It was recently announced that Chuck Feeney, the Irish American former airport duty free shopping entrepreneur who was worth $8bn, had, at the age of 89, succeeded in his goal of giving away all of his money to initiatives working to make the world a better place. Every cent. He suggested that to give away a huge fortune was far more fun than holding onto it. He once wrote “to those wondering about giving while living .. try it, you’ll like it”.
Welcome to Episode 20 of From What If to What Next. This feels like a bit of a landmark for us, our twentieth episode! Thank you for joining me on this journey. Do tell your friends to come join us… Any reflections on how you’re finding the journey so far are most welcome. Seems like a good moment for that. The good news is that we have saved one of the very finest episodes to mark this moment.
For obvious reasons, my proposed tour of France, organised by the wonderful Sans Transition magazine for the last week of January and the first week of February was unable to go ahead. Gone were my long days on trains and dashing from place to place of previous tours, my sampling of exquisite local French beers, and meeting Transitioners and other activists from there. But instead, within the limits imposed by our inability to do it in person, it all shifted online, and it worked amazingly well.
I thought you might like enjoy the talk I gave recently at ORFC, an event I’ve always wanted to get along to but never managed. My talk was called ‘From What If to What Next: Why We Need to Cultivate Imagination Alongside Agricultural Produce’. I hope you enjoy it.
I recently read a brilliant article by Drucilla Cornell and Stephen D. Seely, called ‘What has happened to the public imagination, and why?’. I found it so insightful, and such a powerful take on what the public imagination is and why it matters, that I wrote to Drucilla to ask if we might be able to have a chat about it, and she agreed. Drucilla is a professor of law, women’s studies and political science at Rutgers University. Our conversation covered so much ground, and was so rich and delightful, that I publish it here in its entirety.
By now, in this journey into ‘From What If to What Next’, it is clear that one of the key things in our world in 2021 that needs reimagining is our education system. In this episode, we explore how it might be if at the heart of that reimagining were permaculture principles. How would the […]
Welcome to our first episode of 2021! We are planning an amazing series of podcasts for this year, and we hope you are enjoying them. Do consider subscribing here to enable us to continue making them. In today’s episode we bring together Josina Calliste, a health professional and community organiser who is one of the co-founders of Land in Our Names (LION), a black-led collective addressing land inequalities affecting black people and people of colour’s ability to farm and grow food in Britain, and Chris Smaje, author of the book ‘A Small Farm Future’ and the brilliant blog of the same name.
Of all the 17 episodes of this podcast so far, this is the one that I had to go off somewhere quiet afterwards for a while to digest. It is a very powerful and fascinating discussion. My two guests are extraordinary, and I feel so blessed that they could make the time to join me in this wonderful What If exploration.
In Episode 16 of ‘From What If to What Next’ we explore the question of play. Play is a devalued aspect of both childhood and adulthood which has been declining now for decades, and its decline has had many knock-on effects across society. What would it be like if we decided to give it a huge boost, to create the ideal conditions for a re-emergence of play across education, economics, planning, and so much more? What might that look like?
In this podcast we explore how different the future would be if we were to cultivate a culture of better understanding and loving weeds. How would it affect the world around us, and how would it affect us? And how does the way we talk about that dazzling diversity of plants that we dismiss as ‘weeds’ give insights to how many people ‘other’ groups of people such as immigrants? What does our attitude to weeds tell us about ourselves?
One of the things I love most on my ‘From What If to What Next’ podcast is stories of people bringing imagination to their activism, of impactful, thought-provoking projects that engage our imagination and our playfulness. One of the very best examples of this that we’ve ever seen is The Bank Job in Walthamstow, London, the work of printmaker Hilary Powell and filmmaker Dan Edelstyn, once described as “an act of generosity rare in the art world”.