Chris SunderlandDirector at Real Economy, Bristol Pound
Chris Sunderland has been, as they say, many things to many people. He has been a research biochemist, working in an Oxford laboratory at the cutting edge of biotechnology. He has been a vicar in one of the toughest tower block estates in the UK. He has become a storyteller, engaging with issues of public life.
Chris also is one of the founding directors of the Bristol Pound, the UK’s first city-wide local currency, the first to have electronic accounts managed by a regulated financial institution, and the first that can be used to pay some local taxes.
The same organisation is currently also developing a new food cooperative, called Real Economy, designed to get fresh food to people in the toughest circumstances.
Chris is convinced we are living through an age of deep change, when all of our cultural systems, including our politics, our economics and our religious institutions, are in decline and something new is emerging. At this moment the one thing human beings must pay attention to is our relationship with the earth.
The Bristol Pound and its sister project Real Economy are an attempt to give people a taste of a different type of economic system, that is led by values, full of relationships, and a driver of change towards a sustainable culture.
‘Our hope is that having our own local currency will focus people’s minds on all things local, and also on being creative,’ Chris says. ‘Sort of set us free from what is given to us from on top. To think again about how we relate to one another.’