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There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth: only crew. --Marshall McLuhan

Last Build Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:44:58 +0000


The Power of Story

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 09:57:35 +0000

The forest is bathed in moonlight, thick with the scent of pine, and alive with the crackle and ketchup smell of oak ablaze in a circle of stones, the sparks flying up into the night sky to create temporary constellations.  Mister Fox takes an apple, runs a stick through its core, and holds it out … Continue reading "The Power of Story"

Activist communication traps: Reinforcing the “Descriptive Norm”

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:19:08 +0000

“No way you humans ought to be the dominant species on this planet,” says Mister Fox, sizing us up. “By forest standards, you’re weak, you can’t see much or hear very well, your teeth are better suited to cookies than combat, and your claws are a joke — other than that Wolverine fellow. But you’ve … Continue reading "Activist communication traps: Reinforcing the “Descriptive Norm”"

Outfoxing Trump: A Story

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 13:50:11 +0000

Mister Fox popped a blueberry into the air and pointed his whiskers skyward. I was trying to explain the US election to him. “So what was the happy ending that Occupy, Clinton, and Bernie were promising?” he asked, munching on the caught blueberry. “What do you mean,” I responded, grabbing in midair the next blueberry … Continue reading "Outfoxing Trump: A Story"

Avoiding Filter Bubbles, Tribes, and the Backfire Effect

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:26:56 +0000

One Saturday in 1983 I was out canvassing for Greenpeace. I knocked on the door of a mansion in Marblehead, Massachusetts and braced for the worst. I didn’t like the look of this place. Canvass long enough, and you’re able to do an instant visual demographic prediction of who is going to open the door, and how likely … Continue reading "Avoiding Filter Bubbles, Tribes, and the Backfire Effect"

Tribes, Filter Bubbles, and the Backfire Effect

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 16:34:30 +0000

Why do otherwise rational people, confronted with facts that contradict their deepest presumptions and world view, generally reject those facts rather than revise their world view? Hint: the answer has something to do with storytelling. The latest US political clown-car adventure into the looking-glass world of “Alternative Facts” may have thrown a spotlight on how … Continue reading "Tribes, Filter Bubbles, and the Backfire Effect"

Change the Story, Change the World: A day of training

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 21:00:49 +0000

I ran this day-long course last year twice, in Oxford and Berlin, and absolutely had a blast. It attracted a fine group of troublemakers from a  wide spectrum of world-changing organisations: the Bible Society (“Everyone backs away when I say who I work for…”), ActionAid, Four Paws, Campact, the Transnational Institute, Greenpeace, the World Future … Continue reading "Change the Story, Change the World: A day of training"

The Moon Candy Rebellion

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 01:08:55 +0000

I was invited by storyteller Simon Hodges to share a story tonight at his extraordinary every-4-weeks gathering in Amsterdam. There were some wonderful tales, magical myths, and fabulous yarns. I read The Moon Candy Rebellion for the first time to an audience that wasn’t a roomful of activists, and I couldn’t have asked for a … Continue reading "The Moon Candy Rebellion"

Thanks, TEDx Amsterdam

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 18:47:09 +0000

I want to live in a world that’s more like the TEDx event in Amsterdam. A place bubbling with optimism and enthusiasm and good ideas and beautiful people and the buzz of human connection. I loved everything about this year’s event, from the theme of #NewPower (Hat Tip: Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms) to the … Continue reading "Thanks, TEDx Amsterdam"

The American election was a referendum on systems change.

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 11:30:21 +0000

    My heart breaks for my homeland. My heart goes out to friends who have felt the hate of bigotry and misogyny and now feel the sting of further marginalisation. My heart fears for a future in which America rolls back decades of progress on the environment and social justice. And my heart freezes … Continue reading "The American election was a referendum on systems change."

Add a cup of story, salt to taste.

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 08:14:00 +0000

Sometime back in the waning days of the last century, the Greenpeace information technology department was standardizing all staff’s email signatures to a horrible piece of text from a mission statement the organisation had written by committee, agreed by consensus, and promptly buried in that darkest recess of any NGO website, the governance section of … Continue reading "Add a cup of story, salt to taste."