Seasonal Greetings

Realising potential

May I wish everyone who reads this message good wishes for 2016. It seems appropriate this New Year to depart from the usual welcome (but use the link if you want to skip these comments) until Candlemas because that date is not only traditionally considered the middle of winter in Britain and northern Europe but will also be the day I celebrate my seventieth birthday.

Especially at this time I do not wish to sound too self-indulgent because I am aware that there are people in several parts of the world, including places not far away that I once used to visit regularly, who are struggling to cope with the damage done by extremes of weather. For people who have lost their home, the prospects for the new year must seem anything but good.

One of the themes that I seek to highlight in the papers that can be found listed in ‘Sustain‘ is that using money as the principal economic measuring tool does not reveal the actions that need to be taken to achieve sustainability. Watching the way we clean up after a flood illustrates the problem. Damaged goods are described as being piled up awaiting disposal, as if that has no impact on the environment we live in. Pumps and dehumidifiers are used to drain and dry water soaked premises, regardless of the energy they use. However, perhaps the most distorted outcome is that the monetary value of replacement and repair actual appears to provide a positive increase to the National Income because the cost of the damage is not factored into calculations. The truth understood by everyone affected is that the climate can and does cause economic disruption and personal hardship and mistakes made in the immediate aftermath can increase the chance of it happening again. Therefore, we need new measuring tools that can help us to make better and more appropriate decisions, as I say in ‘Accounting for sustainability‘.

I am currently reading ‘Infinite Potential’, by Lothar Schafer, which is sub-titled ‘What Quantum Physics reveals about how we should live’. This book explains what science has discovered when we look at the sub-atomic world that everything is made of. It is a curious fact that when we look at the ‘Big Picture‘, important as that is in helping us construct our goals, we can get an illusion of precision and solidity, whereas the surprising truth is that we actually live in a world of probability and potential. In some ways scientific discovery is perhaps taking us closer to a better understanding of the eternal world of the spirit.

Thus my wish for us all is that we can be brave and open enough to realise our potential.

Paul Newman
January 2016

About Paul Newman

Paul Newman BSc (Sociology), DMS, MA (Sustainable Development) worked for the Government for thirty years mostly on projects seeking to develop the UK Economy and has also been employed as a part-time lecturer, invigilator, events organiser and as a consultant on sustainable development projects. He became a member of the voluntary group Sustainable Staffordshire in 1997 and subsequently served as first a Vice-Chair then Chair for a four year term, during this time he also became a volunteer and then a trustee of the Community Council of Staffordshire, which he continued to support as a member of its Board of Directors until its closure in 2018. He has also served three terms as a Councillor for Swynnterton Parish, been a trustee of Hanchurch Village Hall and member of Trentham PCC.
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