Eden at 10 – What a disused clay mine taught us about good leadership of people and projects

'Eden Project is 10' logo
'Eden Project is 10' logo

When you think of the Eden Project you think of plants. So the book about ‘Eden‘ by it’s founder, Tim Smit, is going to be about plants.

In fact, there are hardly any plants in ‘Eden’. There’s no room for them because on every page there are portraits and portrayals of the people who worked to bring us the Eden Project. There really are loads of them and their story is fascinating.

Harnessing people to a dream

We think of the Eden Project as being built of ethylene¬†tetrafluoroethylene but it is in fact made from people. The people in ‘Eden’ swarm like a bivouac of worker ants, linking up to nurture and protect something truly unique and valuable, and at the centre of it all – holding the concept – is Tim Smit.

The Eden Project is about plants but the reason is people. It was launched to be an educational and social enterprise that would demand public attention on a superb scale. But such ambition does not deliver itself easily. ‘Eden’ captures and emphasises the depth of enterprise, teamwork and leadership that went into the realisation of an attraction that over 10 million people have travelled to experience, and which to all intents and purposes had its genesis in a Cornish pub.

Tim Smit uses the opportunity of ‘Eden’ to reel off his thanks to as many of the characters as he can who mucked in along the way. He gives each the stage and tells us about what they did, how they did it in their own unique way and how none of the Eden Project would have been possible without them. But the book is not just an extended acknowledgements page; it is a great story with as many vivid twists and turns and suspenses and feel-good endings as any classic of fiction.

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Sustainable Surfing – 5 sites to tap into the COP15 feeling

With COP15 very much in the frame, I thought I’d share 5 useful web resources (linked to the environment and living green) that make smart uses of the web:

WalkIt.com– Walking in and around town is the smart choice – no timetables, no delays, no jams, healthy, green, free, with easy access to services en route. WalkIt provides a route map between any two points, including your journey time, calorie burn, step count and carbon saving. WalkIt covers over 20 cities; I’ve used it in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London and it is brilliant. Good blog too.

MunroMagic.com – If you want to experience the scale and power of the environment, then take a train to Scotland and go climb a Munro, Corbett or Graham. All 283 Munros, 221 Corbetts and 224 Grahams are covered in detail including descriptions, pictures, location maps, walking routes, weather reports. Much of which is generated by the people who do the climbing.

PrintFriendly.com

I use this site all the time because, let’s face it, people still need to print on occasion. PrintFriendly makes printing from the web better. Their algorithm removes ads, navigation, and all the junk you don’t want to print. They use ‘best practices’ in print typography to format your document for great readability. You can also use to create PDF docs.

EdenBee.com

I’m not a member of this hive of climate change activists but I’ve been watching this community for a couple of years and have been impressed by the scale and frequency of activity. There’s lots to like about this issue-based network – from the Rails platform to the goals-based interaction between members.

EdenProject.com

The whole story of the Eden Project – then and now – is inspiring. I think every area in the UK should have an Eden Project but until that happens the website is the best [but one] place to be part of it. It’s a great point to start on a journey of greater appreciation for the environment and the way humans can live sustainably. Start with the site, radiate out to the YouTube channel and then who knows where.