Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Humans have never dealt with nature's complexity..."

Allan Savory, on learning together:
"We have learning sites, where the boundaries are soft psychologically. We're all learning together because we don't have answers. We just have a way forward now, which is exciting. I am learning every day on our sites in Africa. So, it's a learning site and everybody comes to there to learn; nobody to demonstrate how clever that they are."

Allan Savory, on leadership:
"There is nobody at the helm. There is no leader. There is nobody going to lead you out of this and the leadership absolutely cannot come from any institution. It cannot come from a government, an international agency, a big NGO, a university. The leadership cannot come from an institution. The research shows you that because institutions are almost immune to new knowledge. The research shows you it can take anywhere up to 200 years to get new knowledge into an institution.

"...You're only going to get it from individuals. You are the leaders. You are. "If you want a better world, you start leading, you start getting involved..."
Savory's comments about institutions receiving knowledge reminded me of a bit from Nathaniel's Nutmeg, a book about early spice trades. It tells of how James Lancaster, merchant seaman in the early 17th century, issued sailors with containers of lemon juice and '...cured many of his men and preserved the rest.’
"How Lancaster stumbled upon the cure for scurvy remains a mystery; it may be that he noticed the spectacular recovery that men made as soon as they were able to add fresh fruit and vegetables to their diet of salted food. ...Tragically Lancaster’s cure was soon forgotten and more than 170 years were to pass before Captain Cook rediscovered the beneficial effects of citrus fruit in combating scurvy.
It took until 1795, well after Cook's death, before the Royal Navy accepted citrus fruits as a way to deal with scurvy.
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