Introducing Craig Norris
There is a popular biblical analogy which says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Perhaps there is something missing to this axiom however. Our guest, Craig Norris would add, “Teach a man about fishing, and he’ll figure it out for himself.”
Craig is an entrepreneur and filmmaker, who previously spent time in the world of big business, but left due to a conflict of ethics and lifestyle. He now runs his production company, Video Band, and also an environmentally friendly daycare called Earthlings with his wife out of their home in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Recently, Community Forests International approached Craig after their brain trust had seen a nature documentary that Craig had produced. They wanted him to travel to Pemba, Tanzania in order to film a few instructional videos on agriculture, as well as a documentary about the work CFI was doing with the community there and their pursuit of sustainability. Pemba is a small island in the Zanzibar Archipelago, which had been mostly deforested. The deforestation caused more problems than just lack of wood and shade. Without enough trees issues arose including lack of fresh water, and under-performing farms due to lack of moisture in the ground. CFI had started a program to reforest the area, and in the last six to seven years have planted over a million trees with the help of the local community.
Craig was struck by Africa and the experience helped to dispel a lot of the stereotypes of the continent in his mind. These stereotypes include a perception of helplessness, danger, and corruption. In fact, Pemba was not hopeless at all; the only help they needed was a little information and a small investment of materials.
In this episode
- Craig lets us in on how Earthlings stays successful by staying small
- He also explains how he has cut the overhead on the daycare business.
- Craig tells us how the “Sally Struthers/World Vision” approach to aide often disenfranchises the residences receiving the aid.
- He tells us how the focus of his documentary will differ from many about the region.
- We learn way it is more important to “tell a man about fishing”, and let him figure it out for himself.
- We learn the importance of turning your ego off and focusing on listening.
- Craig also tells us how we can be ethnocentric even when we have the best intentions and about poverty of opportunity.