Happy Birthday Mr Schumacher

In my house the ritualistic making of tea always causes something of a debate. The traditionalists amongst us prefer a brew from a pot of tea whilst others (myself included) like it best when it’s a single cup (or ‘tea bag tea’) as we call it… (although obviously all tea is tea bag tea!)…

Anyway today whilst at a brilliant training course at the Directory of Social Change in London I spotted that the kitchen stocked a healthy supply of Traidcraft tea bags. And the strap line on the side of the box was ‘small is beautiful’…Clearly the marketers had one cup tea bags in mind (as well as Schumacher’s book of the same name I assume?)

My first thoughts were (and I’m a little ashamed to admit this!) of irritation. “That’s Practical Action’s ethos- you’re stealing it!” I thought, in my naivety. And then after my hot head calmed down and I had a few moments of reflection I was immensely proud that this wonderful idea of Schumacher’s is branded onto an ordinary box of tea.

Schumacher isn’t just on tea – at the moment it seems that everywhere I turn I am coming across people and organisations who have been influenced by his great theories. Tonight I even discovered that the first charity for which I worked (the fabulously revolutionary Reader Organisation) takes some of its thinking from Schumacher’s writings on education.

This year Practical Action is celebrating 100 years since the birth of Schumacher. More than ever I feel so privileged to work for the charity which he founded and so incredibly proud that I can tell the world that small is beautiful was Schumacher’s idea. And that that idea is helping to transform the lives of millions of poor people around the world.

PS – if you’d like to watch Practical Action at the Gadget Show, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbWuTn6kgpw

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