CHE contracted by Edinburgh Council to work with officers and Equalities Forums on engagement and participation.

CHE co-delivers 12-day training for 35 community leaders.


Ecological Debt: Judy Kelso, Friends of the Earth Scotland Ecological Debt is a concept that grew out of the work being done on the effects of financial debt repayments of the South, on the environments of these countries. By challenging conventional understandings of to whom a debt is owed (i.e. from South to North), ecological debt provides a new way of understanding the complex relationships that have determined our past, present and future lives. Drawing on her recent experiences in Ecuador, from where an international campaign on ecological debt is being led, Judy Kelso will explore the power of the ecological debt argument.

Training for Transformation: Nick Wilding, Stephen Kearney, Re:generate. Training for Transformation originated from the DELTA programme in Central and South Africa 30 years ago. It is now organised in the UK by RootSolution. This exciting programme combines discovery and learning at the personal, interpersonal and wider society dimensions of life. It explores community action focused on people’s own experiences. The training also encourages reflection on social issues, personal growth, listening, organisation, leadership, conflict and change.

Cave of Gold (video screening/discussion): David Halliday, TV & film producer/director. Video screening of the film ‘Cave of Gold’ (UAMH AN OIR) followed by question and answer session with the director, David Halliday. Director David Halliday’s mesmerising visual pastiche of Gaelic Legend and contemporary life creates a truly poetic vision of Scotland. Using state of the art stop-motion cinematography, clouds whizz overhead in time-lapse fast motion, framing both ancient standing stones and 90s shopping complexes alike. Powerful images invade the screen – an auburn-haired girl floating like Millais’s Ophelia, raging fires, monuments decaying before our very eyes – and haunting Gaelic folk songs and poetry beat relentlessly to complete the brooding ambience

From the Third to the First world, a common vision of popular education and transformation: Cathy McCormack, REgenerate. From her experience in Scotland, Nicaragua and South Africa, Cathy McCormack will outline her vision of a popular education that empowers the poorest communities all around the world to identify, understand and tackle the issues that profoundly affect them. Cathy is a passionate and inspirational activist who has been involved in the fight for justice for more than 20 years. She is now working as Network Co-ordinator for REgenerate, the Action for Regenerate Trust.

Material and Immaterial in the Scottish Landscape: Norman Shaw, Artist. Norman Shaw is an artist who works across a range of disciplines from visual art to sound art and writing. He has just completed a practice-based PhD at the School of Fine Art, Dundee University, exploring links between visual art and sound in the landscape. He will be looking at landscape art in Scotland with special reference to the last hundred years.

Influencing Global Change: the Greenpeace example: Michelle Sheather, Greenpeace
Strategic Nonviolence in an Age of Terror: Michael Randle Visiting Research Fellow, Dept of Peace Studies, Bradford University. Nonviolent action has demonstrated its capacity to bring about social and political change in a variety of circumstances, and even to play the pivotal role in overturning entrenched autocracies. But how relevant is it in an age of ethnic conflict and terrorist violence? The lecture will consider the dynamics of strategic nonviolent conflict and consider its scope and limitations in today’s world.

Michael Randle has been active in the nonviolent movement since the early 1950s. He was a member of the march committee for the first Aldermaston March in 1958, Chair of the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War from 1958 to 1962, and Secretary of the Committee of 100, which organised a campaign of civil disobedience against the Bomb in the early 1960s. In 1962-3 he was one of six people sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for organising an attempted occupation of the USAF base at Wethersfield in Essex. He was for many years a Council and Executive member of War Resisters International. In the 1980s he co-ordinated the Alternative Defence Commission which brought out two major reports on a non-nuclear defence for Britain and Western Europe.

He is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Peace Studies, Bradford University. His books include People Power, the Building of a New European Home (Hawthorn Press, Stroud, 1990), Civil Resistance (Fontana, 1994) and, as editor, Challenge to Nonviolence, Bradford University, Department of Peace Studies 2002.

The Impact of Agricultural Change on Bird Populations: Dr Jeremy Wilson,  Head of Research, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scotland. Deterioration of agricultural and grassland habitats for bird and wider biodiversity is one of Europe’s most pressing conservation problems. This deterioration has been caused on the one-hand by the continuing intensification of agricultural practice across the continent driven by production-focused agricultural policies, and the other by the abandonment of traditional, low-intensity farming systems in economically marginal areas. For bird populations, however, the future may be less gloomy than the recent past. Rapidly improving understanding of the ecological needs of species of conservation concern, coupled with gradual ‘greening’ of the Common Agricultural Policy provides the opportunity for management to restore populations of many species as part of a move to multi-functional agricultural landscapes.

