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Saturday 9th February 2013
World Economic Forum Insights - Building Resilient Supply Chains
Contributor: Will Bugler

After two years of research, Accenture and the World Economic Forum released a new influential report to help organizations drive improvements in global trade and economic development. In this video Jonathan Wright, Managing Director ASEAN, Accenture discusses the vulnerability in today's global supply chains that have recently been exposed. He also discusses the four areas of the blueprint which is the key output of the report. 

Learn more about the research - http://bit.ly/SKRiUQ

In addition, Accenture's point of view on Dynamic Operations highlights organizational capabilities that can make supply chains more resilient to potential disruptions. 

Learn more about the point of view --http://www.accenture.com/dynamic

Friday 1st February 2013
British Red Cross to host conference on resilience in April
Contributor: Will Bugler

The British Red Cross will be hosting its first Resilience conference in London on the 11th April 2013.

Here's more on what's in store:

"How do individuals, households, communities and organisations become resilient? What enables people to prevent, prepare for, recover from and transcend crises? What builds a vibrant and healthy society? Do we know what works and what does not? Are you interested in exploring these questions? We are!

The British Red Cross has been engaged in discussions on these issues for some time. We work with individuals and communities who are in, or susceptible to, crises -from providing care in the home to individuals, to supporting flooded communities, to working with destitute asylum seekers. Many organisations work at the local level putting resilience building into practice. We'd like to connect conversations, share approaches and learning about what works.

Objectives 

The first British Red Cross conference on resilience is an exciting opportunity to: 

> share and generate learning on how resilience building works in practice in various settings and from a variety of perspectives – in other words, what works well and why?

> understand how we all can effectively contribute to building resilience with individuals through to society as a whole.

The conference focus is to discuss the principles and practices which build resilience in the UK but welcomes international comparative perspectives.

 
Confirmed speakers include:

- Amal Azuddin, Glasgow Girls activist

- Ian Forbes, Consultant and Trainer in change, diversity, and evaluation; Social and Political Scientist

- Ellie Godsi, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, therapist, broadcaster and author

- Prof Sandy Halliday, Engineer Principal, Gaia Research

- Cllr Rita Patel, Assistant City Mayor Leicester

- Christina Scott, Director, Civil Contingencies Secretariat at the Cabinet Office

- Martin Sibley; runs a disability project to share, learn and empower people withdisabilities

- Mike Wessells, PhD, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health

- Sir Nick Young, CEO, British Red Cross

- Julian Dobson, Director, Urban Pollinators

- Phillip Monaghan, CEO & Founder, Infrangilis

- Liz Barclay, Broadcaster on BBC Radio 4 You and Yours, journalist and writer

 
Format and Audience

 

On the day, there will be a range of interactive workshops, presentations and debates that will explore resilience in practice across a variety of perspectives and areas of work. We invite community groups, voluntary organisations, university and government bodies and members of the public, who have an understanding of what conditions make individuals and communities more resilient, to attend the conference. 

 

Registration

Registration opens on 9th January 2013! There is a fee of £75 to attend. Go to www.redcross.org.uk/resilienceconference to register or find out more information.

Call for papers

They have extended their call for papers until 22nd February 2013. If you want to deliver a session or poster on a research project you have conducted, or your own well documented examples of resilience in practice, please submit a short summary of your work at www.redcross.org.uk/resilienceconference

 

If you have questions or would like to get involved on the day, please email: ResilienceConference2013@redcross.org.uk

 

Wednesday 30th January 2013
Planetary boundaries: the limits of the earth - podcast
Contributor: Guardian Sustainable Business

What are planetary boundaries and how can businesses use this scientific model to become more sustainable? Alok Jha speaks to Johan Rockström of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Oxfam's Kate Raworth and Gail Whiteman, a professor-in-residence at the WBCSD

Listen by clicking here.

Sunday 27th January 2013
Jeremy Bugler contemplates age and the NHS, 'last-orders' and 'Resilient Dynamism'
Contributor: Jeremy Bugler

An old (as in long-standing), old (as in ancient) friend has recently come through a very complex heart surgery operation, leaving him in his mid-eighties raring to get back on the golf course.  I am delighted for Joe’s new lease of life and his companionship for more years ahead (not that I will be found with him playing golf, a pastime that consumes the countryside and insults the very concept of what is sport.)   Joe is a lovely man, a real original.

