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Alan Moore.

LIVING BEAUTIFULLY


Living Beautifully by beautiful.business is a regular newsletter to share and inspire a different way of looking at the world. What would our world look like were we all to make it a little more beautiful?

01. Beautiful Conversations

Bryan Doerries is co-founder of Theater of War Productions. I tuned in via the gift of serendipity whilst driving. What Bryan had to say arrested my attention I became reflective.

There is a reason the Greeks invented plays about tragedy and suffering - theatre performed to collective audiences in the ampitheatre. These plays are a means to transcend human tragedy to heal and are still very relevant today. To discover why, listen in.
 

How can technology support human collaboration in the quest for more circular cities?

Circular cities are not new as a design model; as a shape they are 2,600 years old. Listen in to this engaging, deep dive conversation.

02. Beautifully Made

The unassuming Shimada Gama workshop in Gotsu doubles up as an open-air museum of traditional stoneware pottery. It specialises in creating large pieces that are burnt in a sloped wood-fired kiln. In this interview 73-year-old master Shimada Takayuki talks about the challenges of passing the rare skill and aesthetic sensibility down to his son and grandson.
 

Julia Watson is an architect and the author of Lo-TEK, Design by Radical Indigenism, a book about using Indigenous technologies to design a sustainable future. She is a lecturer at Columbia University's School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and she has previously taught at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, as well as the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's School of Architecture. She speaks about how to build a resilient future using ancient wisdom.
 
Redefining the human: What is the value of design research beyond humanity? By Magdalena Obmalko. A thoughtful piece in reframing what we make and why.
 
Fibershed is a non-profit organization that develops regional and regenerative fiber systems on behalf of independent working producers, by expanding opportunities to implement carbon farming, forming catalytic foundations to rebuild regional manufacturing, and through connecting end-users to farms and ranches through public education.
 
Mark Miodownik is the UCL professor of materials & society and a director of the UCL Institute of Making. Mark speaks about animate materials, the near-future and how material technology combined with automation, AI and biotechnology could transform the way we live. This fascinating conversation is definitely worth a listen, even if you don't think you are interested in material technology, you will be after this.

Mark has recently co-chaired a working group that has delivered a fascinating, and far reaching, report for the Royal Society, entitled Animate Materials.
The Coast - Skip Armstrong

03. Beautifully Restorative

Borderlands. The bridge between two worlds. Where the known meets mystery. Trading the city for the daily sting of salt water on his skin, Hayden Peters reveals how life on the coast brings him balance like no other place on earth could.
 

Pleins for People: The Reclamation of Amsterdam's Squares. Amsterdam was not always so bike friendly. Restoration as activism.
 

Tom Szaky the man on a mission to recycle everything – via FastCompany.
West Africa

04. Beautifully Built

Winners of the Pritzker Architecture Prize 2021 Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal. Here they speak about their work in Niger. What actually is architecture, and who does it serve?
 

‘A petri dish for innovation’: how 10 years of Turner Contemporary have impacted Margate. It has staged exhibitions from Grayson Perry and Ai Weiwei to Rodin and attracted millions of visitors. But a decade on, what effect has Turner Contemporary had on the seaside town? Via the Guardian.
 
Explore House, to me, Urbansplash are offering something important – a big rethink of how we live, how we create a quality of life and a quality of community, rather than asking how much money can we make?

05. Beautiful Reads

Finding the Mother Tree – Suzanne Simard

Simard’s astounding research into the little-known habits of trees came to global attention in 1997, when her paper on the relationship between trees and mycorrhizal networks was published in the science journal Nature with the title: “The Wood-Wide Web”. A prescient description, as it turned out. ‘Mother Trees’ operating model: sharing and generosity.

Finding the Mother Tree, published in North America under the Knopf imprint, reviewed here in Scientific American.
 

Medium Design. Knowing How to Work on the World – Keller Easterling

How do we formulate alternative approaches to the world’s unresponsive or intractable dilemmas—from climate cataclysm to inequality to concentrations of authoritarian power? Easterling argues that the search for solutions is a mistake. Instead, she offers the perspective of medium design, one that considers not only separate objects, ideas and events but also the space between them.

06. Beautiful Food

How a farmer turned 90 acres of wasteland into a lush green forest in Odisha. In 1988, Sabarmatee and her father Radhamohan bought an acre of degraded land in Nayagarh district of Odisha. They wanted to set up an experiment to see how a forest might flourish using organic techniques. Organic farming was not widespread in India at that time, therefore they had to rely on trial and error. But over time their efforts succeeded and after nearly three decades their one acre has grown to 90 acres and with a lush forest cover.
 