Jeremy Wilson has been involved in research studies of the relationships between bird populations and agriculture since 1991, working for the British Trust for Ornithology, Oxford University and, most recently, the RSPB. He moved to his current post in 2001, and retains an interest in studies of bird conservation on farmland in a Scottish context.

Challenging Racism: Basil Manning, Centre Against Racism and Sexism, South Africa. An opportunity for people, particularly young people (15 – 25 years) to spend an evening with Basil Manning an antiracist campaigner from South Africa. Basil came to Edinburgh in the early 70s when he was exiled from South Africa for being part of the Steve Biko youth movement. He is now director of CARAS (Centre Against Racism and Sexism) based in Johannesburg and has run anti-racism workshops in many parts of the world.

Research that Works: developing action research in Scotland: Convenor: Cathy Sharp, CHE Fellow. A one-day developmental and learning event on action research held by the Scottish Civic Forum and the Centre for Human Ecology.

A Human Ecologist’s Journey: from conservation to human ecosystem management: Drennan Watson, Landwise Scotland. The basic demands of environmental management are changing fast and demanding new skills of policy makers and practitioners. There is little evidence that those involved – within or outside government are coping with this demand for new skills, and the higher education system is inherently unable to train people in environmental management. Drennan Watson, one of Scotland’s leading practitioners in human ecosystem management, highlights the challenges and suggests a way forward.

The Centre begins to deliver ECOPROJECTS. EcoProjects is a web based service which matches students who need a project as part of their university or college course, with environmental organisations who have research projects or investigations to offer.
EcoProjects was previously known as LEARN (Link Academic and Research Network).


2004: The final year of the Centre’s validation agreement with the Open University.

Collaboration begins with Edinburgh & Lothian Racial Equality Council to deliver capacity building training.

CHE’s first 3-day Training for Facilitators event for black and minority ethnic sector.

Collaboration begins with Dundee International Women’s Centre and with Meridian (Glasgow) to deliver capacity building training.

CHE launches Power, Participation & Leadership programme for community leadership in Community Planning.

The Centre publishes Peter Merry’s ‘Why Work?’ paper.

A Training for Transformation Workshop Series- Community Empowerment Programme is delivered by CHE in partnership with YWCA, Dundee.

The Centre begins to deliver the Scienceaid project.

The Centre delivered a number of seminars, workshops, and lectures:

The Reality of a Spiritual Dimension: Evidence and Intimations: David Lorimer Scientific and Medical Network/Horizon Research Foundation. If activism or any other activity is to be spiritually based, we may want to evaluate the evidence for the existence of spiritual reality. Paranormal and spiritual experiences and phenomena may shed light on this. What are some of the main research findings and what debates surround these?

David Lorimer, MA PGCE is a writer, lecturer, editor who is project director of the Scientific and Medical Network. Originally a merchant banker then a teacher of philosophy and modern languages at Winchester College, he is the author and editor of many books, most recently Thinking beyond the Brain. He is Vice-President of the Swedenborg Society and the Horizon Foundation (The International Association for Near-Death Studies UK). He is Chair of Wrekin Trust, a charity concerned with adult education, and of the All Hallows House Foundation, concerned with holistic health. He has a long-standing interest in the perennial wisdom and has translated and edited books about the Bulgarian sage Peter Deunov. He is also a member of the International Futures Forum. His book on the ideas and work of the Prince of Wales – Radical Prince – will be published in November 2003.

Corporate Accountability and Environmental Justice: Duncan McLaren Chief Executive, Friends of the Earth Scotland. Duncan McLaren will explore how environmental injustice is created by the actions and governance of corporations and the structures that support corporate expropriation of environmental and social resources. He will discuss proposals for political and legal measures at the national and international scales that could promote environmental justice by imposing new structures of accountability on companies.

CHE seminar: Wealth and Well-being: Hetan Shah Programme Leader, New Economics, New Economics Foundation. What is the point of economic policy-making? To increase people’s quality of life and happiness? Is that not the implicit reason for the relentless pusuit of economic growth? Then why, despite unprecedented economic prosperity, do measures of happiness remain stubbornly flat? What does this say about values, measures of success and targets for growth? What do we really need, and what would economic policy look like if it sought to primarily promote well-being? Hetan leads one of nef’s five programme areas – New Economics. He is a director of the Social Enterprise Partnership (GB) – an umbrella organisation of social enterprise support organisations. He is familiar with a range of impact measurement and evaluation techniques. Hetan has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford, and a masters degree in Contemporary History and Politics and postgraduate certificate in Economics, both from Birkbeck College, University of London. His research interests include systems thinking, alternative economics and human needs theory. Hetan was born in, and lives in, East London.

