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1991-2000

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During this period, the Centre continued with its lecture series, and began to deliver its acclaimed MSc in Human Ecology, initially through Edinburgh University. In 1996 Edinburgh University decided to close the Centre down, but it continued independently, and the MSc continued from 1999 accredited via the Open University, while the Centre continued developing research, consultancy and other projects with a range of partners. The Centre hosted a number of distinguished speakers including Jane Goodall, Vandana Shiva, David Abram, and George Monbiot.

Partial chronology:

1991: Alastair McIntosh begins work on land reform through the Isle of Eigg Trust

1991: Lecture series: Ecology and Decision Making

1991: The Centre delivers the pilot for its MSc in Human Ecology, which will run at Edinburgh University until 1996.

1991/92: Lecture series: European Responsibilities for the Global Environment

Development, Debt, and social disaster: Jackie Roddick, Research Fellow, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Glasgow

A Third World World: Cristovam Buarque, Professor of Economics and former Rector, University of Brazilia, later to become Governor of the Brazilia District

1992: Lecture series: Beyond the Earth Summit

1993: Lecture series: Envisioning the Future & The Greening of Trade and Industry

1995: The Centre’s director, Ulrich Loening, retires but continues teaching as emeritus director. Edinburgh University’s first proposal to close the Centre, citing budget constraints, is rejected by the university court.

1995: Lecture series: Creating a Future, Practical Action & Views from the Humanities

1996: Lecture series: The Land and the People

Focus on the Countryside: Dr Eleanor Morris, National Trust for Scotland

Environmental Volunteers, New Attidudes for Old: Drennan Watson, consultant

Why Landownership Matters and What We Should Do About It: Andy Wightman, author and land reform campaigner

A Sense of Belonging – People in Lowland Communities: Reverend Kathy Galloway

Active Environments: George Monbiot, author and journalist

The Millenium Forest: Simon Pepper, Head, WWF Scotland

Problems in Partnership: Campbell Gemmell, Central Scotland Countryside Trust

The Landowners Perspective: Andrew Dingwall-Fordyce, Scottish Landowners Federation

Policy for the Land and Sustainability: Tim Birley, formerly Scottish Office

1996: Edinburgh University decide to close the centre. The University court cited a failure to create a viable future framework as the reason for this decision, but the move is widely believed to be political, with George Monbiot stating that “some of its funders were very uncomfortable with the Centre’s findings”. Following this decision, a meeting of students, directors and staff decide to continue the work of the Centre outside Edinburgh University, forming a limited company with charitable status.

1996: The Centre continues its lectures, now independently of Edinburgh University, with ‘The Politics of the Real World’ series.

Universities and the Real World: Robin Grove-White, Director, Centre for Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University & Board Member, Greenpeace UK- “We’re all working with different idioms for change in the world; the central problems are the shrunken assumptions of what human beings are like. Therefore we are all responding to issues raised by the same barren-ness”.

Economics of the Real World: Michael Jacobs, London School of Economics- In ‘Politics of the Real World’, the manifesto and economic policy agreed by Britain’s 31 leading environment and development charities, Michael Jacobs challenges our growth-oriented economic behaviour and reveals its implications for the environment, employment and quality of life.

The Social Contract Rediscovered: Roger Levett, CAG Consultants- Roger Levett will argue that neither markets nore mutualism offer an adequate politics for sustainability. Roger will argue for the almost-forgotten ‘social contract’ view that politics is about voluntary acceptance of individual restraint for the sake of the common good – and for a rediscovery of the central, indispensible role in sustainability of that unfashionable institution, representative democratic government (both local and national).

Changing Consumer Behaviour: Ann Foster, Scottish Consumer Council

Climate Change the Leveller: Real World to Real Politics: Aubrey Meyer, Global Commons Institute- GCI played a pivotal role in international negociations on global climate change, forcing acceptance of the principle of equity as fundamental to co-ordinated inter-governmental policies. Curbing global warming, Aubrey argues, requires ‘contraction and convergence’ of human consumption.

