Practical Bravery: DAVE ERASMUS



It is easy to say that we are all climate activists now.

Even the most traditional, fossil-fuel powered businesses will have their compostable coffee cups, car pool incentives and commitment to using bags for life.

But, are we even close to getting real?

Survey after survey shows that there is serious intention, backed-up by a serious kicking of the can down the road.

The climate emergency needs both small and big change. Incremental and urgent.

So – what do we do, to balance urgency and stability? How do we live both on and off grid?

In this episode Richard Freeman meets tech and nature entrepreneur, speaker, writer, broadcaster and facilitator  – Dave Erasmus.

Key quotes:

“Seeing this mobile, social, technology shift coming along and thought, if this is transforming society, what are the best behaviour sets we could encourage? And so I built a donation platform called Givey to try to encourage the daily habit of giving.”

“If you look at the twenty apps on the front of your smartphone, it’s a nice thought to say what do they say about me? Who am I? What do I engage with every day?”

“When the VCs finally took the company off me (which is another story) I ran out of map, I ran out of direction. Internally and externally I had nowhere to turn, no-one to turn to, so I ended up finding my way into the woodland.”

“What I found there was a gentle momentum, a life beyond purpose, a way of being that was outside of goal setting and goal achievement. Kind of a life beyond narrative.”

“I found this whole other space of human being, rather than human doing.”

“I was living this hyper-local life between the woods and the pub but I had this community globally, with people sending me socks from Australia and giving me advice through my YouTube videos. This wasn’t off-grid living, there was a lot more space created for the ‘off’ but I was still benefiting from being ‘on’. This lifestyle didn’t fit in either of the worlds.”

“I guess that is my answer to the “New York grind” story. I don’t see it as sustainable, I don’t see genius ideas coming out of that constant grind, that echo chamber.”

“I had all the options, this is what I chose to do. As it happens, I’ve probably neglected financial capital, I’ve probably optimised too long for social and intellectual capital, ie having time to learn and be with friends, and that is a constant balancing act.”

“The research all shows that earning more than £70k a year, there’s no correlation between happiness, wellbeing and money above that. We all need a certain amount not just for basics but for some luxuries and agency and choice, but above and beyond that there’s no discernible correlation.”

“Possibilities come from open awareness. From seeing the glimmers on the edge of your peripheral vision. Things that you can hear in the background. And that antenna is not up if you’re driving towards a goal. That’s not where you find new emergent possibilities. So for me, putting your foot down, then taking your foot off, being ‘on’ and then being ‘off’, and learning how to go back and forward is where we get ultimately most efficiency, although ‘efficiency’ is a reductive word for what I’m talking about.”

“I’ve probably had a day’s worth of difficult conversations with smart people, which have cost me money, to invest in myself and my self narrative and find that and get that iterative process. It is hard to do on your own, you do ideally need friends or relationships that help lead you into that place because brands — and your boss — are marketing at you all the time, and they’re pretty damn good at it by this point.”

“Make a name for somebody else.” — Steve Cole

“Ultimately I want to be me, I want to be original.”

“The off-grid part of life is needed more than ever at the moment, in order to recover our relationships — workplace and otherwise — to a place of creative balance with productivity, so we can make our organisations sustainable.”

This episode was recorded in February 2023

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


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