Quick update to let you know that the http://www.teamn2i.com/ website, which was down at the time we posted our interview with Henry Cookson, is now back up and running.
In the meantime we've also just heard from Henry that he's on his way up Aconcagua in the Andes. We wish him best of luck! If you want to follow the expedition, head over to: http://www.humanedgetech.com/expedition/amg/
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Quick update to let you know that the http://www.teamn2i.com/ website, which was down at the time we posted our interview with Henry Cookson, is now back up and running.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Knoydart - often referred to as "Britain's last wilderness" - has some talented young film makers among its inhabitants. Ten children aged between 4 and 11 have made a film which has been nominated for a National First Light Movies Award. The film, called MUNCHATREEAFOREST, was selected from over 100 films, and is now one of three films in the Best Film By Under 12's category. Munchatreeaforest is the only Scottish film in it's category.
The award is being decided by a Public Vote. The deadline for voting is 10th January 2008. Anyone can vote whatever your age, adult or child.
To vote email firstname.lastname@example.org and say what you like about the film/why you think it should win.
Munchatreeaforest is about a forest regeneration scheme in Knoydart and the effect it has on the children's lives. The children care deeply about the forest and spend much of their time there. The film explores their hopes and fears about the destruction of the forest.
If you haven't seen the film it is available to watch along with the other nominated films at www.filmstreet.co.uk (you will need a high speed broadband connection) or contact Grant Holroyd at email@example.com or on 01687 462560 to get a copy on DVD.
Good luck to everyone who has entered the competition.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The annual Billericay Christmas Festival took place on 5th December and Essex ACF C Company where there to raise funds for their South Africa Expedition in October 2008.
This will be the first year that Essex have undertaken a wilderness trail with us, however this is building on the success of previous trails run with Norfolk Army Cadet Force.
We're delighted to have Essex ACF on board for 2008.
To read further details of C Company's efforts visit: http://www.essexarmycadets.co.uk
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
You may recall that our Friend and colleague Mary-Jayne Rust ran a successful workshop for the Foundation in June 2007 - The Power of Wild Places. Mary-Jayne has brought us advanced news of a new residential workshop that she will be running in June 2008:
Therapy with the Earth in Mind
Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd June 2008
A weekend residential workshop in North Norfolk for therapists who wish to
explore ecopsychology in practice.
Using experiential exercises, reflection and discussion, indoors and outdoors, this week-end will be a chance to explore areas such as: attachment and bonding with the other-than-human world; our response to increasing trauma in the world; environmental concern as part of recovery ecologically based spirituality as ever day practice. There will be ample opportunity to discuss how these issues come into our therapy practice and how me might respond.
£225 including accommodation and meals. 9 spaces available.
Deadline for bookings 30th April 2008.
For forms and more info see www.norwichcentre.org Tel: 01603 617709
Friday, December 07, 2007
The Worlds Monument Fund Britain are hosting a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 19th February next year.
We are very excited to have the renowned writer Jay Griffiths speaking for us about her recent book 'Wild: An Elemental Journey'. The book focuses on the time she spent living with indigenous societies across the globe and describes the intimate relationships they have with the natural environment. The book also touches upon how the wilderness is interpreted by differing cultures and religions, and argues that wild land is intrinsic to the health of the human mindHenrietta Pound, WMF
Jay is a popular speaker and author and was a resounding success when she was our guest with the Gaia Foundation earlier this year. As a Friend of WFUK, you could be eligible for a reduced rate ticket so make sure you mention the Wilderness Foundation UK when making further enquiries. Visit http://www.wmf.org.uk for booking details.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Earlier this month we held an intimate event at the Troubadour Club in London where the explorer Henry Cookson, a member of the first British/Canadian expedition to reach the rarely conquered Pole of Inaccessibility, talked about his experiences and showed us some amazing slides.
The pole of inaccessibility is the furthest point from the southern oceans in Antarctica and Henry and his colleagues (Rory Sweet, Rupert Lonsdon and guide Paul Landry) are the first team to reach it without aid - hauling and kite-skiing essential equipment across 1,700km of wilderness at altitudes of up to 3500m and coping with temperatures of up to -50 centigrade.
In fact, the only people there before them was a Russian mechanised military expedition in the fifties - hence the Lenin statue you'll see the amongst the pictures Henry kindly let us use to illustrate this mini-interview with him about Antarctic Wilderness:
If you want to know about future events like these, consider becoming a Friend of the Foundation. Also, do sign up for our RSS Feed or get it by e-mail. We also have an occasional e-mail newsletter not to mention a Facebook Group.
For more visuals from Henry and the team - Check out the teamn2idotcom videos on you tube including: Kite Skiing / Snow Kiting to the center of Antarctica and Extreme Ironing in Antarctica.
