|Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
(projects i'm involved in)
(projects i'm following)
Thomas grew up in a farming family in a rural village located in the far south-east of Bavaria. While he fondly remembers spending a lot of time in is parents' workshop during his early years, he soon developed an unusually strong interest in the natural sciences, in particular in advanced theoretical methods as well as computational approaches. He first developed an awareness of deep problems with the way some of our crucially important supply systems work during the BSE crisis at the beginning of the 90s, but back then did not see any way to become active and do something constructive about the situation. When he first came across Permaculture, this immediately struck a chord with him, as this on many things came to very similar conclusions to those he had arrived at independently earlier on, but went so much further, and was eminently practical. Seeing that other people had thought about quite important things before and had come up with useful approaches, he started to look deeper into this, which turned out to be a rewarding exercise for more than one reason.
Thomas has advanced expertise across a number of scientific disciplines, which is deepest and perhaps of greatest utility to others in the fields of physics and computing - but he also knows a bit about chemistry, soil science, and botany, and is happy to share his expertise with others.
(Incidentally, he holds some academic degrees which others actually seem to take more serious than he does),
Permaculture and Private Life
Thomas and his family live a lifestyle that paradoxically is not as different from that of other city dwellers as to make it overly difficult to adopt, yet - upon a closer look - quite unconventional in many ways. For example, they neither own a car nor a television set, do not have a mortgage, get much of their food from growers using responsible methods, use a fraction of the electricity other households use (again from a responsible supplier), invest their money with an emphasis on making them ever less dependent on external suppliers, compost most of their waste (and some other compostable things as well), do not have a newspaper subscription, etc. While they still have not reached the final level of non-renewable resource consumption they plan to achieve, they are progressing in this direction and in doing so so far have inspired numerous friends and relatives to also become markedly more resource conscious and efficient.
In addition to his research and teaching "day job", Thomas regularly teaches compact courses for charitable organizations on a number of "common sense" topics which should be known more widely. (The last such course was a one-week 30-hour intensive summer course taught to a mixed group of quite capable students that was all about the question what food production methods one would arrive at if closing nutrient cycles and minimizing energy inputs are the primary objectives.) Two of his guiding objectives are to (a) help people to develop good judgment skills (much in need these days) and (b) to make commonsense solutions (incidentally often permaculture-related) accessible to professionals in various disciplines.
While having a natural sciences background, I am also especially interested in the question in which ways the human Ego "filters" potentially painful feedback - I want to both learn more about this phenomenon as well as raise wide awareness for this fundamental problem. Among the reasons why Gaillei and Darwin were attacked so fiercely, there certainly was the issue that their opponents' ego tried to protect itself from having to contemplate an idea that would marginalize its oh so special role. To a considerable extent, environmental problems seem to be related to the issue of the human ego constructing a flawed image ot itself. While this is of course related to the phenomenon of "denial", it has much wider consequences.
Is economics as it is done these days actually a science?
|Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
|Teacher: Chris Evans
|Location: Dorset, UK
|Date: Jan 2007