I got to wondering, though, how much of the NHS budget is being spent on keeping oldies like Joe and me alive, and how much the environment can afford our reluctance to shuffle-off.   Medical advances are making it harder for many old people to die, and enormous sums are spent on elaborate procedures that would once have been reserved for rich criminals (I mean bankers) and World Tour tennis players. An American friend tells me that in her country, the relatives are sometimes wont to view the death of an aged parent simply as a provocation for malpractice suit.  “Granddad died!   His doc must have screwed up!   We’ll sue the bastard.”

I have an idea to solve this problem that is threatening the planet, the refuse-to-die folk.  It is simple, elegant - and totally impractical.    In short, it is that after, say, the age of 80 (yes, some might point out, that is conveniently some way off for me), the NHS should offer only palliative care.   Once past four score years, the elderly should be offered morphine, ibuprofens, paracetemol ad lib but they should no longer be rescued by complex surgery and treatments.   Society would extend a druggy hand and lead us muddled-headed towards eternity.

The problem with this admirable solution is that of course the richer and more moneyed and criminal elements of society would be able to buy their operations and expensive drugs, creating an even greater class-division in much-fissured Britain than there is today.  If you think it’s bad now, what would it be like if only elderly Old Etonians and investment bankers lived on and on and on?   The mind recoils in horror. 

Back to the drawing board.

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The word `resilience’ is thrown about in all sorts of contexts.   I heard a football pundit talk of a full-back’s resilience last week, by which he meant that player crunched into a tackle and emerged with both legs intact (in the spirit of the legendary Chelsea hardman Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris.)   This week’s most risible use of the word comes from Davos, the Swiss town that every year hosts the super-rich and their political friends in a dance in honour of neo-liberalism.  (Yes, Tony Blair is there.) This year Davos’s theme is ‘Resilient Dynamism”, which I take to mean how do they keep the free market charging ahead without threatening to implode and bring the whole house down.   As a Guardian columnist wrote, the title seems one of those in which the words can be reversed without much change of meaning, given the context.   “Dynamic Resilience” in Davos-speak, would still have meant – how can we keep this neo-liberal show on the road without mashing those pot-holes and speed-bumps?

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Speaking of old age, can I recommend for any reader near the bucket-kick, a book called Last Orders?    In truth, it is not so much a book as a manual.  Its sub-title is The Essential Guide to Your Letter of Wishes.   This letter it turns out is one addressed to your family and friends who survive you and want to know the practical things  - like where the hell has he hidden the bank books?  Or- who was his accountant?  And: the car-keys for his old banger, which we must straight round to the scrap-dealer  … they weren’t in his pocket when we cremated him, were they?

The book has twelve sections to be filled out.  The author is an American, Patricia C. Byron, and this is where the chance of fun comes in.   It is very much the American way of death, and thus has a section asking, if your remains are to be laid out to be viewed, are there any people you would like prohibited from eyeballing your corpse?  I have written  - anyone from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. I am neutral if someone from the Gilbert and Ellis islands wishes to view.    It asks also: who do you want to give the oration at your funeral.   I have listed Simon Russell Beale, the great actor.   (What if he accepted?  “I stand before you on this sad day somewhat baffled, because I have not the slightest idea who Jeremy Bugler was…”)  There’s even a section asking if there is anyone extant who owes one money.  Yeah, I’ve written, Bob Diamond of Barclays Bank. At least my successors can have a chuckle: silly old bugger… now where did he say he put the bank books?

Thursday 17th January 2013
The Farmer With The Last Word
Contributor: Jeremy Bugler

I have a habit, which I am having to learn to suppress.   As I walk along country lanes, or as pass along country roads, I point out to my wife the ash trees lining the lanes and roads.  As she drove me down the M4 yesterday on the way back from London, I pointed great stands of ash all along one side of the motorway as it passed through Berkshire.   In the lanes of Herefordshire, where we live, ash is the most common roadside tree.   I say “ash, ash, ash, ash, ash, ash” as we move long.

