Futures Forum: Sidmouth Tree Summit >>> Friday 27th November
... opened with a fascinating personal view of trees from polymath Steve Potter:
Mmmmm i can smell the retsina and wild herb fragranced air, feel the afternoon heat rubbing itself into my tannin-soaked salted skin as i walk through the timeless grove to the Oracle. The sounds of gulls and the warm Thracian sea call to my spirit, grateful that Neptune accepted my offerings for a safe sailing across His mighty Back.
Beneath my feet the leaves paid to Chronos lie thick with promises renewed, as I will be when the Lady cries out to me as she did to my sister... my sweet sister whose rose had never before borne fruit, even though she is wed to a man of Mars. May my mind bear fruit also; may my offering be worthy to Olivia the Great and Wise; may She make my mind a fertile garden for Her Seed.
I don't know who they think they have in Ea'rus, or Athens, for their groves would be as wondrous as the Pelepon had Olivia truly Blessed them. Their time will come though, when She finds them worthy I pray, and we can live in peace as brothers and sisters of the Tree, and play in Her Garden without fear.
Ah, the nymphs call me forward, and for the hundredth time I feel the strip of hem from my robe which I will tie to the tree with the strands of my thick oily hair grown lush from Her Bounty, before I submit myself to Her mage. May I be worthy to receive the sacred libations, spread upon the Table before Olivia, our Love, our dark and glorious Passion, whose Cup pours forth Wisdoms beyond measure.
four pictures ...
An ancient specimen, gnarled n twisty
A young straight specimen
An aerial shot of a grove
Harvest scene with nets (and beating sticks?)
Sidmouth Arboretum - News
This is an overview about Steve - and what to expect this evening at Kennaway House as part of Climate Week:
OPENING/CLOSING COMMENT @ THE CLIMATE VARIETY SHOW
STEVE POTTER: POLMATH
Steve's bio in the programme barely covers all the things he's done in his super-multitasking life. He's a polymath analyst specialising in global change, a prodigal who came back from the London of his birth - via 36 countries - to be near Exeter, his alma mater. He's a multi-expert corporate visionary who came up the hard way - converting disadvantage to advantage while teaching others to do the same inside and outside the corporation, and on the street.
If he would change the climate though, would he start from here?
Steve is a polymath theoretician, analyst and carer specialising in change. His main career was in healthcare with GlaxoSmithKline, where he was promoted twelve times in twenty-five years. He had a variety of expert roles in topics from wound management to antivirals, AIDS and vaccines. Later, he specialised in process improvement in the international clinical, project planning and human resources areas, and led side-projects in document management, efficiency and cost-effectiveness programmes aimed at helping GSK and the healthcare industry to get better medicines to patients faster.
In his spare time over the last 46 years, he has counselled or mentored around 40,000 people in life skills as well as business management. Many of those people had histories of mental or physical illness, debt, suicide, abuse, homelessness, addiction and/or chronic illness. Some he befriended long term and continued to mentor for decades, applying his management skills and medical knowledge at the individual level.
As someone born in a council house to a violent ex-army dad, he's been well able to aid to victims of the dark side of human society across thirty countries as an army of one. His last role in GSK reflects the business side of his skill set, when he was a director of global change programmes - a corporate "Wizard" that the board "clicked" on when it wanted to make major upgrades to its operating systems and software worldwide - its people and its IT... and even his job title resembled an internet address!
Every time you open a pack of medicines and pull out the leaflet, you'll see some of the words which he contributed to the first model text - still in common use internationally. He has a degree in zoology from Exeter, and an MBA from Warwick. He has presented at twenty international conferences on IT, regulatory, management and scientific topics. He's a transhumanist and is passionate about the future of all species, as well as his protégés, his dog, his writings, ancient history, archaeology - and Sidmouth.
With a little more on trees from Steve last year:
As the AGM discussed, trees have a range of values and in archaeology it is not always plain which were the values of the moment in a particular place or time.
Napoleon famously built military roads lined with trees to shade his troops from the sun. Yet climate changes, and I recall the Sidmouth Red Guide of 1966 notes that Sidmouth was often several degrees Fahrenheit warmer than Greenwich in winter and drew those with city malaise (smoke inhalation and the diseases of close habitation) to the clean air and restfuness of a climate where pneumonia and fatal 'chills' (no antibiotics at this time) would be less likely.
The Guide also notes that Sidmouth's temperature compared favourably to the French Riviera, but when temperatures of the early 19th century were quoted they were in the 60's rather than 70’s. As well as Londoners, direct train services in the 1960’s also brought folk from Cleethorpes and Derby. Sidmouth was once the Torbay of the SW in fact, and we should very seriously ask ourselves why it had such an extraordinary image.
We still have a special word for a tree-lined street of course - avenue, itself being derived from a French expression which we might interpret as 'to the venue'.
We value those avenues highly in cities, though rural folk may perceive them simply as bringing the local environment into the community. In warmer climes like Nice and Cannes imported palms have come to flourish and add a touch of the exotic. There was devastation in two recent winters when those lining La Croissette were killed by freak frosts and snow. A similar event due to a Mount St Helens style premature winter caused by Etna or Stromboli may explain the drastic climate change which obliged the ancient Judeans to start performing seasonal migrations to the Nile Delta perhaps. Yet they valued the lily (fleur-de-lys) highly, and were still valuing the spirit of the olive which gave light in the darkness in post-Christian times. Both of these were feminine elements…
Yet across Europe and via Europeans to places as far as Los Angeles and elsewhere humans have exported the value of a tree lined street, and I asked myself the derivation of the word 'boulevard' thinking it might reflect a boules-alley association perhaps.
But no; it is derived from bastion, or fortress, and as trees would have given an enemy cover from defenders' arrows I deduce that the implication is a palisade, a shelter from harm imbued with divine essence and beneficence. END