Earth, Spirit and Action: Alastair McIntosh, Verene Nicolas (CHE Fellows). Devon, UK. 3 week course at Schumacher College, An International Centre for Ecological Studies. With John Seed, Ruth Rosenhek, Starhawk, Alastair McIntosh and Verene Nicolas. Working for social and ecological change can be disheartening and exhausting. It can also be empowering and exhilarating, providing a way of connecting to the Earth and with other people. This course brings together dedicated environmental campaigners from three continents to talk about the principles that undelie activism. Taking their inspiration from Buddhism, deep ecology, systems theory, permaculture, and shamanism, they will work with participants to bring a vital spiritual foundation into the struggle for a better world.

Evolutionary Leadership: Peter Merry and Nick Wilding, Engage!Interact and CHE. Kerry, Ireland. Evolutionary Leadership Personal, organisational and social change – experiencing an integral approach. One week residential short course run by CHE and Engage!Interact in County Kerry, Ireland.

Linking Communities and Scientists: ScienceAid, Centre for Human Ecology. ScienceAID, in partnership with Friends of the Earth Scotland, aims to support communities facing environmental injustice – from polluting industrial plants and coastal fish farms to waste and extractive developments – to engage more effectively in decision making by having access to free, high quality, scientific advice. But is this feasible? This one-day seminar will examine the need for ScienceAid and the barriers to its implementation. Speakers include Friends of the Earth Scotland, community activists and academics already working to link communities with science.

Advances in Political Ecology: Joan Martinez Alier, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Author of ‘Environmentalism of the Poor’.

The Desire for Speed and the Rhythm of the Earth: Michael Northcott, Alastair McIntosh (CHE Fellows) and others
Centre for Human Ecology/Scottish Churches House, Dunblane. The desire for speed is central to the ecological and spiritual disorders of modern society. The economy and even public services are ordered around the value of efficiency which directs us to find the quickest way of growing food, getting from A to B, or caring for a sick patient. But people and planet are reaching quite literally terminal velocity as the speed of travel and communication shrinks the planet and shrinks time and space for traditional spiritual values and virtues. The rhythm of the earth and of our own bodies echoes the mind of God. Christian spirituality contains powerful resources for helping us to resist the quest for speed, to reorder our desires, and to slow down our lives.

Creative Conviction: Tessa Ransford, CHE Fellow. Designed and facilitated by TESSA RANSFORD for the Centre for Human Ecology with colleagues ANTONIA SWINSON (award-winning financial journalist/novelist) and DONALD SMITH (Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre)

Strategic Campaigning: Michelle Sheather & Claire Carpenter, CHE Fellow. Do you want to create a change in your current organisational situation, campaign, or issue? Do you need to take time and have support to focus, create or establish the goals that are relevant to your work? Do you need to influence another’s agenda? Solution:This unique 2 day course is especially aimed at: project and organisation managers, campaigners and activists in NGO’s, charities, local government and services, and at consultants delivering services to the Not for Profit and Social Enterprise sectors. It will be delivered by Michelle Sheather, long-term training consultant to Greenpeace International based in SE England and organised by Edinburgh based consultant and CHE Fellow, Claire Carpenter.

Ecoyoga: where yoga meets ecology: Nick Wilding and Nick Loening CHE Fellow. How do the principles of Yoga inform our Ecological awareness? Can we bring greater attention to environmental issues within the context of a Yoga practice? This weekend of practice, dialogue and inspiration offers a unique opportunity to explore these emerging questions. Rooted in the groups’ experience, we will explore together how our evolving Yoga practice may create a healthier, happier and more just world. Led by Nick Loening (director, the Yoga Centre) and Nick Wilding (Fellow, Centre for Human Ecology, Edinburgh and director, energise.org).

CHE seminar: A tendency to take over: Jon Ralls, New Economics module organiser. How did economics become so dominant in Western culture? How is that culture able to use it so effectively to dominate the world? Why were universities initially loath to accept economics as a discipline into academia? A selective and provocative history and discussion of the intellectual, psychological and cultural underpinnings of economics and economism, to help all of us to understand how things might be different.
Jon Ralls wrote and leads the New Economics module of the CHE’s Masters programme. A former investment consultant, financial journalist and singer, he now runs an internet business, wwwolf ltd, providing web services to (among others) the UK Social Investment Forum and the Ethical Trading Initiative. His passion is the healing of the perceived separation of the material and the spiritual, the objective and the subjective, through consciousness studies and by being conscious. He studied and played hard at Cambridge and City Universities (Natural Sciences, Economics and Information Science) and is constantly surprised at how useful it all remains.