Poverty and Sustainability: Damian Killeen, The Poverty Alliance

Real Politics: A Scottish Perspective: Linda Gray, Scottish Education and Action on Development

Sustainable Politics? : A Public Debate: Scottish MPs- The Real World Coalition, representing millions of Britons, has issued a challenge to politicians: stop paying lip service to the sustainability agenda, and start making imaginative decisions that will improve our lives. Is it really that simple? The main Scottish political parties are invited to answer our questions.

1997: The Isle of Eigg residents successfully mounted a community buy-out of the land in 1997, supported by the Centre. The Centre’s assistance with Local Agenda 21 groups helped to catalyse many projects for local community and ecological restoration.

1997: Spring Lecture series: The Politics and Ecology of Food

Porridge? The Politics of Prison Food: Thomas ‘TC’ Campbell (‘Innocent Imprisoned’) Through 100-day hunger strikes and his refusal to eat prison food, TC Campbell
protested his innocence in his case of alleged firebombing of the Doyle family in the
so-called ‘Glasgow Ice-Cream Wars’ in 1984.

During Thomas ‘TC’ Campbell’s last hunger strike in prison in Glasgow, CHE Fellow Tara O’Leary had promised him a pint in the sure belief that Michael Forsyth would give the go-ahead for his case to be reviewed. Tommy has protested his innocence for twelve years, focusing attention around hundred-day hunger strikes and refusal to eat prison food as his sole weapon in an assertion of human rights. Fortunately, TC didn’t have long to wait, as he was released on bail pending review of a possible miscarriage of justice over his alleged firebombing of the Doyle family in the Glasgow Ice-cream Wars in November 1996.

Tommy opened our Spring lecture series with an inspirational account of his years in solitary confinement. Several years of legal scholarship have helped TC to refine his analysis of police corruption of our legal system, but his intellectual clarity does not make TC a dry speaker. After some encouragement, TC recited some of the poetry that helped him preserve his sense of personal integrity and love of life through his years of imprisonment. We were left in no doubt that TC has an important story to tell, and that he will tell it his way despite the sensationalist offers of the tabloid press. March 2004: Campbell’s and Steele’s convictions are quashed by the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

Transitions to Organic Farming: the Changing Face of the Countryside: Julian Rose, Soil Association: Julian Rose is on the Council of the Soil Association and farms 300 acres in Oxfordshire with cereals, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, a horticultural enterprise and a farm shop. Julian Rose took us as far from Glasgow prison as we could manage. Julian owns a farm in Oxfordshire, and is a Director of the Soil Association. His talk on ‘Transitions to Organic Farming’ described the complexity of the changing character of the countryside, and sparked a lively debate considering whether organic farming really can make a difference. Julian’s interest in theatre, and his conviction that we need to explore creative ways to create a culture which enjoys and celebrates food, was one of the gems of the evening.

Does the UK need an Independent Food Agency? Mike Rayner, National Food Alliance. Dr Mike Rayner is head of the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group (University of Oxford), and a trustee of the National Food Alliance, Chairing its Food Labelling & Marketing Working Group. He took us on an informative tour of UK Food Policy.

Small-Scale Food Producers: Safeguarding Biodiversity for Global Food Security: Patrick Mulvany, Intermediate Technology Development Group. Patrick Mulvany is ITDG’s food policy campaigner. He argues that the spread of industrial production systems has decimated small-scale producers who now need Rights, recognition and reward for their role in creating sustainable, biologically-diverse agricultural systems. Patrick took us to the heart of the debate on international equity and international food growers rights.

Our Planet on a Plate: the Impact of Modern Eating: Vicki Hird, Safe Alliance. The SAFE alliance is a coalition of 33 farmer, consumer, environment, development and animal welfare organisations committed to creating a more sustainable farming system. Vicki Hird has been SAFE’s Co-ordinator for 2 1/2 years. She talked of the Safe Alliance’s broad constituency campaigning for safe food in Britain, serving up a feast of suggestions for solutions.

