Saturday, November 28, 2009

Overcoming the crisis of perception

Schumacher College

Newsletter December 2009

At this time we are living with a “crisis of perception.” People tend to see the world’s problems as largely unrelated and fragmented, with limited understanding of their common ecological basis. At Schumacher College, we are continuously inviting visionary and inspired teachers who eloquently challenge these misperceptions. Our new year courses will explore this crisis through three approaches: science and spirit, economics and happiness, and the implications of the Copenhagen summit. The time to challenge the crisis of perception is here. Join us at Schumacher College.

Moving from materialism to happiness

Tomorrow (November 28) is national Buy Nothing Day, started in the early 1990’s by Adbusters. How many of us pay attention to the effects of our purchasing decisions as they impact humans and non-humans along the supply chain? What motivates us to buy things, and does buying stuff make us happy? Can the concept of happiness work as an economic indicator? These are some of the questions we will be asking and exploring in depth in our February short course, The Economics of Happiness, featuring Tim Kasser, Dasho Karma Ura, Per Espen Stoknes and Andrew Simms. Today was also the last day of our one-week short course, Growth and Consequence: rethinking our economic future, which has featured Jonathan Porritt and Susan George, as well as Andrew Simms, who will be joining us again in February. He says:
Our obsession with economic growth means we measure the success of the economy as if crime, pollution and illness were as positive as health, education and clean, green energy. We need new measures that reveal how environmentally efficient we are at using resources to create long, happy lives. National accounts of wellbeing are as important as national income accounts. Andrew Simms, Policy Director and Head of Climate Change Programme, nef

Photo: Michael Beaton

The consumer backdrop to Copenhagen

In contrast to Buy Nothing Day (see above) as we approach Christmas, we will no doubt be fervently reminded across all media channels first, how many shopping days we have left. This “noise” will form the backdrop to the Copenhagen Summit this December, arguably the most important UN gathering in modern history. Let us all hope that those with power who can influence what agreements are made at Copenhagen awake from their crisis of perception before it’s too late.
The latest suggestion from the rich world is that a legally binding deal be replaced with a collection of politicians’ promises, wrapped up in a photo-opportunity at Copenhagen. That’s a gift the world can do without this Christmas. Better no deal at all than we go forward with a bad deal, whistling in the dark, as we walk toward catastrophe. Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director as reported on CNN

Schumacher College in Copenhagen

Schumacher College will be highlighting the critical skills and new approaches needed for radical change at next month’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Along with the worlds NGOs, activists and movements like the Transition Network, we will be taking part in Klimaforum09, the civic society conference which is running alongside the UN organised COP15.
On the 14th December international delegates will join us for a briefing session on Sustainable Living, Localism and Resilience (organised in collaboration with the Transition Network) and following this on the 16th December we have been invited to deliver a workshop on Ecoliteracy: Critical Skills for Radical Change to the Association of Danish Academics.
We’re also organising an exhibition stand between the 14th and 16th December to share information about the College. If you’re planning to take part in Klimaforum09, anticipate a few hours to spare between these dates and would like to help run the stand, we’d love to hear from you. Please email

Stop Press

After Copenhagen: Opportunities and challengesNigel Topping, Chief Development Officer of the Carbon Disclosure Project, will discuss the role of business in exacerbating or helping address climate change. He joins Richard Heinberg and Rob Hopkins in week 2 of this course at Schumacher College in March 2010.

An opportunity to combine intellectual wisdom and environmental responsibility

Schumacher College will bring together teachers from an extraordinary variety of scientific and spiritual disciplines to address a fundamental question of our time: How do we find a way through to a more enlightened understanding of our role on this planet, which embraces the wonderful intellectual achievements of our age whilst putting them in a context of responsibility, sustainability and wisdom? Across three weeks of Science Meets Spirit: The search for meaning experts in biology, physics, philosophy, Eastern spirituality and cosmology will take participants on a journey to explore the challenge of reconnecting with the values that could guide us through a turbulent future.
Teachers: Elisabet Sahtouris, Arthur Zajonc, Mary Midgley, Bernadette Brady, Ravi Ravindra
To view more details about our short course in January Science Meets Spirit: The search for meaning

MSc in Holistic Science, application open for bookings

The reductionist explanation of nature through scientific discovery has now proved itself to be unable to give a full and balanced story of our place in the world. It has led us to assume that by analysing the mechanical workings of nature we can predict and hence manipulate it. Central to expounding a new vision at Schumacher College has been the qualitative scientific approach that continues to be adopted by the College’s resident and visiting science faculty. Click here for more details about the programme

Courses open for booking

Schumacher College
MSc in Holistic Science
September 2010
Schumacher College
(T) +44(0)1803 865 934
Schumacher College is an initiative of The Dartington Hall Trust, a registered charity, bringing ideas on sustainability to life.