You can read BBC coverage here and here and also see their route on a map.
Do share this with friends - Set of links for that purpose immediately below.
This weekend there is a conference at the Royal Geographic Society which covers all things adventure related from small weekend trips to major polar expeditions. There are a series of seminars, stands and a great opportunity to network with adventures, field doctors, insurance specialists, researchers, equipment guru’s – you name it!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Thank you to everyone who bought a Wedge card for use in London and chose the Wilderness Foundation UK to benefit from the scheme.
We are sorry to say that despite the success of Wedge, the operators are changing the model to fund just one charity per month and because WFUK is based outside of London, we will no longer be eligible to benefit from the scheme. We are sad about this, but understand why the operators are changing the terms of the scheme.
Of course you can continue to support WFUK and we need your support now as much as ever. The threats to the worlds last remaining wilderness areas have never been so great.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Friend of the Foundation and fine artist Annabel Pope launched a solo exhibition on Monday of this week. Entitled "Living Energy", the collection displays a stunning array of images inspired by the natural world.
The exhibition runs until 24th November 2007 and can be viewed at:
We hope you can make it.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Head over to the New York Times Review of Books to find a nuanced (and critical) review by John Terborgh of the new book The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization - Here's a brief extract from the review to whet your appetite:
After five centuries of ignoring the north, powerful interests in the south have recently taken interest in the resources of the Amazon, precipitating a paroxysm of change in the north that will affect the entire world. Politics will guide the course of change but how, and for what reasons, remains uncertain, for internal and external forces are pulling in opposite directions. Internal forces, large corporations among them, overwhelmingly favor rapid development of the Amazon—expansion of the logging, mining, and agricultural frontiers. By contrast, those concerned with the world environment view the "loss" of the Amazon as an impending global tragedy. They want to find ways to sustain the vast forest, and with it, an unrivaled wealth of biological diversity, hundreds of indigenous tribes, and, of increasing importance, the vast store of carbon contained in the Amazon's trees.This is one of the key questions to be addressed at the forthcoming World Wilderness Congress, to be held in South America in 2009.
How will these tensions play out? What happens to the Amazon over the next two or three decades may prove decisive in the world's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. If the Brazilian government continues to take a cautious approach to energy policy, as it has for several decades, and makes an effort to plan and control development in the Amazon, the area could serve as a model for the world's remaining regions of forest wilderness—among them the Congo basin, Siberia, northern Canada, and the outer islands of Indonesia. But if Brazil chooses to follow a business-as-usual policy—a laissez-faire, Wild West scramble for resources—it could push the South American continent, if not the world, over a climatic tipping point from which there would be no return, a prospect that should be of concern to everyone on the planet. - Full review and further John Terborgh articles.
Further South American/World Wilderness Congress reading:
Thursday, November 15, 2007
We recently had an opportunity to catch up with Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop, intrepid Wilderness expeditioner and educator. Jamie also somehow finds time to run an impressive string of entrepreneurial projects making a real difference. These include Offscreened which takes young people to the Middle East on cultural interchange, iNomad which is all about communicating discovery and last but most certainly not least Digital Explorer which you can learn more about if you keep reading.
Here's what we asked, and what he said:
• You’re an expeditioner with plenty of Wilderness experience – could you tell us a bit more about that and also who or what inspired you to get out there (I’m thinking of the mentor you mention but go as broad as you like)
I was very lucky to be let loose in the Scottish highlands as a child. As a family we went up to the Cairngorms every year and it was amazing to roam for miles around and not see another person. I first learnt about wilderness and nature during these trips. When I was a teenager I had the fortune to go on a two week Outward Bound type holiday led by Richard Waite. Richard invited me back for the following two years to help out with other trips. In terms of bringing the wilderness to young people, I would say that he was a definite mentor, and it is thanks to him that I am now leading youth expeditions. Heinrich Harrer is also to blame. I read Seven Years in Tibet whilst ill when I was fourteen. I had roamed Tibet and the Himalaya for years in my mind, before I finally got there aged eighteen. Six trips later and they still bowl me over – they are awesome in the true sense of the word and contain a deep spiritual essence.• On the entrepreneurial side you have three great projects on the go – do you use anything you learnt in Wilderness to deal with the sometimes more city-based challenges one faces as an entrepreneur?
When the going gets tough, I find myself reaching back to expeditions. Having a mental toolkit of head down, 5,000 metres up, head-throbbing pain, difficulty breathing, snow in the face and visibility down to a few yards makes a late night or two much easier. On expedition you get up every morning and put your mind and body through it all again. You’re tired, muscles ache, fingers are numb and you just get on with it. I think expeditions really give you two important qualities as an entrepreneur – determination and courage. I don’t have a head for heights and so Himalayan expeditions are something of a mind over fear over body juggling act. When I am fearful of taking a plunge in business, it is never as bad as telling myself that I won’t fall off. The consequences of a slip in business are never as bad as they are in the hills.• You somehow also find time to teach – any advice for teachers?