McWorld on Trial- Taking on the Multi-Nationals: Dave Morris, ‘McLibel’ trial & campaign vs. McDonalds corporation. The ‘McLibel’ trial is the longest running civil case ever in British history. McDonalds corporation is suing the ‘McLibel Two’ over claims they made in a flyer campaign. Defending themselves, and calling on a vast array of expert witnesses, the trial has highlighted the many and complex issues concerning multinational corporations.

Dave brought CHE’s biggest ever attendance. 170 people crammed into Friends house to hear about the ‘McLibel’ trial ‘from the horse’s mouth’. Dave’s theme was ‘McWorld on trial: Taking on the multi-nationals’, and he spoke with unblunted conviction of the longest civil trial ever in Britain that has already eaten up four years of his life, but fashioned him and Helen Steele, his co-defendent, as an international cause celebre. Several newspapers picked up on his visit, and Dave reported that “It was a great trip – resulting in people coming together, discussions and debate, protests and loads of media publicity”.

A Marine Stewardship Council: New Hope for World Fisheries: Laura Cooper, World Wide Fund for Nature Endangered Seas Campaign.

Following extensive consultations, a Marine Stewardship Council will establish a broad set of principles for sustainable fishing and set standards for individual fisheries. Only fisheries meeting these standards will be eligible to use an ‘eco-label’.

Laura gave us a unique insight into the politics of establishing a Marine Stewardship Council. Working with Unilever and other key stake-holders, Laura is convening regional workshops world-wide in an attempt to protect the ecology of our seas. Her personal conviction that ‘social issues’ cannot be left out from such discussions meshed well with our knowledge of the decline of fishing communities in Scotland, and the need to involve local people in the creation of any ‘solution’ to what must be one of the starkest examples of humanity’s on-going rape of nature.

1997: Autumn Lecture series: Consumerism and Sustainability

Consumerism as the new Idolatry: Scotland’s most controversial theologian, Rev. Prof. DONALD MACLEOD of the Free Church College argues that we still worship Mammon- In partnership with Commonweal for the Alternative Commonwealth Heads of State Conference, Edinburgh

The Spell of the Sensuous- Why Reality doesn’t come in Packets: Prize-winning US author and eco-psychologist David Abram says that experience of sensuous reality- not accumulating possessions- is what being alive is really about.

What’s Need, What’s Greed? Paul Fitzgerald, of Manchester-based anti-consumerism campaign Enough!, co-ordinators of Buy Nothing Day, asks what would happen if every human had a western standard of living, and how campaigners against our unsustainable excesses avoid being seen as hair-shirt puritans.

Shop til you drop: the Shopaholics tale: Richard Elliot, Reader in Marketing, University of Oxford School of Management studies addictive and dysfunctional consumer behaviour.

I am not a free man, I am a consumer: Steve Miles, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Plymouth, author of ‘Consumerism as a Way of Life’, says that despite knowing it’s wrong, young people get their identities from ‘stuff’.

Come to Cancer Country: Alex Gardner, psychology professor, smokes out the manipulators of the tobacco industry and blows the fog from around the mind-bending techniques used to advertise it and other goods.

Shopping Mall-aise: Polly Ghazi and Judy Jones, authors of ‘Getting a Life: A Guide to Downshifting’ tell us how to abandon the rat race and live happier, more fulfilled lives.

1998/99: The Centre begins the People and Parliament project, chaired by Canon Kenyon Wright. This led to the publication of the report ‘Reshaping Scotland? The People Speak’ (1999), which profiled the Scottish peoples’ sense of national identity at the time of Devolution.

