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A Scotland Conservation Officer by Catherine Gemmel

I have always been a water baby. Any chance to go to the beach, stick my head into a rock pool or to swim in the sea I was there. As soon as I had the opportunity to learn to SCUBA dive with Aberdeen University I grabbed it so I could experience first hand the amazing underwater world. We are so lucky in this country to have such amazing experiences on our doorstep and I always knew I wanted to be able to give something back to the sea after so many years of enjoyment and wonder.

After graduating from Aberdeen University in Marine and Coastal Resource Management I started my first graduate job working down on the beautiful South Coast in Dorset as a Field Studies instructor with outdoor adventure company PGL. I spent two fantastic seasons introducing young people to the incredible world of rock pools, rivers, fossils and coastal formations. Being able to share my passion and my enthusiasm for the environment every day to different children, young adults and families was an incredible experience and there are moments of realisation in some of their faces that I will never forget. Read more

Food Sharing by Jess Acton

Food is a vital part of our lives. Nutritious and healthy food maintains, nourishes and heals us. Food is important to all cultures and the buying and eating of food can be a political act. We share food with those we love, as a ritual, at celebrations and to commiserate. It is an intrinsic part of our lives, beliefs, values, economy, culture and society.

Food also crucially links to many aspects of our environment. Our methods of food production, transportation, processing and consumption directly impact the environment. For example, a kilo of meat can require around 15,000 litres of water to produce, and 25 calories of fossil fuel energy per every 1 calorie of protein. Read more

Podcast: Pete Wilkinson Co-Founder of Greenpeace Talks About His Life

I imagine that nearly everyone has heard of Greenpeace.  It is one of the most famous non-governmental organizations in the world and it is reknowned for activist protests to protect the environment.  I did not genuinely know much about the organisation until the other day a librarian at Edinburgh Central Library told me I should go along to the Edinburgh Reads event as one of the founders of Greenpeace was going to be talking.

Two reasons compelled me to go along.  One – that our librarie are very special places and should be as well used as possible, lest we lose all of them in the cull happening across the country (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/12/library-campaigners-1000-closures-2016); the second is that I am concerned about our environment and it is always worth finding out more about how the organisations which occupy your landscape started.

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An Interview With A Development Worker: Shahid Khan

Shahid Khan is the founder and CEO of the Indus Earth Trust, a development project which is based in Pakistan.  In this interview he talks about his work helping people to build their own earthquake proof house, start their own business, and become an autonomous agent in the local economy.  Starting the informal interview out with questioning me, Alex Dunedin, about the Ragged University project, he then goes on to talking about his experience of trying to get people to adopt sustainable development techniques which take account of the cost to the environment. Read more

Podcast: International Waste Management; Crises and Opportunities by David Brown

Here David Brown, Waste Development David Officer for Derbyshire County Council, gives a talk about International waste management; the crises and opportunities which are presented to us.  In an age of neo-magical thinking, the culture which has developed is wasteful – that is, we imagine things both have no cost to the environment, and that our waste just magically disappears when it is out of sight.  This is the major crises of our time as we are discovering in quick and powerful terms that the planets resources (of which the ecosystems which keep us alive are included) are finite.

David talks about his work as an environmental officer and examines how waste is managed across the world helping us to understand the complexities and also dispel some of the myths. There are lots of different perspectives taken around the idea of recycling and preserving the environment, from the idea that it is expensive and wasteful in itself, to it is too late to do anything significant about the issues which have been created, and it is too complicated as a problem for us to deal with. Read more

Sustainable Business: Interview With Eleanor Cunningham Owner of Edinburgh Larder

This is an interview with Eleanor Cunningham who opened the Edinburgh Larder in 2009. In search for sustainable and ethical businesses, coming across Edinburgh Larder was a surprise. Combining locally collected and seasonal produce in recipes which reflect the flavours and tastes of Scotland, she has demonstrated that highly successful business is viable through sustainable practices.

The list of the suppliers she uses is impressive; when you go into the Bistro, you are met with a map of where the ingredients hale from, proudly naming the artisans involved. The Edinburgh Larder started as a café just off the Royal Mile and expanded to include a bistro in the west end of Edinburgh in 2012. At the Edinburgh Larder Bistro they organise events where people get the chance to talk about local produce and share some tasters. They also run foraging courses through the year – a particular delight are the 2 mushroom foraging courses in September and October. Read more

Sustainability in the Curriculum: University of Manchester

I was recently invited to sit in on a meeting of the Community of Practice at University of Manchester which is thinking through how to embed Sustainability across the curriculum. This area of thinking and study is massively relevant as it connects with each and every human and living thing on the planet. How we move into greater synergy with our environment and life supporting bio-systems is an emerging field which is complex and multi-disciplinary. Read more

The Benefits of Seed Banking, and Seed Conservation in Action in Islands of the Mediterranean Basin by Sarah Hansen

Plants play a critical role in maintaining life on this planet. They sit at the base of the trophic pyramid, providing food all the way up the chain to humans at the top. They provide services such as climate regulation and flood defence. They contribute to soil formation and nutrient cycling, and they provide us with shelter, medicines and fuel.

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Podcast: Lets Talk About Population Baby! By Brian Chrystal

Humanity at present is like lemmings preening there fur coats before going over the cliff, but we are taking many other species with us. David Attenborough has stated that he can think of no environmental problem that would be easier to solve with fewer people. The difference we can make is the difference between 8 billion and 10 billion but we can only do this by facing up to the problem and braking the taboo of talking about it. We do not need coercion, set limits or eugenics but we do need to talk. Read more