Serendipity and super hero glasses


#1 in the series, Mixing Magic: the secret sauce of humanising an industry that’s possibly the dullest on the planet as well as having the greatest potential to reverse global warming

It’s the end of a long day at a rather dull conference on urban design with just too many panel sessions populated with Very Important People. I’m slouched in my chair. When will formalities close so we can move onto the pub and networking? Then a man in flowered Doc Martens, Mark Shayler, excitedly bounces onto stage and invites us all to become super heroes. Bizarre.
I know this man. We were at the same university in another space time dimension. Last century. On the other side of the planet. I wore Doc Martens then too.
Later, in a loud bar, I’m having a shouted (and possibly a bit drunken) conversation with Mark and this guy Phil Wilkinson from AIRAH, about humanity needing a new story. I tell them I’m learning the ancient art of oral storytelling so I can tell the new story.
Since then I caught up with Phil once or twice. I don’t really know him.
Earlier this year, I’m lounging in bed having a lazy breakfast and listening to the radio. A text messages arrives. It’s from Phil Wilkinson. What do you reckon to co-creating a global network of awesome storytellers to collaborate on #DRAWDOWN HVACR? A cross-sectoral approach to addressing the number one action to reverse climate change?”
Text from me: “Fantastic! I’m in. My dream team: (you and me of course), plus Digital StorytellersMac MacartneySustainable HumanKolarele Sonaike, Oprah, Annie Leonard and more I will think of. Where and how do we start?”
Phil: “You’ve already started – a long time ago when we met (after that conference) you inspired me. We need to work out how to attract the superheros. What is the next step you would like to take – just do it… What do you need from me?”
Me: “Could we create some kind of comic strip storyboard and start sharing it via LinkedIn? I wonder what digital tool would allow people to contribute to create a co-designed comic book?”
So here we are. Welcome to Humans of HVACR (working title). Come in, hang your coat up, sit down. I’ll put the kettle on for a brew.
Both Phil and I are from the North of England. Some people think it’s grim up North. Personally, I find a particularly invigorating delight in wandering on windswept moors with rain lashing in my face. Especially when I know there is a cosy pub in the valley serving naturally chilled real ale at cellar temperature. It’s not warm – it’s ambient cellar temperature! I love Australia’s blue skies, floods, plains and obsession with coffee too. Humanity’s ability to adapt to the world’s many climates is a super-power that’s made us such a successful species.
The North of England’s people, climate and geology have unleashed great creativity in industry, music, sport and fun. By catalysing the industrial revolution, you could say we invented the anthropocene, the geological age characterised by humans’ influence on the planet. That’s why I have a passion and personal drive to pollinate new stories our humanity’s place in the web of life.
How do you make sense of life? How do you portray life in words? Like prescription lenses, stories shape the way we see ourselves and act in the world.
Pop on your superhero glasses and join us for this crazy party in the planet room, Humans of HVACR, an online community on Mighty Networks


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