“During my professional life, I’ve worked with many extraordinary women, men, young people, organisations and communities who have been interested in this human dimension and have sought to use my understanding to support them in their focus on sustainable futures. Without exception, their work reminds us of the importance of good will, cooperation, equity, analysis and actions ‘on the ground’.”
My work is at the intersection of people, communities, nature and culture. I’m a big 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 – whether they be at a local, national or international scale, whether they be by planting trees, slow travel, awareness raising or any other way. I’ve worked using these ideas for the last 20+ years in Australia, the Asian region and beyond.
I’ve been really fortunate. During my professional life, I’ve worked with many extraordinary women, men, young people, organisations and communities who have been interested in this human dimension and have sought to use my understanding to support them in their focus on sustainable futures. Without exception, their work reminds us of the importance of good will, cooperation, equity, analysis and actions ‘on the ground’.
A bit about me
I still have a vivid memory of when I was nine, perhaps ten, being with my father as he travelled to some of the fantastic landscapes of northeast Victoria in Australia. Travelling, learning about the landscapes and listening to discussions with farmers about their work, their connections to their land and their hopes for the future made a big impression – one I didn’t realise the significance of until later in my life.
These laid foundations for me – connections to rural landscapes and connections to the people who live in them. These are connections that have been underpinning my professional and personal activities for many years now.
I’ve been a walker, cyclist, canoeist and camper for a long time – 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 heavy beast which made contours ever-so-slightly easier.
But 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. Yet 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.
I try to keep things simple…
These values, activities and experiences, as well as the sheer enjoyment of being out in wild and not-so-wild places have led very specifically to my professional life working at that intersection of culture, nature, communities and people and my commitment to supporting sustainable landscapes. I’ve worked on all kinds of issues and in all kinds of landscapes in Australia and well beyond – national parks, wildlife and endangered species protection (especially tigers), tourism, world heritage, collectives, fishing, nomadic herders, the Himalayas, the great rivers of South Asia, forests in lots of different landscapes. And as a social scientist, my beginning point is with people – you (to discuss all this stuff with), I (as a critically reflective professional) and others (as actors in sustainable futures) – and all our roles 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 public land mangement remind us of conflicts between conservation and human use.
Images, writing, understanding and actions are all part of me. Let’s see where our paths can cross! You can find out more about how we can work together by clicking on the ‘Collaboration’ tab, or by clicking here.
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!