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2005:

A New Agricultural Revolution: Dr Ulrich Loening, Fellow, Centre of Human Ecology will give a lecture to the Botanical Society of Scotland: “A New Agricultural Revolution: another look at how plants protect themselves against pests and diseases” onThursday 17 November 2005.

Circuits of Power: Politics, Religion and Spiritual Ambiguity: Prof. Richard H. Roberts Department of Religious Studies, University of Stirling. Public Lecture.Contrary to the expectations of the leading academic proponents of secularisation and modernisation the religious factor now exerts a powerful, ambiguous and much disputed role in globalised world politics. This can above all be seen in the form of the radical religious conservatism, or ‘fundamentalisms’, found in the major theistic traditions. In an apparent polarity, proponents of ‘spirituality’ seek to energise and develop the interiority of activists who work for social and ecological justice. Simultaneously, however, global capitalism also seeks to appropriate, ingest and deploy spirituality as a resource to be used in the ‘manufacture of the human’. How, in this complex context, may we decipher and resolve some of these ambiguities and construct a committed, yet critical understanding of spiritual practice in the struggle for truth, justice and world peace?

Open-heartedness in the Face of Rootless Identity: Verene Nicolas CHE Fellow, Community Programme Manager. Human ecology is about our relationship with the environment, which is to say, with place. But what happens when many of us originate from family and cultural histories that have uprooted us from any meaningful sense of place? Does it leave us with no hope for being able to participate fully in place by, for example, expressing our activism in a rooted community? Or is the true location of sense of place the human heart, and by learning to open the heart we can start to heal relationship both with one another and with our chosen environment?

Complex Problems of Natural Resource Management and their Management by Non-Coercive Methods: Drennan Watson CHE Fellow. Problems of natural resource management now tend not to present simply as problems of biodiversity or pollution. The involve more often a mix of problems includiing such factors as bioinvasion, damage to soil systems, and disturbances of hydrology. They are dificult to approach piecemeal and require a more holistic, often ecosystems based approach.

Our ideas about the nature of ecosystems are changing and the diversity of stakeholders in such problems is great. We have relied heavily on regulation and creation of incentives such as grants or tax breaks to solve them but it becomes apparent that these alone are inadequate. A range of noncoercive methods have been explored to augement such measures including action research, participative approaches, and social learning among stakeholders (also called co-learning). This lecture explores the application of these approaches to natural resource management. It draws on two sources. One is the long history of “extension” in agricultural and rural development, with its diverse mistakes and successes in the use of non-coercive methods. The other is a recently completed three-year European Research programme Social Learning in Integrated Catchment Management and Sustainable Use of Water (SLIM). Water is so pervasive and interactive in ecosystems and involves so many human stakeholders that it is a good resource on which to base research into these approaches.

Drennan Watson is a consultant, researcher and trainer with an important part of his work focusing on the relationship between environmental stakeholders, communities, and the use of the natural resources around them in rural development. This has included the management of complex environmental and land use problems and the need to blend top-down and bottom-up approaches. To this end, he has pioneered the introduction of participative techniques of community consultation, rapid appraisal, and other methods such as stakeholder management. His practical experience has extended over the social and environmental impacts of agriculture, forestry, woodland management, mountain management, recreational land use and tourism development.

Training in facilitating Democs, a cutting-edge learning and democracy tool: New Economics Foundation in partnership with the Centre for Human Ecology.  Democs stands for Deliberative Meeting of Citizens. It is a new approach to involving citizens in public policy issues. It was developed by nef to make it easy for people to work out, share and express their views on complex topical issues, such as GM food, stem cell research, climate change and homelessness.

Integral Ecology – an evolution of consciousness?: Public Lecture. Nick Wilding will give an account of his journey into the world of Spiral Dynamics and Integral Ecology, informed by his connections with the Integral Institute and the Evolutionary Leadership network. This seminar will be an introduction to Ken Wilber’s integral framework and examine its promise to hone the effectiveness of spiritually-informed activists for sustainability.The seminar will also be seeking to encourage a dialogue between this presentation, and other perspectives on human ecology from those attending. The format for this evening will be convivial and informal.

Finding the Solution in the Problem: enskilling in relational Sustainability: Dr Justin Kenrick Dept. of Sociology, Anthropology & Applied Social Sciences, University of Glasgow.

Participatory Appraisal Event: Over the last two years or so the Social Inclusion project of Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme has been working on the development of a Participatory Appraisal Network (PA Network) for Scotland.

2006:

The Centre publishes ‘The Dream Job: 21 Steps to enhance Black and Ethnic Minority opportunities in Scotland.’ A scoping report on black and minority ethnic opportunity in Scotland.

Exploring Glasgow’s Vision: seminar on Thursday 23rd March which looks at progressive initiatives in Glasgow.
Economics and Reality:  Discussion Seminar with Jon Ralls, MA (Econ), MSc – Economist and Information Consultant. How ‘real’ are the axioms of conventional economics? How ‘real’ is its philosophical basis? What is ‘real’…? This exploration will draw on emerging economic thinking, quantum physics, biological systems, indigenous wisdom traditions…. your knowledge and wisdom.

Spirituality & Regeneration conference: Written by Centre for Human Ecology On 22nd October the CHE hosted the day conference jointly with the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF International), the GalGael Trust and Strathclyde University in the University’s Graham Hills Building. Over the past year WWF International has funded a programme whereby students have been supported to explore urban and rural regeneration in their MSc thesis work, receiving £500 research expenses and a further £500 incentive on publication in a scholarly journal. A dozen pieces of work are currently in progress and several of these were presented at the day long conference. These included Sam Harrison and Brian McQuade on their work with the GalGael Trust in Govan, Isabel Soria on conservation and spirituality on the Buddhist owned Holy Isle off Arran, Iain MacKinnon on eldership and cultural transmission in crofting communities, and Sibongile Pradhan working with women, empowerment and land reform on the Isle of Eigg. The conference was also addressed by Luc Giraud-Guigues of WWF International in Switzerland and Tom Crompton of WWF UK. A subsequent internal WWF report described the programme as “one of the most productive uses … I have seen” of WWF research funding, profoundly “relevant in today’s shifting sociopolitical milieu.”

Traidcraft plc commissioned the Centre for Human Ecology to examine the environmental impact of sugar production and to consider how this relates to Traidcraft’s strategic objectives. Traidcraft is one of Europe’s leading fair trade companies.

Alastair McIntosh is appointed Visiting Professor of Human Ecology at the University of Strathclyde.

 

 

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