I think I could do with a lot of advice from my colleagues. I am surrounded every day at school by such wonderfully committed and talented teachers it humbles me. I think that I would have some advice for the people who are a bit higher up in the educational food-chain. It would be nice to see some real financial commitment (and extra time) to help teachers equip the young people of the UK properly for life in a globalised world and inspire a greater sense of environmental guardianship. I would love to have the time and funds to introduce all my pupils to a wild place.• Specifically for the work you do with building skills for Google Earth – any advice for our trails alumni?
Google Earth is the best platform I know for presenting journeys. A 3-D earth that spins and zooms and tilts – magic! In terms of building skills, I have been training educators and expeditioners for about a year (and have trained over 100 people now). I have put all the resources that I have developed on http://digitalexplorer.co.uk/google-earth/. If anyone who reads this needs more help then get in touch or come on a course.• Last but not least, have you got some book recommendations for our readers?
I am really enjoying ‘Wild’ by Jay Griffiths at the moment. It is an evocative ode to the wilderness that is fast disappearing in the world and within ourselves. Her language is beautiful and has a rich earthy flavour. The other book I enjoyed recently was Robert Macfarlane’s ‘Mountains of the Mind’. In terms of the Himalaya, there are two wonderful books ‘Snow Leopard’ by Peter Matthiessen and ‘A Journey in Ladakh’ by Andrew Harvey.Great insights and as for Google Earth - We're hoping to get together a workshop for our Trails Alumni on this subject drawing on Jamie's superb Digital Explorer materials.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Our friends at Gaia have a busy month of activities planned for November. Here are some details for you:
Resurgence Magazine and Friends of the Earth present: Climate Stability: Addressing the Root Causes rather than just the Symptoms
Wednesday November 7 2007
The Politics of Climate Change: developing an all party approach to mitigate global warming. With Michael Meacher, former Labour Environment Minister; Peter Ainsworth, Conservative Shadow Secretary for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary; and Siân Berry, Green Party National Speaker.
Tickets on the door: £15.00 per person per event. £30.00 for all three events, concessions £10.00 per event, £20 for all three. Restaurant and bar facilities are available. Accessible for the disabled. RSVP: Peter Lang, Resurgence Events Director firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8809 2391. Supported by the Royal Mail.
6.30pm at Cecil Sharpe House, 2 Regents Park Road, Camden, London NW1 7AY
Eco Happiness: Consumerism, Happiness & the Environment
Friday November 9 to Sunday November 11 2007
A series of discussions to consider what realy makes us happy and explore how our consumerist lifestyles are spoiling our lives and our beautiful planet. With Peter Lang of Resurgence Magazine.
To be held at Braziers Park School for Integrative Social Research, Ipsden, Oxon. £160 for the weekend in single room, £135 sharing, including meals.
More information from Braziers Park on 01491 680221, email@example.com
School of Economic Science Annual Economics Lecture
The Transformation of Economics: Natural Law, Economics and the Great Jurisprudence
It is easy to point to the many failings of contemporary economics. Climate change, poverty, excess, debt, consumerism and social insecurity are all well documented and widely reported. But what is the alternative? How can economics point the way to a world that offers peace, security, freedom and prosperity to all its inhabitants? Ian Mason, Head of Law and Economics in the School of Economic Science, addresses these questions in this year’s annual lecture.
Hinde Street Methodist Church, 19,Thayer Street, London, W1U 2QJ
Tuesday 13th November 2007, at 7.15 pm
Admission: £5 booked by phone – 020 7034 4000
£6 on the door
The price includes refreshments during the interval.
This is a public lecture to which all are welcome. Please bring anyone who may be interested in these urgent, topical issues and pass the invitation on to anyone who may be interested.
Be the Change
November 15 to 17, 9am - 6pm
An event at which you can really get a sense of what is happening in our world at this time. This very special event has the potential to spark and kindle a profound and deeply positive response. Join businessmen and coaches, politicians and activists, scientists, educators, students and artists – indeed leaders from all fields, as we seek to understand, and implement, lasting change in our world.
Speakers include George Monbiot, writer and campaigner; Prof. C.S. Kiang, renowned Chinese environmentalist; Nicky Gavron, London's deputy mayor; Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Towns movement; Bianca Jagger, chair of the World Future Council; Miriam MacGillis leading voice on New Cosmology; Jonathon Porritt, Britain's leading sustainability advocate; Simon Kellner, editor of The Independent; Frances Moore Lappé, American author now immersed in the
'living democracy' movement; Vandana Shiva, physicist; and others. Premier of the major new documentary film “Crude”, and live video link to a global alternative
economics thinktank at Schumacher College. Central Hall, Parliament Square, Westminster, London SW1.
