Dear Community, this month meet Sam from South Africa!
Get inspired by how he has been touched by his time at Schumacher College especially nature, and the wonderful projects he has developed since and the work he is bringing to the world.
He is very active on the network as well as with his projects - check them out!!
Name : Sam Chevallier
Location : Cape Town, South Africa
Q: What course(s) did you attend at Schumacher College, which years have you been involved and how closely connected are you to the college now?
Ecological Design Thinking - 2015
It is 3 ½ years on since I was last at Schumacher College. I am not as involved as I would like to be, but I am occasionally in contact with Seaton, Mona and Stephan, who I was close with during the period of my dissertation.
Q: Looking back, how did your time at the college most influence your life?
Schumacher College gave me a new lens to perceive the world. It helped me better understand the things that I deeply value, Such as the work I do, the lifestyle I choose to live and the community of people I spend my time with. This environment allowed me to better understand who I am. This self-realization has given me the confidence to pursue a career that is both meaningful, experiential and exceptionally engaging. Before Schumacher college, I studied at the Sustainability Institute, where I learnt to become more analytical and critical regarding sustainability. Although this was very necessary, Schumacher college gave me the chance to access other ways of listening and interpreting the world. Such as opening up my heart to the beauty of the natural world, recognizing the intrinsic and tacit knowledge that exists in every one of us, such as the innate connection with wild systems, and the ‘strange’ compass of intuition that guides us.
I was apart of the first intake of Ecological Design Thinking students at Schumacher College. My class were more experienced than me in terms of both life and work. This has had a major influence on me, as each of them positively inspired me to deepen my interest in the natural world, business and Design. Being a part of a new cohort was difficult at the beginning, because everything was so new, and I was not sure where to apply my focus. This investment into a way of thinking and doing is starting to show results as the developing world learns to leapfrog the problems/issues learnt from developed nations. Having developed/still developing this framework this way of thinking has helped see myself in the greater system, and opened me up to greater possibilities, that I would have otherwise not seen.
Q: What has been your biggest take away from your time at Schumacher College?
‘Relationships’ are the epicentre of everything. Nothing sits insolation. Like a tree in the natural world, we are apart of an interconnected system of relationships that are ever changing. The more we can be present with these, the more we are empowered to act upon those that are either negative or positive. The College's unique way of thinking helps me to think in this way. It has hugely benefited my life since then, as it has allowed me to engage in conversations that I am passionate about. The college also helped me to change my behaviour, which I feel can be the hardest thing to change in humans. Finally, this time also taught me to value stillness, contemplation and reflection.
Q: To what extent did your time at Schumacher inform and/or facilitate your choice of work?
Ecology Rewilding and experiential learning is my key area of interest. Throughout my masters, I was interested in deepening my understanding of ecological systems, whilst looking to see how design might help us weave a narrative that might help us become less oppressive on ecological systems, and how we might integrate ourselves within the greater whole more efficiently. I also became more observant of how unaware people have become to biodiversity, and how this disconnect may force a potential change of climate in the future. Therefore communication became my key areas of focus after college. Specifically looking at how writing and film might inform truths that will help us ‘ reconnect’ with natural systems. This is why I used film in my master's thesis, as I felt that more people might engage with this knowledge if it was visual and more comfortable to engage with ( as a medium). I was not sure how to film or edit before the thesis. Schumacher facilitated my confidence to get out of my comfort zone, become more creative. The College taught me to let go of my expectations, attachments and Assumptions. Allowing myself to free of this, has allowed me to walk into unchartered territory that I don't think I would I have found myself in today.
Q: What have you done since leaving the college.. and what are you doing now? What has led you to this point?
Since then I have started a production company in Cape Town, called Rewild. Rewild is a storytelling company that hopes to effectively tell companies stories on how they are looking to meet the triple bottom line. We do not work for any company, we seek value and change driven companies that are interested in being future proof, by looking further than just the bottom line. Essentially how is the working they are producing positively impacting people and planet.
Please see website below
Here is a film that I am particularly proud to have helped produce - https://vimeo.com/325370054
Other than film making, I am a private guide in the African bush, taking large groups into the bush to better understand biomimicry through experiencing: Complexity theory, Systems thinking, Swarm intelligence, ( applying insights from Giles Hutchins book ‘Nature of Business’). Please see the link below to see more of these expeditions, I would love to have Schumacher Alumni join
I have walked A number of parks for Google maps setting up trails, so that people do not get lost, and do not walk everywhere on these parks. These trails will also help with eco-tourism, and help local people to connect with the rich amount of biodiversity on their front door. Learning this may help other people value the unique biodiversity inherent within South Africa.
I have also helped consult on an ecologically designed home, that uses the methodology of biomimicry within its build. To learn more about this home, you may have a look at the facebook page that has been built to tell more of its story.
A project I am also fascinated to be apart of is ‘Eden to Addo’. Eden to Addo is a corridor initiative to connect 3 mega-reserves within South Africa. Reconnecting these reserves provides the possibility for megafauna to influence landscapes again like they use to. The key interest here, is how might this initiative positively influence local people in the area? The project is looking to develop potential economic drivers, such as plant harvesting, renewable energy projects and eco-tourism. Please have a look at the film below to learn more.
Q: How are you living your livelihood “right livelihood”? Expressing yourself in the world?
Something to share with the wider community of your life…
I live my life in concentric circles. The inner circle is both my mind and heart. Through listening to my intuition, sleeping and meditation practice I find I am then able to work on the next circles. Clear thinking provides me with the clarity for efficient and effective decision making and opens up my ability to open up my focus elaborated within the following circles.
The second circle is the relationship I have with my family. Nourishing these relationships are important for both critical feedback and helping others that I am close with.
My third circle is my work and the greater community that surrounds me. I find that my work is very integrated with both the relationship with my community and the natural world. Much like a tree, I look to new knowledge and wisdom that may nourish my growth, and the growth of the value I wish to bring to the world. Developing and working on this has been integral for developing a framework for me to develop an optimistic view of our future.
Thank you, Sam, for sharing your inspiring journey with the wider community.