How can people and nature coexist?
I have been monitoring environmental issues for over 20 years and have
seen a huge change in how society views the environment. Conservation concerns that
some once regarded as green scare-mongering are now mainstream issues.
There is a growing awareness of the problems of how the environment
should co-exist with modern lifestyles. To what extent should jobs come
before the environment e.g. threatened species? Does a concern for the
environment damage a national economy or enhance it? Are long term
considerations more important than short term ones? If so, how does that
fit with the typically short term view of politicians?
Should we protect key areas for conservation and exploit the rest of
the earth mercilessly? If so, who decides what is worth conserving? Is a
rare and little seen snow leopard more important than the common birds
which cheer us daily? A talk full of surprises and ethical dilemmas
designed to get an audience thinking and questioning.
I was responsible for designing and running several courses for the
University of Glasgow's environmental sustainability degree program, and
have also taught on environmental issues for the University of Edinburgh
and the Open University, and so am very qualified to talk
on this subject.
Other environmental talks
Our Energy Future -
Antarctic science -
The End of Nature -
Sea floor research
"For the second time, I must congratulate you on giving us a talk which was not only most professional in execution,
but also put over controversial and key issues in a supremely measured way.
All too often, those who climb on controversial platforms have their own axes to grind,
but you avoid this and instead present the information in such a way that your audience
can make their own minds up without any blast of heavily-loaded rhetoric from the
which may deliberately set out to distort or proselytise.
I think the audience appreciated this today - they were very attentive and it was clear afterwards
that many had gone away thinking in a very positive way about all the issues you raised - which was exactly what you'd intended!
Your images were superb, beautifully chosen and with the added textual elements so slick,
unlike so many speakers who overdo the text side of things on screen and bore the pants off one by so doing.
Presentations so often fail because of this but yours are so finely tuned and balanced and always timed to perfection.
We look forward to having you back amongst us - and many thanks again."
Margaret Wilkes, Royal Scottish Geographical Society (Co-Chair Edinburgh Centre) 2011