I’m a writer, photographer and professional consultant specialising in sustainable futures and slow travel. There are lots of dimensions to my work, but they mainly focus on the ways we, all of us, are connected to the rest of the natural world, for better or worse.
I’m a great believer that we all have capacities to be actively engaged in looking for better futures through understanding the shape of these connections. If we understand these, we can develop a fuller understanding of options for sustainable futures and how to achieve them through things like slow travel.
I’ve been really fortunate. I’ve worked with many extraordinary women, men, young people, organisations and communities who have shared similar ideas and philosophies. Without exception, their work reminds us of the importance of good will, cooperation, equity and actions ‘on the ground’ and the roles we can all play.
A bit about me
I’ve been a walker, cyclist, canoeist and camper for a lot of years now – long enough to remember the pain of walking with external frame rucksacks. I still have scars on my hips to prove it I’m sure. (For those of you who have never heard of external frame rucksacks, do a quick web search.)
My first hiking tent weighed in at about 5 kg if my memory serves me correctly. It was ‘A’ frame and the fly went on separately to the inner. When the tent went up in the rain, invariably the inside was wet before the fly got on.
Wet weather gear consisted of Japara rain jackets and Gore-Tex was some glint in someone’s laboratory. I was absolutely rapt when I bought my first geared bike – a 3-gear Repco which made contours ever-so-slightly easier.
And there is no way I’m going to say ‘Ahh.Those were the days’. Things improve, technology has made walking, cycling and paddling easier, safer and more comfortable. But I remain a fan of the essence of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s famous saying on design (possibly roughly quoted):
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
For me, the activities of walking/trekking, cycling and paddling allow us to know more about the landscapes we travel through. This is partly why I’m so keen on reflection – it allows us to to make the most of all this and moves us away from bucket-lists of things to tick off.
These activities and the sheer enjoyment of being out in wild and not-so-wild places have led very specifically to my professional life focused on communities and their search for sustainable futures. Because communities are parts of landscapes, this has taken me to work on all kinds of issues and in all kinds of landscapes – national parks, wildlife and endangered species protection, tourism, world heritage, collectives, fishers, nomadic herders, the Himalayas, forests.
So there was a very obvious pathway from my outdoor activities to a desire to work in a field that supported the sustainability of those very outdoors. And as a social scientist, my beginning point is with people – you and I and others – and our role in this.
I usually live in Northeast Victoria, in Australia. Not far from the Australian Alps, this is a place near mountain, river, agricultural and engineering landscapes that have etched themselves in Australia’s consciousness and identity. My city is on the iconic Murray river, which is under increasing threat. Within a couple of hours drive, the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme tells a story of industrial development. More recently, the debates over cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park remind us of conflicts between conservation and human use.
Currently I’m based in Delhi, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh because I’m working with an international conservation organisation on a project focused on cooperative systems for jointly managing shared ecosystems. It’s a big thing, but I get to meet extraordinary women and men doing amazing things, I get to see what differences people can make and I get to support a project which is supporting them.
I am extremely fortunate…
Images, slow travel and engagement with actions for sustainable futures are all part of me – the very human dimensions to sustainable futures that we all can engage with, and become part of.
Let’s see where our paths can cross? If you’d like to catch up:
- email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Skype me at brian.furze
- follow me on twitter: @brianfurze
It will be great to hear from you!