Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time

April 3, 2020


Image for 'Surviving the Future: Conversation for Our Time' online course

This post is an invitation.

After the wonderful success of our rapidly-rearranged-to-online triple launch a fortnight ago – featuring Kate Raworth, Rob Hopkins and Caroline Lucas MP and now viewed over 25,000 times – we’d love you to join us to continue the conversation.

From Monday I will be leading Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time alongside Sterling College’s delightful Philip Ackerman-Leist, joined by Kate, Rob and further stars of The Sequel, as well as other compelling, internationally-renowned guests including Nate Hagens, Helena Norberg-Hodge and Richard Heinberg.

Enrolments are now open, and discounts/scholarships available to ensure that finances are no object to those who wish to join us in this precarious times.

I must say, I’m rather intrigued and excited to connect with you all in thinking through our times, and to see what emerges from these conversations.

Not least since this course represents just the first output of Sterling College’s new $1.5million EcoGather program grounded in David Fleming’s work! Our conversations and tentative conclusions will help to shape how that progresses over the coming years.

Photograph of the late Dr. David Fleming in an oak tree. By Henrik Dahle, 4th November 2010.

And of course, it’s a rather timely conversation, with us all stuck at home and rather more keenly pondering the shape of the future… not to mention Extinction Rebellion being so enamoured that they decided to livestream our film The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation? to all their followers twice over the past fortnight.

It feels quite a moment for David Fleming’s legacy, with his audience perhaps catching up to him only a decade after his sudden passing. The third newly-launched element is the new interactive and searchable Very useful when you want to track down that half-remembered quote! I’ll get another blog post out about that when time allows, but by all means have a play with that marvelous new resource in the meantime.

These are certainly busy days for me (I look at all the ‘bored quarantine’ memes with a sort of wistful amusement!), but it’s just amazing – and wonderful – to think that all of this has emerged from David’s efforts all those decades ago. And indeed mine when I sat down to craft Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy. We really had no idea…

The Butterfly Effect indeed!

Image: “Peasant Wedding Dance,” replica of a painting by Peter.Breugel I (1607). Via Wikimedia Commons

Shaun Chamberlin

In 2005 I quit my job to devote myself full-time to exploring the dominant cultural stories and ‘myths’ that chart the course for our society and, in particular, how we might change direction before we end up where we are headed. My various efforts since have been covered across the UK press, including by the BBCGuardianSunday TimesIndependent and Daily Express, as well as internationally by Time magazineBloomberg News and the Financial Times. Perhaps my proudest achievement is having shepherded the late David Fleming‘s extraordinary, award-winning Lean Logic and Surviving the Future to posthumous publication. In light of their ever-growing popularity, I taught the ‘Community, Place and Play: A Post-Market Economics‘ course at Schumacher College, was executive producer of 2020 film The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?, and now partner with Vermont’s Sterling College, both as consulting scholar on their EcoGather project and leading the groundbreaking online programme ‘Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time’. Meanwhile, putting the theory into practice, I am one of the six custodians of legendary free pub ‘The Happy Pig‘, and was involved with the Transition Network since its inception, leading to my co-founding Transition Town Kingston and authoring the movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline, back in 2009. I was one of the earliest Extinction Rebellion arrestees, and have previously served as chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative, a director of the campaigning organisation Global Justice NowChelsea Green Publishing‘s commissioning editor for the UK/Europe and an advisor to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, as well as co-authoring the All Party Parliamentary report into carbon rationing. My writing roams across social, political and spiritual themes, including popular explorations of collapse, energy and ecological issues, and has found homes from online platforms openDemocracyThe Oil Drum and The Huffington Post to print magazines such as TikkunSTIRThe EcologistThe LandKosmos and Resurgence, along with academic publications such as the Solutions and Carbon Management peer-reviewed journals (including the most-read paper in the history of the latter). Over the course of my work I have delivered presentations at venues ranging from community groupsRebellionsClimate Camps and Occupations to the London School of Economics, the UK and Scottish Parliaments and the European Commission, and been shortlisted for the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Environmental Campaigner Award as well as, locally, being named Kingston’s ‘Green Champion’ by the council and Kingston Guardian newspaper. I have also edited or contributed chapters to a diverse collection of books, from Grow Small, Think Beautiful (Floris Books), The Future We Deserve (PediaPress) and Low Impact Living Communities (Diggers & Dreamers) to What We Are Fighting For (Pluto Press), The Moneyless Manifesto (Permanent Publications) and two of the Dark Mountain books.

Tags: Activism, future