for the better. We started with a minute of silence, closing our eyes, and then introduced ourselves in turn - easily 50 of us - with our first name and a brief description. It was wonderful to hear the love for Schumacher College in the room, to hear first hand how far its ethos can reach (one of their alumni works with President Obama on climate change, for example, and another worked with the Chinese government to set up wind turbines in China fifteen years ago - before it became common practice even here in the UK) and how the mindset of the thought leaders connected with Schumacher College can have such a profound capacity to change or enhance the way we think and behave. Leo Johnson (brother of Boris, London’s controversial Mayor) spoke in support of the college's aims; he feels fearful of the potential community disconnect fuelled by tablets and social media. His advice: 1) Make family life more fun - no tablets- pull your children down the stairs on a duvet! At first I loved this idea, but then realised that as it was coming from a man with a broken tendon, it probably wasn't very good advice! As I pointed out to him later, if he was a horse he'd have been put down by now. 2) Spend time with other people outdoors 3) Work fewer unpaid hours… …unlike most of the UK, who work huge amounts of unpaid overtime. He unknowingly quoted my husband when he said that the question to ask yourself in the morning is: How little work can I do today? On first appearances it sounds lazy, but it isn't - it's the right way to try to balance your life, for the benefit of you, your family & your community. Give yourself time to breathe, to think, to be aware. So many of us base our self worth on being busy; be busy with your family, friends, or neighbours, but not just with work. Jonathan Porritt made me think when he spoke about rewiring the education we receive in this country. Most of us are hardwired not to incorporate important factors such as ecology and society into making work and business decisions. When it's phrased like that it seems crazy, but that's the reality. I consider myself to be a liberal, and try to challenge conventions that can become bad habits, such as consumerism - but his words challenged me to go further. This led me to think about the charity of which I am a Trustee ~ The Winged Horse Trust. 75% of the UK is farmland, as noted by BBC's Environment Correspondent Matt McGrath in their article of 25th June 2014. This means that sustainable farming practice is essential if we are to live and eat well. The Winged Horse Trust exists to support what we call "enlightened agriculture" and you can read our brochure by clicking here. If you are interested in supporting the work of the Winged Horse Trust (soon to be renamed the Real Farming Trust), our registered charity number is 1061607. We were then encouraged to speak to as many folks as possible, an easy task with so many like-minded people in the room - chatting about ecology, sustainability, politics, sensible business aspiration & practice while drinking English cider and eating canapés made by the Schumacher kitchen. I particularly enjoyed meeting Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party. If, like Gaeia (who have provided a bursary to help more people benefit from Schumacher's teaching) you want to help Schumacher College go from strength to strength, and support future thought leaders, then click here to make a donation now. "A civilization built on renewable resources, such as the products of forestry and agriculture, is by this fact alone superior to one built on non-renewable resources, such as oil, coal, metal, etc. This is because the former can last, while the latter cannot last. The former co-operates with nature, while the latter robs nature. The former bears the sign of life, while the latter bears the sign of death." E. F. Schumacher 1911-1977

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