Schumacher College, Small is Beautiful

Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.
— E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered

Today we visited the Schumacher College in Dartington Hall, UK to explore their approach to sustainable living education. We were warmly received by everyone at the college, which was heart warming! People from all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds, have been informed, inspired and encouraged to act, by the Schumacher College's 20 years of transformative courses for sustainable living.

Schumacher College brings together leading thinkers, activists and practitioners internationally, to deliver a unique brand of small group learning experiences. This learning takes place in the classroom, the gardens, the kitchen and workshops - in fact when I visited there was a 'willow weaving' work shop taking place. See photos:

Economics on the ground

We had an interesting discussion with Lou Rainbow (see photo) whom we shared our views about sustainable living and new economic models. The main ideas we discussed were the importance to use our hands and practical skills which in many cases have been lost because our lives are so based around ‘specialisation’ and ‘efficiency’.  The hands-on courses at the college can be transformative for people because they learn so much about themselves and the importance of being in touch with the ‘basics’ in life – which are in essence the ‘essentials’ for life.

Schumacher developed the set of principles he called "Buddhist economics," based on the belief that individuals needed good work for proper human development. He also proclaimed that "production from local resources for local needs is the most rational way of economic life." He traveled throughout many Third World countries, encouraging local governments to create self-reliant economies. Schumacher's experience led him to become a pioneer of what is now called appropriate technology: user-friendly and ecologically suitable technology applicable to the scale of the community; a concept very close to Ivan Illich's conviviality.