A quick post from picturesque Durham station en-route to Lincoln. One cathedral city to another.

A big moment of excitement in the Smith household yesterday as my Mother turns up clutching a copy of the local newspaper (Sunderland Echo). It appears that there is a picture of me in the paper taken at a recent keynote speech. Now this is a big big news! My mother and father are of a generation that relied on the local news paper as their main source of news (especially local news and obituaries/notifications of deaths) and to see their first born child featured in the paper is a big deal.

There are already heated discussions on getting the picture framed and whether the newspaper office will provide an original. I should point out that my mother has a picture of me (in the same newspaper) taken when I was in the boy scouts aged 12 which is still part of her collection.

So a temporary moment of local fame

Interesting that the article states that I’m the CEO of an environmental consultancy which is incorrect. Many years ago I did work for an environmental consultancy. It used to advertise itself as ‘multi-disciplinary’ consultancy which it was, in that it contained a number of different disciplines in the firm.

However, the interaction between the functions within the firm was minimal. Each function had its own box and it became clear, very early on, that the box you were in was where you would stay!

This to me seemed the very opposite of how the environment works and it was during my time at this firm that I discovered Fritjof Capras book, The Web of Life and this in turn led to deeper explorations in complex systems, which in turn led to writing on this blog. Amazing how these connections play out.

As I said I’m on my way to Lincoln where we are doing a very interesting project looking at interplay between the coastal economy of the county, rising sea levels and public perceptions of that risk. By the end of the project we will have used a range of techniques from ‘traditional’ econometric modelling through to ethnography (several weeks in Lincolnshire B&B’s!) in an attempt to get a rounded view on what is a genuine complex issue.

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