A Short Biography
I grew up in England, went to University in California, spent many years living in the mountains of Nara and in Kyoto in Japan and then moved to a rural residential school in the mountains of Maharashtra, India, with my wife, Shino, and 18 month old daughter, Sitara. My life has been one of constant exploration, not compromise, and I try to offer what I have learnt up to that stage in my life with students and friends. I taught classes on Global and Environmental Issues, Native Peoples and Peace in my university courses in Japan and was lucky enough to live in a 200 year old Buddhist temple in a rice growing village for six years before moving to a wooden 'machiya' in Kyoto. I spent two years writing a series of textbooks for ESL students titled 'Looking Back, Moving Forward; An Environmental Course for the Next Generation', published in 2005 by Macmillan Language House, in which I tried to link the students daily lives directly with the environmental issues we face today in a student-based, active and creative form. I moved to India in the Fall of 2006 to experience teaching environmental education directly to younger students in their first language (English), to take a one year Green Teacher Diploma in Environmental Education and to share the first years of my daughter's life in a rural and thus non-polluted environment where she could absorb the beautiful surroundings with freedom and glee!
I have always had a deep interest in the traditonal cultures and spiritual beliefs that have arisen around this earth.This has led to my having spent much of my life since I first travelled overland for a year from England to India when I was 21 in the exploration of over 35 countries, mainly in Asia. I also love to travel by bicycle and have made numerous eight-ten week journeys bicycling and camping in Northern Japan and the Celtic areas of Britain and Eire. My main interest in recent years has been to learn about the causes, effects and solutions to the environmental problems that confront our Earth and to share my discoveries in a creative and personal way through engaging, place-based educational activities. By example I am also trying to show the beauty of a simple,vegetarian, traditional and sustainable lifestyle that is constantly growing in awareness and shining with hope. Finally, I am slowly moving forward in becoming established in Vipassana meditation, a path I have been on for nearly 30 years!
My musical taste has been deeply influenced by my travels. I love the contemporary and traditional music from West Africa, especially Mali and Senegal, India, South America, the Middle East and Japan. Reggae has been a major music in my life along with blues, jazz, rock and more recently, socially conscious hip-hop. And then there is of course always Tchaikovsky!
My favourite contemporary directors are Akira Kurosawa, Jim Jarmush, Wim Wenders, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. I like most non-mainstream films that have been appearing from such countries as China, Iran, Iraq and Mongolia in recent years that look at an event in the life of common people.
My favorite sports
Bicycling, Hiking, Tennis, Squash, Frisbee, Carrom
My favorite books
Having been a literature major, I could go on for ever here. How about favourite ten writers??
Dostoyevsky, Thomas Hardy, Virgina Woolf, Joseph Conrad, Kafka, Rohinton Mistry, Salman Rushdie, Gunter Grass, Dickens, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Also, the poems of Gary Snyder, Wallace Stevens and Rilke and the writings of the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Wendell Berry and the Buddha.
2007/September Clear Lake; North California