1998: Spring Lecture series: Practical People… Noble Causes. Speakers: Andrew Lyon, Forward Scotland; Cllr. Maureen Child; Sebastian Tombs, SEDA;Marian Mason, Sustainable Commuinities Project; Cathy McCulloch, Craigmillar EcoCity; Tess Darwin, Edinburgh Green Belt Trust; Gica Loening, Adult Learning Project; Colin MacLeod, GalGael Trust; Eirigg Scandrett, Friends of the Earth Scotland; Aine Kennedy, CSV Scotland; John Boyce, Pilton Community Health Project; Eoghan Howard, Wester Hailes Rep. Council; Nick Wilding, Centre for Human Ecology

1998: Autumn Lecture series, in association with the Society, Religion and Technology Project of the Church of Scotland- ‘Engineering Genesis':

Matthew Herbert, one of the Engineering Genesis speakers, shortly prior to an arrest on a GMO action

Rarely can a lecture series have been so well timed. In February, the story broke of the sacking of a top geneticist, Arpad Pusztai, following controversial results showing possible GM toxicity. The resulting furore brought genetic engineering to the forefront of public attention, and for two months the topics being discussed in the Friends Meeting House were all over tabloid front pages. Needless to say, this ensured good attendances for the end of the series, and our speakers took questions from what was perhaps the best informed lay audience in the country.

 

Highlights of the lecture series included the comment by Bruce Bennett, organic farmer and activist, that he didn’t agree with direct action, but he felt he’d had to do it anyway, and also the revelation from Monsanto’s Stephen Wildridge that he

Stephen Wildridge of Monsanto

thought the risks of genetic pollution are uninsurable.

“What you’ve got to remember is that Frankenstein wasn’t the monster. He was the twisted scientist so intent on fusing bits of different creatures together, that he was oblivious to the damage he was inflicting” ­ audience comment

Over 13 lectures we heard from people with backgrounds in sociology, ethics, animal welfare and journalism, as well as activists, biologists, and company executives, both in favour of and against GM technology.

Engineering Genesis: Engaging Science and Ethics: Dr Donald Bruce, Church of Scotland Society, Religion & Technology Project. The co-editor of Engineering Genesis introduces the series, illustrated with issues from cloning to patenting.

The Social Context of Genetic Engineering: questions of power, risk and democracy: Prof. John Eldridge, Dept. of Sociology, University of Glasgow

Letting the Genie out of the Bottle: the environmental crisis for the new Millenium: Dr Sue Mayer, Director, Genewatch; former Science Director, Greenpeace UK

Terminator Seeds and Postcolonial Farming: Rev Dr Michael Northcott, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

Not by Bread Alone? Why should we modify our food, and is it ethical? Prof. David Atkinson, Deputy Principal, Scottish Agricultural College

1999: The Centre becomes an accredited institution of the Open University. The MSc resumes, becoming validated by Open University Validation Services in the same year

1999: Spring Lecture series: ‘Engineering Genesis’ (continued)

Monsters and Myths: Genetic Engineering and Animal Welfare: Dr Mike Appleby, Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare, University of Edinburgh

We Protest: Bruce Bennett and Matthew Herbert, Organic farmer and environmental activist. Two people who believe a moral wrong is being done and, what’s more, have been prepared to act on their conviction.

The Battle for Consumer Choice: Catherine Brown (Food Writer, The Herald) & Bill Wadsworth (Iceland Frozen Foods)
. Scotland’s leading food journalist and a retailer committed to excluding GM foods from their products argue we have a right to know.

The Commercialisation of Agricultural Biotechnology: MONSANTO plc (Speaker TBC)

Genetic Engineering: Dream or Nightmare?: Dr Mae Wan Ho, Reader in Biology, Open University

A New Beginning or the Same Old Story?: Debate between Prof. Mike Wilson (Deputy Director, Scottish Crop Research Institute) and Dr Ulrich Loening (Academic Chair, CHE), chaired by Dr Donald Bruce.

1999: Ecofeminism course. Ecofeminism links issues of ecology and feminism, explores patterns of domination and destruction in history and leads to action based on new values. A six session course between January and March 1999 attracted 17 women of diverse backgrounds.

People & Parliament, with Vérène Nicholas and Alastair McIntosh on the steering group, sought to discern and clarify, for the Scottish Parliament and community groups, questions of identity, values, vision for the future and expectations for the Parliament. Over 450 group responses from more than 3500 participants were summarised and distributed to MSP candidates, Scottish MPs and MEPs, amongst others. Regional conferences in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glenrothes brought citizens and politicians together.

