Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop began his career as a teacher and spent five years teaching 11-18 year-olds at Eastbury Comprehensive, before developing multimedia approaches to learning at London’s largest comprehensive, Crown Woods School.
He finished teaching to become an entrepreneur – he set up Digital Explorer, an award-winning social enterprise that engages young people with global issues by using the latest communications technology on educational expeditions to allow them to access expedition data on a real time basis. He has done all kinds of exciting things – like organising chats with schools from the Great Barrier Reef, promoting knowledge about Pakistan, and conducting scientific research in the Arctic.
For the love of nature
“We build our future not through the fear of what we are going to lose, but the love of what we have.” (Jamie at WOW Talks)
I blush when I think of how wrong I’ve sometimes got it when I’ve tried to get people to think differently about our environment. When I’m really passionate about something – and I am passionate about the environment – I can fall into the trap of focusing on what I want to say, instead of what people want to hear – and at its worst this can come across as boring, abrasive, and/or preachy.
But, you might be thinking, don’t people sometimes need to face an inconvenient truth rather than a convenient lie? Don’t we need to tell the truth, and face up to harsh reality?
Well, yes and no. There is a fine balance to be struck here. Sometimes we only appreciate how much we love something when we are faced with its imminent loss. But if we overdo the gloom and doom, the danger is that we drive people into defensiveness or despair – defensiveness if they feel guilty for past sins against nature, or despair if they have done their best to live green but don’t see any results from their endeavours. And both of those attitudes are inimical to action.
So a softer approach can be much more effective, doing what Jamie does through Digital Explorer, getting people out into nature to get to know it better, and sharing their journeys of discovery with others so that we can all get to know and love our world.
“When we travel with our hearts and our eyes open, something shifts within us on a more fundamental level.” (Jamie)
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(Note: this week I’ve dropped giving the time stamps for various points in the conversation. If you desperately miss them, let me know and I can bring them back.)
- Exploring Scotland as a child
- How a rugby injury led to a life of adventure
- Falling in love with the geography, people, and culture of the Himalayas
- Jamie’s favourite parts of the world
- Digital Explorer – bringing the world to a classroom near you
- Jamie’s top bits of gear
- The challenges of expedition technology
- Travel as transformation
- Google Earth – an invaluable tool