Jake Takiff is part of a trend towards ‘regenerative’ farming, a more environmentally and economically sustainable model of managing the land. Regenerative farming prioritises soil health, biodiversity and ecological restoration, and forgoes most conventional industrial agriculture practices, including pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, or feeding pigs and cows genetically modified food.

W.S.Merwin - trailer

07. Beautiful Experiences

Even Though the Whole World is Burning, a documentary film about poet laureate W.S. Merwin who won almost every major poetry prize that exists, including two Pulitzers. His legacy is based not only upon his writings, however, but also the singular form of environmental activism and land stewardship he embodies.

A Mile in My Shoes from the Empathy Museum a series of participatory art projects dedicated to helping us look at the world through other people’s eyes.

With a focus on storytelling and dialogue, the travelling museum explores how empathy can not only transform our personal relationships, but also help tackle global challenges such as prejudice, conflict and inequality.

08. Beautiful Insights


Build Back Stronger. Drawing on the contributions of over 50,000 citizens, the landmark report of Renew Normal: the People’s Commission on Life After Covid-19 says that without radical reform to build a stronger, more resilient, and more united nation, the UK risks never recovering from the huge social and economic impact of the pandemic. DEMOS
 
How do we make our economies fit for the future, and can we move beyond GDP? A research project at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge, makes the urgent case to develop better metrics of social and natural assets.
 
The End of the Corporation? It’s time to make the profit-maximising, shareholder-controlled corporation obsolete – via Long Reads.
 
Behind the buzz of ESG investing, a focus on tech giants and no regulation – via Mongabay.
 
Meet the Briton leading a Tesla rival who wants to save the planet. Peter Rawlinson says Lucid, which is about to list for $24bn, has drawn interest from big carmakers - via The Guardian.
 
Is there a way to make capitalism fairer? Economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee in conversation discussinng potential ways forward – via London Business School.
 
Why we should be data conscious not data driven. Thoughtful piece on values.
 
The Politics of the Anthropocene by Duncan Kelly, Boston Review.
 
How AI could revolutionize biology — and vice versa. Melding AI and biology may not just be another tool for understanding medicine. Biology could be a driver for the next generation of advances in machine learning. Via Axios.
 
Is consciousness everywhere? Experience is in unexpected places, including in all animals, large and small, and perhaps even in brute matter itself. Via MIT Press Reader.
 
The struggle for sustainable energy will soon put China, the US and Europe on a geopolitical collision course. But moving away from fossil fuels is a Herculean task, and a greener politics will not transcend tragedy. Helen Thompson via Engelsberg Ideas.
 
The State of Nature Report from The National Biodiversity Network - download.
 
As extreme weather batters America’s Farm Country, costing billions, banks ignore the financial risks of climate change. The effects on agriculture of more frequent and intense natural disasters could overwhelm lenders, destabilize the food supply and disrupt the global economy. Via Inside Climate News.
 
How Dirt Could Help Save the Planet. Farming practices that retain carbon in the soil, or return it there, would limit both erosion and climate change. Via Scientific American. 

The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.
 
In a world first, New Zealand to make banks report climate impact. New Zealand will force banks to reveal the impact their investments have on climate change under world-first legislation intended to make the financial sector's environmental record transparent. Via Reuters.
Road to Vrindavan

09. Beautiful Leadership

A powerful story of Ravinol Chambers' journey across India in a tuk-tuk, interviewing young girls about their aspirations for a quality education.

I’d highly recommend you take a look and it will change your perspectives on the importance of education for girls not just in India, but around the world.
 

Toto Wolff is Team Principal & CEO of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. In this podcast he speaks about running a high performance team, through creating a space of psychological safety, that empathy is more important than engineering. You may not be in F1, I’m not, but I am fascinated in cultures which enable people and a business / organisation to thrive consistently.
 
In August of 2020 BrewDog became the world’s first carbon negative beer business. They say: "As well as over £50m of investments in reducing our environmental impact, we are also removing twice as much carbon as we emit every year, forever". Leadership as activism.
Do Build. How to make and lead a business the world needs

10. Beautiful News

There has been an amazing response to the publication of Do Build. Thank you everyone who has sent messages of support, and encouragement.

Owners of several companies - high tech, design, architecture, education, manufacturing - tell me they are using Do Build as a manual in helping them rethink and reimagine their business, business culture, and decision making. Which is wonderful.

Do Build is part of a much bigger project and we are already running our immersive six-part programme

If you are interested and would like an interview contact us hello@beautiful.business.
Beautiful Businesses are the future, find out why, through my bookslearning experiences, mentoring and talks.
 

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