Popular Education Group. Vérène Nicolas works in partnership with Cathy McCormack and activists from Easterhouse, Glasgow on their project to create a Popular Democracy Education and Resource Group and Training Centre. She’s also preparing to introduce ‘Training for Transformation’ – a community empowerment programme developed in Africa on the principles of Brazilian Paulo Freire – to Scotland. She’ll do this through the new Popular Education Forum, which aims to encourage and develop popular education.

1999: Interdisciplinary International Conference: For the Love of Nature. Curated by Brendan Hill. Organised with the Institute for Deep Ecology (UK).

At the close of the twentieth century, there is an increasingly distant relationship between humans and the natural world. Loss of relationship can lead to abusive behaviour. As a result species disappear, the atmosphere is degraded, the tide of pollution rises, and first world consumption of natural resources continues unabated. In transgressing natural limits, we abuse nature at our own peril. As we move into the new millennium, we need to develop a sustainable relationship with the earth and all its manifestations.

For the Love of Nature? aims to inspire and empower us to work towards a more just and ecologically responsible society. The conference will give participants opportunities to share knowledge and resources, and will encourage collaboration in projects designed to achieve this aim.

Conference format:

For the Love of Nature? will bring together diverse disciplines and schools of thought and will encompass varying levels of participation from the theoretical to the practical and experiential. The format includes:

Keynote presentations by an international selection of leading practitioners and theorists.
Participatory seminars, academic papers, experiential workshops and trainings.
A full programme of arts and music.
Small ‘home groups’ where discussion and support will be facilitated.

John Seed will facilitate a three day deep ecology intensive.
Caitriona Reed will lead a deep ecology meditation retreat.
Alastair McIntosh, educator and Scots land reform campainger, will lead an exploratory Journey to the Hebrides.
Trees For Life will lead a field trip – Restoring the Scottish Wilderness – to present their work of healing this ecologically devastated land.
… plus many more.

Conference themes include:

Nature as Healer, Self as Nature: evolutionary and ecopsychology, ecotherapy.
The Others: interspecies communication and the sentience of all beings.
Knowing Nature and the Nature of Knowing: ecophilosophy, ecotheology, ecofeminism and postmodernity
Honouring Nature’s Patterns: green architecture and ecodesign.
Transgressing ‘nature’?: technology and responsibility.
Emerging Worldviews: environmental education, activism, politics and cultural change.

Speakers include:

Vandana Shiva – physicist, philosopher, feminist and campaigner on agriculture and genetic engineering; author of Staying Alive and Ecofeminism. (India)
Jane Goodall - chimpanzee ethologist and rainforest campainger; author of In the Shadow of Man. (UK)
John Seed – rainforest advocate, pioneer of deep ecology; originator, Council of All Beings and co-author, Thinking Like a Mountain. (Australia)
Aubrey Manning - animal behaviourist and presenter of the BBC TV series Earth Story, Professor of Zoology, former Chair Scottish Wildlife Trust; co-author of Animals and Human Society (Scotland)
Warwick Fox – environmental philosopher, author of Transpersonal Ecology (Australia and England)
Alastair McIntosh – indigenous land rights campaigner, author of the forthcoming Soil and Soul, and Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology (Scotland)
Robert Greenway – professor of psychology and wilderness leader, (Washington, USA)
Judy Ling-Wong – Director, Black Environment Network (UK)
Colwyn Trevarthen – Prof. of Child Psychology (Scotland)
Sarah Conn - Clinical Psychologist, Centre for Psychology and Social Change, Harvard University (US)
Mary Gomes - professor of psychology, Sonoma State University; co-Editor Ecopsychology (California, USA)
Francoise Wemelsfelder - ethologist, researcher on animal sentience (Scotland)
Elizabeth Bragg – environmental psychologist & Rainforest Information Centre (Australia)
David Devalle - philosopher (Wales)
John Talbot – Findhorn Ecovillage (Scotland)
Alan Watson – Trees for Life (Scotland)
Tania Dolley – UK Ecopsychology Network (England)
Michael Northcott – ecotheologian (Scotland)

1999: Autumn Lecture series: Globalisation and Community

The US, through the World Trade Organisation, targets the Scottish cashmere industry in the ‘banana war'; the Multilateral Agreement on Investment looks set to return; and the Euro is claimed to lead inexorably to closer political and economic union. What are the implications of globalisation in Scotland and beyond? Can these institutions be reformed – and to what ends?

