The Path to Sense and the Carbon Taxation Mechanism paper

The Silva Elm name was first used for the company Silva Elm Consultants Ltd incorporated in 1978 with business focusing on the design and development of electronic systems. Gradually, the focus changed to software (embedded firmware) based developments with electronics design taking a decreasing role. By the 1990's, activities were solely focussed on Microsoft Operating System based software developments.


The Silva Elm name was derived by the company founders to serve memory of the elm tree which suffered a huge decline throughout England during the 1960's from Dutch Elm disease and reflected the deep concern for the environment. In fact, Dutch Elm Disease was labelled a major environmental disaster and attributed pandemic status destroying elm tree populations worldwide over many decades. One of the causes has been attributed to human interaction with the environment progressively reducing biodiversity.


Historically, such signs of human interaction with the environment and indeed impact on ecosystems are well documented such as localised disasters including the Minimata (mercury) Poisoning in Japan in the 1950's and 60's and the Great London Smog of 1952 that killed possibly up to 12,000 people - the pea-souper smogs (a combination of smoke and fog) are well remembered.


During the early year's of the 2000 decade, development started on an in-house software package that reflected the imperatives of tackling the Climate Crises - this package, named Environmental Reporting, was intended to target the specific need for Carbon Accounting to meet the 1990 United Nations "ecolimits" for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. This carbon accounting package was based upon the UK's DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Greenhouse Gas Reporting guidelines as it was at that time (circa 2005).


While the reporting requirements addressed direct emissions and indirect emissions resulting from purchased energy within an organisation, outsourced (upstream and downstream value-chain) emissions accounting was (and remains) at best imperfect if not excluded entirely: enterprises may grandly announce progress in emissions reduction, but may be based, at least partially, on outsourcing. Indeed, the UK itself by 2020 has made reductions in global emissions since 2010 but must be viewed in context of substantial outsourcing of manufacturing to Asia, notably, China. Furthermore, UK regulatory requirements for Environmental (including Streamlined energy and carbon) Reporting remain limited (2020) to quoted companies and enterprises with over 500 employees.


In contrast, the Silva Elm Environmental Reporting package was intended to target small / medium sized enterprises and even households. For the package to be useful, it was considered of critical importance that data entry/ record keeping and report generation be as user friendly as possible with data seemlessly transferred into a final document via a standardised reporting template.


Commercially available editors were not best suited for the reporting needs having legacy (archaic) formats dating back to at least the 1980's, so a bespoke report/document editor development began and continued under the aegis of Silva Elm Ltd formed in 2008. Development of Noteability, as the editor was first named, consumed all development effort while work on the Environmental Reporting package permanently stalled.




The Sense application was initially named Notability denoting the text editor's underlying object oriented format supporting flexible structure based navigation and editing.

During an early demonstration of Noteability, the structural composition of the documentation was duly noted and the Sense name was born - an acronym derived from the Silva Elm Notability Structured Editor.

For some years, Sense was available as two editions, Personal and Professional. However, as the product evolved with continued addition of new features and refinements, the relevance of Sense Personal steadily diminished and was finally dropped in 2015.

Many of the new features and refinements incorporated over the years are the result of user suggestions that has resulted in Sense morphing into an Outliner / Word Processor.


A variety of Sense Plugins developed over time have extended core Sense capabilities. One such, as yet unfinished, PDF Plugin development has, in part, held up further releases of Sense until late 2021. In essence, the PDF Plugin imposed profound redevelopment of Sense to support Pagination and accounts for the extra-ordinary delay between software releases involving both development and an elongated period of testing / software fix cycles - indeed much of the testing has been centred on the writing of a paper revolving around Climate Change and a consequent proposal for a Carbon Taxation Mechanism based on a globally applied, level playing field, Carbon Added Tax - the results of this work has been made freely available on this website as a request for positive action on a truly coherent global scale.

I must thank my wife for her support while I've toiled away on the various projects over the years and more recently over lockdown and beyond on writing the Carbon Taxation Mechanism document. I must also thank my son Antony for his unstinting support and valuable suggestions but particularly for putting so much inspired effort into designing the icons and logos.