The Man of The Trees

You can gauge a country’s wealth, its real wealth, by its tree cover“, was a favourite saying of Dr Richard St. Barbe-Baker OBE.

I met St.Barbe when he was in his 90s in Washington at a retreat. He made me organic wholemeal pancakes for breakfast and we soon became friends. He showed me how to hug a tree and pay attention to its hydraulic vibes. I wasn’t sure whether it was my kind of thing, at first, but then I grew to like it.

I soon adopted a tree just a few doors from my apartment in Gramercy Park, Manhattan. My first tree friend I called ‘Dagobert’ (above) and although I live in Melbourne now I always go to see Dagobert whenever I visit New York and clean up any trash inside his little fenced off area. It feels nice 🙂

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St. Barbe’s organization, the Men of the Trees, eventually grew to be known as the International Tree Foundation. Ultimately, there were chapters in over 100 countries.

By some estimates, organizations he founded or assisted have been responsible for planting at least 26 trillion trees, internationally.

The CFA has information on trees here …

Who in their right mind would plant a pet tree?

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In 1981, at the United Nations in Manhattan, I was a co-founder with Rene Dubos and Richard St. Barbe Baker of the Children of the Green Earth Society.

The purpose of this initiative was to try to broaden the public awareness of the fundamental threat of deforestation to the green planet.

Our trees are our friends because they give us oxygen, so the idea we came up with was this: what if every human child could plant a friend or pet tree?

I still have my gift of the wooden tile we were presented with at the UN meeting as a memento of the occasion. Front with the proposed logo and back with the proposed name: Children of the Green Earth.

If you’d like to be considered for membership in the Children of the Green Earth Society click here and post the following information:

1. What is the name of your tree friend? What do you call your pet tree?

2. Where is your tree? What district or town is it in?

3. When did you last hug your tree? Or, visit your tree? Or, tend to your tree friend?

Every 21 March is the International Day of Forests.

Michael and General Cosgrove to speak at August talkfest …

Michael, Peter Cosgrove, John Tickell and other leading Australian speakers will work with more than 200 of Australia’s business people and thought-leaders at a unique workshop on the Gold Coast in August.


Your Business Success Seminar
Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast
Friday 3 August — Sunday 5 August 2007

“In the twenty years I have been in the corporate speakers business I have never seen a seminar post a line-up as strong as this.” Barry Markoff, CEO – ICMI Speakers & Entertainers

BOOK RESERVATIONS HERE: The Your Business Success program on Channel 9 has seen many struggling businesses and sometimes the only reason they are not succeeding is due to the mindset of the operator.

“Before I could put my name to this seminar I needed to be convinced it offered substance and the right ingredients to allow all attendees to receive real take home benefits for their business.” Andrew Vincent, Executive Producer – Your Business Success, Channel 9, every Sunday.


Imagination works: GE is the ‘world’s most admired company’

GE captured the top award as the world’s most admired company for the third year in a row, followed by Toyota.


The two big movers into the global top ten during 2007 were BMW (ranked 9th) and PepsiCo (10th). Hay Group managing director Richard Hardwick said the survey showed the most admired companies “more actively manage” their chief executives and were more effective in leadership succession.

Libraries of Australia

softwareforyourbrain.thumbnail1.gifSoftware For Your Brain can be found in the following Libraries of Australia:

ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services.
Australian Institute of Management (NSW & ACT)
Bayside Library Service.
Canberra Institute of Technology.
Challenger TAFE.
Charles Sturt University.
City of Boroondara Library Service
Eastern Regional Libraries Corporation.
Fairfield City Council. The Whitlam Library
Hurstville City Library
Ipswich City Library and Information Service
James Cook University
Kingston Information and Library Service
Liverpool City Library
Moreland City Libraries
National Library of Australia
Port Phillip Library Service. St Kilda Library
State Library of Victoria
State Library of Western Australia
Stonnington Library and Information Service. Toorak / South Yarra Library
Sutherland Shire Libraries. Central Library Sutherland
Wollongong City Council. Wollongong City Library
Woollahra Municipal Council. Woollahra Library and Information Service

Think ‘website’ as key to crisis control

Ross Cambell author of Crisis Control says:

“Recent global crises have proven that the majority of stakeholders in an escalating crisis will seek ‘first response’ information from the website of the party involved. It will be immediate. It will be high traffic. It will be interactive. The Virginia Tech crisis website was a good example of this.

“Those companies that do not have crisis-ready websites and supporting technology may lose control of their message and their slow response adds another crisis to the original crisis. The crisis-ready websitite is the most essential drive of an organisation’s message strategy. It can be used for immediate warnings internally. Information updates. Victim support. Virtual media conferences. Community trauma and counselling support and, importantly, recovery plans and business continuity.

“And when cell phones fail, as they have often done in high traffic crises, SMS messaging has shown to still get through.”

Edward de Bono: 40 Years of Lateral Thinking

From The Guardian: The father of lateral thinking tells Angela Balakrishnan why, 40 years on, his theories are as relevant as ever …


For Edward de Bono, the man who 40 years ago coined the phrase “lateral thinking”, the ability to think is the most important human skill, but one he feels is often neglected.

“What happened was, 2,400 years ago, the Greek Gang of Three, by whom I mean Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, started to think based on analysis, judgment and knowledge. At the same time, church people, who ran the schools and universities, wanted logic to prove the heretics wrong. As a result, design and perceptual thinking was never developed. People assumed philosophers were doing it and so they blocked anyone else from doing it. But philosophers were not. Philosophers may look out at the world from a stained-glass window, but after a while they stop looking at the world and start looking at the stained glass.”


This is where de Bono believes he has changed things. Born in Malta into a family who had been doctors for seven generations, he gained a medical degree from the Royal University of Malta. But then, with a Rhodes scholarship, he found himself at Oxford, where he gained a degree in psychology and physiology and a DPhil in medicine. It was during this time, in the 1960s, that he realised his studies could be applied to the mind.”I was looking at the glands, kidneys, circulation and respiration and the idea of self-organising systems,” he says. “I realised that the same principles could be adapted to the neuron brain, which is when I wrote The Mechanism of the Mind.”

His principles were explored in a computer-generated experiment, which found that if the brain worked in the way De Bono said it did, then routine was not good for creativity. “For the first time in history, thinking was based on what was happening in the human brain and not the words of philosophers.”

He says that, with the help of more lateral thinking, many issues that dominate the political agenda could move beyond stalemate. “Look at Iraq. If the US said they were going to leave on a certain date, then for every week without any killings, the date would move forward, and for every week with a killing, the later and later the date would be delayed. This way those who killed would not be seen as heroes but those keeping the Americans in the country.”

It may not be the most conventional approach to international relations but it is, in de Bono’s words, a case of “thinking outside the box”.

Sir Ken Robinson on Creativity & Innovation …

“Creativity is the process of having original ideas, but there are several steps. The first step is imagination, the capacity that we all have to see something in the mind’s eye. Creativity is then using that imagination to solve problems — call it applied imagination. Then innovation is putting that creativity into practice as applied creativity.

There are several common misconceptions about creativity. The first is that people think that only SOME are creative. yet It’s in the nature of human beings that we ARE creative.

The second misconception is that creativity is about design and marketing. What the TED conference shows is that creativity is central to the practice of science and business and more. Creative initiatives should help you find what you are passionate about.

The third misconception is that you can’t do anything about it. Yes, you CAN cultivate creativity.”



Special Treat: Stop everything! Sit back, take a deep breath, relax for 15 minutes and enjoy one of the world’s best speakers on Creativity & Innovation–Sir Ken Robinson–who will entertain and inspire you and make your day.