Role: Project Manager for the Common Property Management Rights Project at Thwink.org. Philip’s focus is to bring the project to fruition. He also mentors Jack in communication style and advises on the engineering world.
Nationality: Australian. Born in England and educated in New Zealand. Currently living in Brisbane, Queensland. Unlike many others at Thwink.org, is a city-dweller.
Qualifications: Honours degree in Mineral Processing, consulting engineer primarily in the mining industry. Well published in the area of Sustainability of Mining and has led a Sustainability practice at a major international Engineer firm between 2004-2011. Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Sustainable Business & Development.
Comment: I usually resort to two quotes when asked why I see Thwink.org as a solution pathway. John Sterman, director of MIT's System Dynamics Group, said:
A fundamental principle of system dynamics states that the structure of the system gives rise to its behaviour.
In other words, we are all subject to the human system and behave as that system dictates. That system does not allow the environment to be sustainable. And from Edwin Friedman:
The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change.
These two quote together tells me that we need systemic change and that just educating and telling people just won’t work – there must be systemic change to provide the motivation to change. Jack’s deep-analysis approach seems to me to have the potential to change everything.
The Person – Philip is an engineer who has developed the opinion that his current employer provides an income, but not the vehicle for the kind of change required to solve the sustainability problem. Whilst the mining industry gradually improves its environmental behaviour and performance, it is still locked into the overall economic system. That system can do nothing other than drive engineering and mining along the current unsustainable pathway. We need a better way to properly couple and overcome all the change resistance evident in the system.
He has travelled extensively in his work and enjoys all the cultures and diversity that our human societies offer. It would be a shame if humanity managed to destroy it all.
Philip’s Story – With his parents he emigrated from the UK to New Zealand when 10 years old, so did his secondary and tertiary education in NZ during the free education years of the 70s and 80s. He fell into mineral processing accidentally and has pursued a career that has been technically challenging and latterly challenging in the aspects of Sustainability. He was never a classic activist, and prefers to work from “within” the system towards the goals of societal sustainability. He continues in his day-job and supplements this with an adjunct position at USQ. He has been with Jack since 2006.
On the personal front, he and his wife have celebrated their 30th anniversary this year (2012), they have two great kids, now adults, and also a delightful granddaughter born in March 2011.
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