Having got the sustainability bug at the age of eight, Simon Goldsmith set about trying to influence people to act more responsibility to one another and to our planet. He has enjoyed working in this field for over 18 years in a range of organisations of many sizes and with many challenges and also great solutions. Simon enjoys helping people and organisations grasp the potential that committing to a sustainable vision can unleash, clarifying what sustainability means and how we can achieve it co-creatively. He has worked introducing sustainability strategies within organisations and has lectured Masters students on strategic sustainability to universities in London. Simon has also undertaken international research projects that could potentially unleash huge engagement on the subject area. He recognizes that there are many ways to engage people on sustainability and have created successful means to do so. These include designing sustainability programming for the Hub Kings Cross and its wider community and has also helped create community based garden project that illustrates, in creative and natural ways, how societies are connected directly to nature and how we grow food that can build resilient and sustainable communities.
?!X: What’s the Future You Choose?
SG: The Future I Choose is the one in which we live happily with the environmental and social constraints of our planet. The future is sculpted by our hands today. Our shared future should be something we all contribute to, one that reflects the values and aspirations of all, not the few. We need first to reflect upon what those values are. If we did then I’m sure we will have key elements in common: love, happiness, fairness, understanding, fulfillment, security, the space to learn, the time to enjoy are a few of these. Currently we are driving headlong towards a societal and environmental precipice as we are told the values we should believe in; consumption will make us happy, individualism is liberty etc. Instead by understanding the people and the world we share we will soon re-evaluate our lives, how we live them, our connections and relationships with others and develop a care for our fragile planet that provides for so man of our fundamental needs. The future I chose to co-create and share is one that is infinite, aligned with meeting all of our human needs whilst protecting the wonderful gift of nature we have inherited.
?!X: What’s a ‘think’ to create this future?
SG: In 2007 I had the opportunity to travel to a small town on the South East coast of Sweden to study a Masters course that was founded in a framework that could help us achieve sustainability on a personal, community, organisational and global scale. Called the ‘Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD)’ (aka The Natural Step) I, for the first time, truly ‘got’ sustainability especially how to properly define it in a way that actions can be taken to actually achieve it. If we’re going to be sustainable then we need a pretty amazing framework to follow. I believe the FSSD is based on sufficient scientific foundations and is proven to deliver. We now need to get the world to wake up, listen and apply it. It won’t happen by itself.
?!X: What’s an ‘act’ to create the future you choose?
SG: Turn off the TV, step away from your laptop and take time to look, listen, feel, smell and enjoy the world around you. Unless we connect with our communities and the world we share we won’t value and understand them. We wont take the time to realise how important they are. We will lose them. Once we empathise with the world then we can understand what we all need to create the future we all want to share. This takes time to listen learn, test and act to begin the process of creating that world. The acts are to be open, to listen (and not judge), to engage, to learn, reflect and share.
?!X: What’s a ‘vote’ to create the future you choose?
SG: Sustainability is something that the global population has to understand and embrace if it is to achieve future success. The course I studied in Sweden is highly international in its student make up. The Swedish state pays tuition fees for EU citizens but sadly no longer those from beyond Europe. Alumni have set up a programme for people to donate to provide grants to such students to study the course. If you can donate, any amount would be great, then please do.
?!X: Future Soundtrack – What song would you take with you into the future?
SG: Jimmi Cliff – Wonderful World Beautiful People
?!X: Can you share with us up to 5 weblinks that you find interesting and inspiring?
Follow Simon on Twitter @Simontgoldsmith
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