Buying a Better World: can responsible public sector purchasing make a difference? Osbert Lancaster, Executive Director and Fellow of CHE. Following years of pressure from campaigners and a growing awareness of the risks of ignoring the issue, public sector organisations are starting to take account of the environmental and social impact of the products and services they buy. Osbert Lancaster will review the legal constraints and practical difficulties facing organisations, and highlight opportunities for them to contribute to ecological sustainability and social justice through their purchasing activity. Osbert will argue that public sector organisations in the UK have a real opportunity to be at the forefront of these developments internationally, and will suggest how they can take practical steps to make a difference. Osbert Lancaster BSc MBA is Executive Director of the Centre for Human Ecology, and previously led CHE’s work on business and sustainability. He is currently consulting to the Scottish Parliament on responsible purchasing, is a board member of Agenda: Social Responsibility in Scotland, and is a contributor to ‘Scotlands of the Future: sustainability in a small nation’, published by Luath Press. Before joining CHE Osbert worked as management consultant in Scotland and Eastern Europe, and as a business development adviser with small and medium sized enterprises.

Beyond “rearranging the deckchairs of the Titanic”: a social contract for sustainable business activity: Dr Christoph Bey La Rochelle Business School and CHE Fellow. Businesses command great financial resources whilst causing considerable environmental impact. Though many businesses claim to promote sustainability it is widely felt that sustainable development is being rendered meaningless by ecologically unsound practices. This lecture will explore, in a European context, ways to bridge the divides between the state, individuals and business in order to achieve real progress in sustainable development. Christoph is a researcher and teacher in strategic management and sustainable development at Groupe Sup de Co La Rochelle, a French business school at the Atlantic coast. With a background in biology and international business, he received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh for his thesis “Sustainable production, allocation and consumption – creating steady-state economic structures in industrial ecology”. This work examined current efforts in, and the validity of the scientific basis of the environmental management tool industrial ecology, demonstrating the danger of “greenwashing” in applying this concept and, consequently, the need for a proper economic-philosophical foundation. This research is bearing fruit in the form of several ongoing research projects with partners in Finland, Scotland and France. Currently, Christoph is engaged in work in the field of corporate social responsibility, leading to the submission of a French professorial thesis (“Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches”). His research inquires into corporate ownership structures and the resulting behaviour vis-à-vis assuming social responsibility.

An Uprising of the Soul: an activist’s view of spiritual activism: Norah Barnes, Activist. Norah Barnes will share her experiences as a peace activist and environmental campaigner. She will explore with the audience, the process of becoming an active, empowered citizen. This will be a participatory event. Norah Barnes has worked as an environmental educator and Countryside Ranger and has degrees in Environmental Science and Human Ecology. She is actively involved in the peace and anti-nuclear movement, including actions at Faslane Nuclear Base and the recent anti-war protests in Edinburgh and Glasgow. She is also a member of the Ploughshares Peace Group.

Systems Science, Social Change, and Engaged Buddhism: towards an integral practice for activists: Nick Wilding, CHE Fellow. What’s the next frontier for social change activists? Nick Wilding will conduct a ‘participatory lecture’ to look deeply at the evolutionary nature of social change… And the implications for activists in social and ecological justice movements. Nick will draw on insights from models of ‘integral practice’ suggested by Joanna Macy and John Seed (‘Deep Ecology’), Ken Wilber (‘Spiral Dynamics’), Arne Mindell (‘Process Oriented Psychology’), Sally and Anne Timmel (‘Training for Transformation’) and Peter Reason (‘Action Research’). He will propose that personal awareness practice (like meditation) can make more readily accessible insights into the structures of society that prevent us from becoming fully effective in service of our justice and ecology. Nick specialises in group facilitation and action research. He helped develop the CHE’s MSc Human Ecology and this lecture forms part of the ‘Self and Society’ module that he leads. He has collaborated with Engage! InterAct (Holland) to develop a ‘conscious leadership’ short course, works with the CHE’s Community Empowerment Programme, and is currently Development Manager of the CHE. For more, see his website: www.energise.org

Indigenous Spiritual Activism in Scotland: Alastair McIntosh, CHE Fellow. Alastair McIntosh will speak at ‘Indigenous Religions in Context’, a conference at Edinburgh University organised by Religious Studies in the School of Divinity in association with the College of Humanities and Social Science ‘Belief’ Project and the RICHES ‘Belief in Scotland’ Seminar Series.


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