Posted by on September 13, 2017


There is mist on the river in the mornings now, the blackberries are ripening and I am getting that back to school feeling. On the 1YT front, places are being allocated and bursaries getting snapped up. Teaching plans are firming up for the first meet-up in October (16th to 21st) and all kinds of talent and offers are stepping into this space. The buzz getting louder and I am excited to anticipate the group forming.

Shaun Chamberlain, who worked closely with the radical economist David Fleming and brought his writings into publication after David died, has sent me a copy of Surviving the Future to read. This comes with the great offer that each student of 1YT in the 2017-18 year is given a free copy and that Shaun leads us in a seminar to get into this ground-breaking work. I only met David Fleming once, at the complexity seminar at the London School of Economics. His presentation on the Lean Economy and Tradable Energy Quotas was a tour de force. We knew that, but most of us were left feeling puzzled as to what to take from it as he was so far ahead of the curve. On the page however his logic shines through.


David Fleming’s brilliance in assessing the kind of future we are facing, and the appropriate responses for humanity, is a kind of balm for the soul. I have been dipping into his magnum opus Lean Logic over the summer as an antidote to two depressing on-line articles on the collapse of human civilisation alongside climate catastrophe, species extinction and an uninhabitable world. (I’m not putting the links here! Ask me if you want them.) I found myself plunged into despair, hope draining from me, unable to function. I couldn’t un-know what I had come to know.

How could I step up to the mark and take action with the stakes raised yet again? In that muddle of metaphors I began to find a kind of clarity. I kept coming across quotes about finding joy in the midst of struggle, celebrating life, having gratitude for being alive right now. My sense of humour began to return and a remembering that nothing is fixed. Not the structures of the world we live in nor our assumptions about the future. The best hope we have is in being profoundly human. By that I mean the best of being human: bringing our humanity, creativity, imagination and purpose to the fore. Turning outwards into the world rather than shutting down.

If you come and join us on 1YT you will find that is the journey we go on together. We learn together, study, and ask questions about the world we live in and the future. We turn ideas inside out and upside down and have a laugh. But none of that is any use unless you are able to get connected to your purpose in being alive, your vital spark, your mojo. 1YT is here to light that flame in your being so you can go out into the world and celebrate.

I leave you with my current favourite quote from one of my favourite elders:
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” Wendell Berry

Very good wishes to you
Isabel Carlisle

To arrange an informal interview contact Isabel Carlisle at

The image of David Fleming is courtesy of Beth Stratford

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