My habit is driving The Farmer With The Last Word a little bit nuts.  (Farmer With Last Word explanation: a few years back, I asked a worker helping us if he could do a certain job.   “Yes” said he “but have you cleared this with the Farmer With The Last Word?   I mean - Sue?”)    The Farmer With The Last Word says she just wants to enjoy the drive or the walk without my metronomic, miserablist chant.  And that’s her last word.

Well, I understand how she feels.   At the same time, I feel that it has not dawned on many people yet what a catastrophic upheaval is entailed by the loss of our ash trees to this new fungus.    Ash trees are not deeply rooted like oaks; when they die, they fall soon afterwards.  So all along the roads and the lanes and the motorways, ashes will have to be felled carefully by contractors.  This will mean closing the roads for hours at a time, unless they adopt the Welsh Borders felling system, which is letting the tree fall, narrowly missing a school bus, and then closing the road.

Many people also do not know what they are in for when that lovely ash in their garden sickens.   We went to lunch the other day with friends with an enormous ash standing right next to the house.  Our host reckoned it would cost £700 to £800 to fell.  Two more ash trees close by mean that he is facing a bill of over two grand.  House-owners all over Britain, whether in towns or cities or the countryside, face a new poll tax, the Ash Tax.

(Do you have sons or grandsons who are looking for a vocation?  Train them as tree surgeons now.  They will be very busy.)

THE SURGEON SAYS :   At this point, The Surgeon [see entry for 15th January 2013] interrupts: “Stop being so bloody depressing, Jerry.  Where’s the silver lining?”  Well, one silver lining is The Silver Linings Playbook a new film by David O. Russell just coming out on general release.  Uplifting in a way that would certainly satisfy The Surgeon.  Another silver lining lies in Britain itself.  Two or three experts on trees and dendrology I have chatted to reckon that there is a good chance that Britain has a wide genetic variety of ash trees, some of which may be resistant to the foul fungus.  We could then plant the resistant trees in at least some of the places where we have lost the old ones.  Once established, ash trees of course are wonderful self-seeders.  So all is not completely lost.   (If you want to read more about the ash, I recommend a recent piece in London Review of Books, entitled Elegy For The Ash.  In it, Jeremy Harding writes warmly and movingly of this wonderful tree.)

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I have been watching the images from Australia and Tasmania of the appalling fires caused by the extreme heat wave.  Interesting how the still photographs have more power than the moving images: the still of the grandmother, mother and two children three-quarters submersed in the water beside a jetty in Tasmania is extraordinary.  The orange glow that suffuses the wood of the jetty, the air and the very skins on the Tasmanians lodges in the mind.  I recall that our family once toyed with idea of moving to Tasmania, which was presented to us as the English countryside without the crowds.

It’s remarkable how much of the weather hell currently is being visited on Australia and the United States, those centres of climate change denying and those countries with very poor records of acting to reduce CO2.    A Christian fundamentalist might say this is God’s punishment.  But it would be more productive to think about whether people may now change their resistance to doing something about climate change.

The draft version of the US National Climate Assessment published last week revealed that weather hell is having a profound effect already on the lives of Americans.  “Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State and maple syrup producers have observed changes in their local climate that are outside their experience” said the report, blaming bluntly the burning of fossil fuels for changing the climate.

The report highlights, just to take one thing, how 13 American airports have runways that could well be inundated by rising sea levels.  (And London Mayor Boris Johnson wants to build a new runway in the Thames Estuary?)

Professor Chris Rapley of University College London spoke interestingly, I thought about the US report.  He said:  “Most people in the UK and the US accept human-induced climate change but respond by focussing attention elsewhere.  We dismiss the effects of climate change as `not here’, `not now’. `not me’ and `not clear’.”

The good people of Herefordshire, I have to say, are moving their positions.  As we experience very bad floods and unceasing rain and snow, my neighbours are saying – yes, here and now, and us, and very damn clear.    The next question is what we will all do to change our behaviour. Changing an attitude is the easy bit. Changing how we behave  - now that’s the tricky bit.

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