Yesterday I went down to Sydney and took the ferry across to Manly to meet a philanthropist. On the ferry I happened to sit next to a woman with two children. We struck up a conversation, and it turned out she was from Campbelltown south-west of Sydney.

I admit to some stereotyping. Frankly, I assumed that she would not be very interested or knowledgeable about the environment. Nevertheless, when I learned that she liked going to the beach I pulled out one of the Tabletop Presentations The case that we are in an ecological emergency cards – the one on ocean acidification.

She scanned it, and immediately saw the connections. She said, “This is scary.” She expressed the opinion that many people should become aware of this. She also had a view that people feel helpless, so she did not hold out much prospect for change. In

between a bit of small talk and her attending to her kids I said a bit more about Be The Change and Inspiring Transition. She became quite interested when I showed her the Big picture drivers of environmental destruction model; it made sense to her.

As we approached Manly wharf I gave her my card and invited her to go to the Inspiring Transition website and equip herself to be a thinking catalyst using our communication tools. She actually lit up when I suggested that she send me an email so I would know what was going on if she actually did conduct a conversation with someone.

I do not have a high expectation that she will actually follow through. However, she now has an image of transitioning to a life-sustaining society.

The conversation with the philanthropist went well. Early on I asked how we should proceed, and he said, “Just present me your models, so I get your thinking first hand.” Of course there were various points of discussion, including appreciation of the idea of doing a ‘systems analysis’ of what is needed before immediately jumping into action.

Part way through he asked, “What do you want from me?” I replied that I wanted him as an active co-participant in Inspiring Transition (I commented that I ask this of everyone I talk with about Inspiring Transition).

He liked the models and the overall approach (engage thousands of organisations as thinking catalysts) very much, and will take it back to his Board. He was appreciative that Be The Change has DGR status.

After all that serious conversation I offered to tell a joke. It is one of my favourites.

A bright young monk is assigned copying manuscripts along with the other young monks.

Being bright it occurs to him that he is copying a copy of a copy... and there could be an error in transmission.

"Oh yes, my son," agrees the senior monk, "There could be an error in transmission. As it happens, I have the original manuscript down below in the vault. I will just take this copy down and check it.

The young monks expected the old man to be back in 15 or 20 minutes. But an hour passes, and no old man. An hour and 15 minutes - and no old man.

Consumed with curiosity, the monks all trooped down into the vault. There at the great oak table, with the candle throwing light on the book, and the copied manuscript beside it, was the old man hitting his head and exclaiming, "The word was CELEBRATE."

He cracked up!

We were in a corner cafe. I had pumpkin soup; he had just a cheese and tomato sandwich. As we left I said, “You are the one with the money, but how about I treat you this time.”

On the way home I drafted an email to Margaret Throsby (ABC Classic midday program) suggesting that she interview Geoff Mosley, former CEO of The Australian Conservation Foundation, on transitioning to a steady state economy. His book Steady State is a gem, and it is timely given that COP21 is coming right up.

Cheers,

Andrew

We are in a great transition to a life-sustaining future!