With a Minister for Communities appointed and Land Reform legislation encouraging community ownership, what does ‘community’ really mean? With war and ethnic strife in the Balkans what can we learn about identity and belonging?

As ever the CHE Lectures bring together thinkers and doers – both world renowned and locally respected speakers who will contribute a wide range of perspectives to the debate.

International fisheries expert David Thomson will examine the loss of control of fisheries by local communities; community historian Camille Dressler will explore the successes and the failures of the Eigg Islanders; Director of the World Development Movement, Barry Coates, will present a campaigners perspective; and writer Kate Cairns will reveal the therapeutic role of communities in the dealing with violence and abuse.

Putting Our Foot Down: Ecological Footprints as a measure of our global impact: Mathis Wackernagel, Redefining Progress & Craig Simmons, Best Foot Forward

Planet Dialectics: Is globalisation compatible with sustainability?: Wolfgang Sachs, Wuppertal Institute, Germany

The Sea Clearances: development and the decline of fishing communities: David Thomson, Fisheries consultant and author

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow: What do we mean by ‘Community‘? Isobel Lindsay, University of Strathclyde

Caledonian Sisters: The emergence of a multi-identity Muslim population: Farkhanda Chaudhry & Sara Baker, Islamic Society of Britain

Community, a Source of Harm and Healing: Kate Cairns, James Nayler Foundation

Poverty and Prejudice: Community Finance as a route to social inclusion: Sara McGeehan & Thomas Fisher, New Economics Foundation

2000: Spring Lecture series: Globalisation and Community (continued)

Just Do it! Community ownership of Eigg: The story so far: Camille Dressler, Community historian

Democratising the Global Economy: Barry Coates, World Development Movement

Levelling up or levelling down? Lucy Harris, Consumers International. Protecting consumers in the global food market

Tourism ­ Saviour or Destroyer? A remote island perspective
: Dan Morgan, Centre for Human Ecology & Argyll Hotel, Iona

Special GM Foods event: In co-operation with the World Development Movement
and coinciding with the OECD Edinburgh conference on the scientific and health aspects of genetically modified food

The Inevitable Tragedy? Communities, commons & control: Michael Thompson, Musgrove Institute

2000: Publication of ‘Who’s A Real Scot: Embracing Multicultural Scotland’. Report of a visonary programme linking black and ethnic minority communities who are eager to shape a multicultural Scotland by engaging with the new Parliament.

-Providing Training for Transformation courses for “grassroots” community activists in areas of multiple deprivation in Scottish and English cities in partnership with Re:generate: the Action to Regenerate Trust (2000-present)

2000: Autumn Lecture series:

Land, Mind, Kind: Kenneth White, Geopoet, Sorbonne University

Is there a future for Africa’s wetlands? Camilla Toulmin, IIED and Ian Baxter (NAAG)

A peace of the action (with video!) Barbara McGregor, CND and Fiona Stephen (Anderson Strathearn)

Urban community regeneration: Gehan MacLeod, GalGael Trust and Martin Hulse (Cockburn Association)

Restoring the Earth: A positive vision for the 21st century: Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life and Mark Ballard (Reforesting Scotland)

Restoring the built environment: Ben Tindall, Tindall Architects and Ali Black (Save Hawkhill Allotments)

Bird and mammal re-introduction to Scotland: Roy Dennis, RSPB and Alison Johnstone (Save Meggetland Campaign)

continue to 2001-2011