Scarcity vs Abundance

July 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

I took part in a fantastic workshop today, led by Patrick Reinsborough from SmartMeme – a group of activists sharing their learnings of story-based-strategy. Their work touches on so many ideas that have been dominating my mind, so it was great to see a room full of people with similar thoughts. There were a couple of ideas and phrases that struck me, that I thought I’d share.

  • When looking at the story we’re trying to tell – and the stories being told by those institutions we’re trying to change, it’s important to look at characters, conflict, imagery and foreshadowing. To anyone who writes fiction, this is 101. But what I hadn’t considered was, what are the assumptions that we hold that allow those stories to hold meaning.
  • If you haven’t got a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.
  • As activists, we should be in the business of selling dreams. Too often we forget that.
  • We often think that the problem is that enough people don’t know about our issue. Really, the problem is what people think they do know. The stories they’ve been told that touch are issues shape their reaction.
  • We’re surrounded by the story of scarcity – the need to compete, the desire to win (and therefore others to lose), security is based on having something someone else does not, the idea that we need GM crops to be able to feed starving children. Each of these depends on the idea of scarcity. If, instead, we see the world as a place of abundance, suddenly sharing does not been lessening I own. An interesting alternative way of seeing the world that fits well with George Lakoff’s idea of nurturant parent vs strict-father parents.

They also introduced me to the fantastic work of George Lakey and Gene Sharp.

There’s a great video introduction to the work SmartMeme do – here.

Two Interviews To Rock Your World

July 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

The first is with Larry Brilliant, whose life is so juicy I’m tempted to write his biography.

The second is with Elizabeth Warren, who is all over the New York Times at the moment, but first came to my attention when the HuffPo suggested her as a potential for the Supreme Court. What I love about Elizabeth is that she is so open about how her research totally invalidates her own preconceptions.

Suggestions Please

July 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Do you know someone doing exciting and meaningful work to change the world?

I’m looking to speak to a wide range of awesome young people, as I hope to write a short piece about how our generation is working for a better future.

I’m particularly looking for those working in these fields – but I’m open to any new ideas;

  • local community organising
  • environmental activism
  • health/disability/mental health work
  • progressive politics
  • race/ethnic equality
  • gender/LGBT rights
  • religious tolerance work
  • bloggers/authors/journalists who focus on social justice

I’ve been inspired by reading ‘‘Youth To Power: How Today’s Young Voters Are Building A Progressive Majority‘ in the USA, and ‘Notes from Canada’s Young Activists‘, and thought it would be interesting to collect the stories of young people in the UK.

If you know anyone who fits this description – I’d love to hear about them!

Thanks so much,


PS. Awesome hair+ glasses not necessary.

Rich Hall Takes On Tony Hayward

July 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Fear And Loathing In The Gulf Of Mexico

July 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Like most people, I’ve been feeling pretty helpless and angry about the situation in the Gulf since the BP disaster in April. I certainly have been sharing the various delightful reactions that people from all over the world have come up with; hijacking awards ceremonies or BP art events, good old samba protests, fake twitter accounts, comedic YouTube videos – there’s been all sorts.

My former colleague at Futerra Natalya Sverjensky and I wanted to look into how BP had achieved it’s ‘green’ image in the first place. Why was the this oil disaster a surprise?

So we created a website – to reveal the inept and shallow role the CSR world has played, and how meaningless it’s commentary has become. We need to change the way CSR works – and we need to start now.

We hope you enjoy.

Are You Happy?

July 10, 2010 § 1 Comment

I Wish

July 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

I wish that:

– everyone had the opportunity to hear Van Jones speak

– he will, again, have the opportunity to serve his country in government

– one day, I can speak with half the power, humour and wisdom that he does.

Brother Ali

July 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Brother Ali is awesome. This is ‘Tight Rope’ – with this couplet which I love;

‘Cause there aint no flame that can blaze enough
To trump being hated for the way you love.’

(Any other straight hip hop artists rapping about homophobia?)

Where Am I?

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