All posts by trumage


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Tim is a planetary ethicist and the Coordinator/Developer of Environmental Studies at Ringling College of Art and Design where he teaches courses on green building, sustainability, creating ecological cities, applied environmental design and environmental ethics.

Tim is also a Coordinator for Sustainability in Design Education at CUMULUS. CUMULUS is the only global association to serve art and design education and research and currently consists of 198 institutional members from 48 countries.

Recent work focuses on the economic value of nature and nature’s services, and lectures at other colleges and community organizations. Previous endeavors include working with David Crane to jointly develop and teach the Green Building Seminar at USF/SACD. Tim is also involved in a variety of interdisciplinary projects in the US and Africa involving habitat restoration and protection, green infrastructure, local food production, and sustainability. Early research areas include Marine Mammals, Bats, Pelagic Birds, and environmental surveys.

He and David Houle are co-authoring a book on environmental consciousness entitled This Spaceship Earth that is scheduled for release in Summer 2015.

Forgive and Learn

I am from the “forgive and learn” school of thought. I appreciate and admire those of the “forgive and forget” tradition, especially if they truly can forgive and forget. But at heart, I am a teacher. As such I want the lessons learned not forgotten or repeated. Peter Cooke clearly stated the condition I wish to avoid in the comedy routine the Frog and Peach with Dudley Moore.   When Dudley asks Peter if he has learned from his mistakes, Peter’s character answers: “I think I have, yes, and I think I can probably repeat them almost perfectly.  I know my mistakes inside out.”

I do not want the mistakes remembered for the purpose of assigning blame or casting dispersions upon one’s character. I want them remembered for the role they can serve in avoiding parallel problems in the future.

We need to remember the things that did not work as we thought they might with the same fervor we use for celebrating those things that went right. For that is the way to acknowledge and embrace the need to ask better, more thoughtful, more thorough questions, to consider more fully the implications of the decisions we make and the actions we take in order to monitor and accept the responsibility of the results.

At a planetary scale there are no unintended consequences or side effects. There are only inputs and impacts that cause other things to happen – down wind, down stream, down time. No actions are in isolation. That is the bane and benefit of being part of an integrated system of mutual dependencies. As such we need to be cognizant of the things we cause to happen relative to the productivity, viability and verdancy of the whole network of interactions.

Why this Site?

To understand, and hopefully resolve, many of the key issues with which we are faced it is necessary to think, act and design with a Planetary Consciousness.

I find that too many of the discussions, be it the economy, the environment and/or social issues tend to be viewed from the perspective of the priority of the individual topic.

What is increasing critical, as we move forward, is to focus on the nuance of the interplay of the different areas, especially in the context of the cumulative, collective and continuous needs, wants and desires of over 7.3 billion people. The discussions need to value and evaluate the interconnections, interdependencies and interactions of the different components and the ramifications of our actions on other and through time.

Earth is the only planet on which we can live – so thinking, acting designing in the context of its systems design is only to our benefit.