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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: Food Inc; The Film And A Discussion

Food, Inc. is a film about what is happening to our food chain.  Every month, we watch a film, have some food, and discuss what we saw at the Serenity Cafe. The food we had was vegetarian curry made with organic ingredients donated by the Ragged community so we could have a community meal.  The film was about the increasingly unhealthy way our food is produced such that the methods are damaging the environment, abusing workers, and having cruel disregard for the animals.

Made by the Emmy award winning filmmaker Robert Kenner, it’s primary focus is on the United States, however this is now relevant worldwide as the companies which it examines – and the methods of production – are multinational.  These are not American problems, these are world problems.  The corporations which have come to dominate the world production of beef, pork, chicken, maize, soy, potatoes and other staples, are not rooted in any one single country – they have global reach.

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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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