Philosopher, founder and director of Programmes of the Schumacher College, International Centre for ecological studies, Satish is Editor Emeritus of Resurgence & Ecologist. In 1973 he walked 8000 miles to spread the message of peace around the world from New Delhi to Washington DC via Moscow, Paris and London.


How do we connect to nature to see its real value? Why should we aim for a ‘circular economy’ when dealing with nature? How, as stewards of nature, do we become humble? Why, as investors, should we be humble? Why is technology not the solution for all problems? 

Today a different conversation with an 85 years old author (his latest book is Soil Soul Society), philosopher and probably most importantly a gardener about the role of and our role in nature, what can investors do, how to be humble and much more. A lot of energy coming out of this conversation, because Satish might be 85 years old, but has more energy than most people we know! He insists that reverence for nature should be at the heart of every political and social debate.

A former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, Satish Kumar has been quietly setting the global agenda for change for over 50 years.

The Schumacher College 

Schumacher College offers “nature-centred or ‘ecocentric’ education,” where they teach their students to live in harmony with nature. They do this by having their students touch the soil and work with soil in Darlington Hall, a 1000-acre estate in the UK. They believe that farming is such an important profession, even more important than other industries such as banking and making computers. Schumacher College offers two programs: six-month Training in Gardening and a Master’s Program in Regenerative Food and Farming. At the moment, Schumacher College is looking for investors.  

“More than ever people around the world are rising to the challenge and realising that we are facing a climate catastrophe”. – Satish Kumar

Nature-Deficit Disorder 

The world is suffering from nature-deficit disorder. People feel disconnected to nature mainly because we do not spend enough time with nature. In order to be connected to nature and see its wonders, we must spend a few hours a day enjoying nature. Working in the garden, walking in nature, making nature-related art (e.g. photograph, poetry, painting, etc.) are just some of the ways we can reconnect to nature and see the power it holds. 

“Unless you experience nature, you will not value nature. Unless you know nature, you will not love nature. And unless you love nature, you will not protect nature”. – Satish Kumar

Embracing Circular Economy 

Right now, the economy is linear when it should be circular. We keep on taking from nature and end up wasting natural resources, not to mention harming nature (e.g. plastic in the ocean, sewage in the rivers, etc.). This is very different with nature’s process, because with nature alone, there’s no pollution and there’s no waste- everything that goes back to the soil regenerates and becomes usable again. Hence, we need to trust and imitate this process, which means investing in zero waste and zero pollution and ending the investments that generate waste, pollution, and carbon. 

“”Nature is not just a resource for the economy—nature is the source of life itself. Wise investment is investment in the economy which is mimicking nature’s economy, in circular economy. So make that as your teacher, nature is your teacher.” – Satish Kumar

The Best Investment

When investing in poorer countries with more degraded lands such as India and Africa, keep in mind that they don’t need to be industrialised and urbanised. Land is the best investment- land gives food, shelter, and employment. Investors also “have to be humble” and have to “respect the poor”, they know so much more than the rich. Most importantly, these investments should benefit the people the most, 80-90% of the gains should benefit the local populations, while 5-10% can be the return of investment. 

When you are going into the third world countries like Africa or Asia, do not think that you know better.” – Satish Kumar

Other Points Discussed

Koen and Satish also talked about the following: 

  • Chemical pesticides or herbicides and genetically engineered seeds should be banned if we want “good farming” in the future;
  • Technology is overrated. While it does help, the solutions it provides are not long-term;
  • More and more young people are becoming interested in growing food, and that is a good sign; ;
  • There is no shortage of energy, we have to be frugal, we have to use only what we really need, and not waste energy.



Feedback, comments, suggestions? Reach me via Twitter @KoenvanSeijen, in the comments below or through Get in Touch on this website.

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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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5 comments on “Satish Kumar – Be humble, you can’t outsmart nature

  1. Wilhelmina Hoedjes says:

    Thank you Koen, for bringing Satish Kumar into my life. He touches my hearth.

    1. Koenvanseijen says:

      Hi Wilheilmina,
      We are really happy and honoured to hear it.
      Many thanks for your comment!

  2. Mary Ann F. Ihm says:

    It was fantastic to hear Satish again. I became acquainted with Schumacher College when I was working on Vandana Shiva’s farm in Dehradun back in 2009.
    I started an organic teaching farm back in 1988. We have trained over 100 farmers over the years. I am 83 now but we have many young people who want to farm and apply regenerative practices.
    I have always had a deep appreciation for the soil, a living community, and a great reverence and love for Mother Earth.

    Thank you, Satish, for sharing your message. It resonates in my soul.

    Mary Ann Ihm
    Wellspring Organic Farm

    1. Koenvanseijen says:

      Dear Mary,
      So great to hear about your experience and work and we are also very happy you enjoyed the interview with Satish!
      Have a lovely weekend

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