Jeevika Lecture 2007: ‘Living Economy, Living Democracy’, by Dr Vandana Shiva
Monday 19th November 2007, 7.30pm
Reith Lecturer in 2000 and founder of the Living Democracy Movement in India, Dr Shiva will argue that the economics and politics of globalisation are proving bankrupt, indeed suicidal, for all but a few of the human species. She will remind us urgently that there is a more balanced, a more sustainable, a more hopeful model for the planet to live by – not only for the earth's 1 billion rural dispossessed (280 million of them in India), but for all of us.
Human Rights Action Centre, Amnesty International, EC2
Tickets (£10, £7 concessions) and full details available from firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling Rosemary (Monday - Wednesday) or leaving a message on 020 8973 3773
Gaia: Relating the Myth, & the Hypothesis to our Everyday Lives
Thursday 29th November, 7.30-9pm
With Jules Cashford, author of The Moon: Myth and Image (Cassell Illustrated, 2003), and co-author, with Anne Baring, of The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image (Penguin 1993).
Jules read philosophy at St. Andrews and did post-graduate research in literature at Cambridge, on a Carnegie Fellowship, studying for a PhD on Tragedy in the novels of Joseph Conrad. She is a trained Jungian Analyst and member of the International Association of Analytical Psychology. She has translated The Homeric Hymns for Penguin Classics (2003), and now writes and lectures on Myth and Literature.
Drinks and buffet at Gaia House, 18 Well Walk, London, NW3 1LD, from 6.30pm
7.30 pm Talk and Discussion at Burgh House, New End Square, London NW3 1LT. Opposite Gaia House
Nearest tube Hampstead – Northern Line - A contribution of £7 would be appreciated
We do hope you can make it. RSVP to Sarah Nicholl on email@example.com or 020 7428 0055
As always, please mention WFUK when enquiring or booking any of these events. Thank you!
We'd like to bring you news of this new course from our friends at Natural Pathways:
15th December 07 - 10.00am-3.30pm
On this action packed course, you'll learn:
The ideal type of fire to build. We'll show you a quick and easy way to build a fire that's simple to light - easy to keep going - and burns nice and hot. This is an essential skill to learn.
Where to find and gather an endless supply of DRY firewood... even if it's been RAINING. Even if the ground's wet and damp - you'll know exactly where to look - and WHAT to do - to find DRY wood for a roaring fire.
3 ways to build a "debris" shelter that'll keep you warm... dry... and as "snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug." Once you know these 3 simple shelters - you'll be able to adapt them for use in many situations.
A quick and easy way to light a roaring fire... WITHOUT matches or a lighter. Just by using a special pocket size fire lighting "tool" - you'll never have to worry about losing a gas lighter - or trying to use damp soggy matches - EVER again. We'll show you what this tool is - and more importantly - HOW to use it. It's so simple to use - even when its WET.
Where to find the best and DRIEST tinder... in the most UNLIKELY places. It's easy once you know WHERE to look. Even in wet conditions, it's easy to find dry tinder to start your fire. We'll show you what to look for and how to use it.
The Drum Stalk. Using all your senses to move around the woods - blindfolded to the sound of a drum! This exciting Nature Awareness game will switch you on to experiencing nature in a completely new way.
Family of 4 - £60
Set in Beautiful Woodlands near Canterbury, Kent
Book on line http://www.natural-pathways.co.uk/touching_the_earth_fire.html
or contact Hannah Tel: 01304 842045 or 07828 316827
Please mention Wilderness Foundation UK when contacting them.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
We are busily planning our events and communications for the year ahead. It would very much assist us with our planning if you could take just a few moments to answer our questions about the kind of events, activities and communications you would like in 2008.
Click here to take our survey
Thanks for taking the time to help us.
We hope to see you at an event in the coming year.
Richard, Jackie and the WFUK Team
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Just a quick reminder that our friends from Ride Earth are still out there, navigating the globe on mountain bikes and spreading the world about the value of wilderness.
Our excellent ambassadors publish periodic video journals (podcasts) which can be downloaded from their website:
our you can subscribe using your regular podcast software (as previously detailed by Michael - see the article here)
Watch episode 4 as Tom and Andy prepare to leave for Turkey and relationships start to become a little strained!
Recently, press attention has been very much focused on a trend of youth crime that is impacting into the heart of our communities. At the Foundation we are very much aware that we all must take responsibility for the impact of youth crime and we want to take positive steps to reverse this trend. That is why we have created The TurnAround Project.
Working with representatives from the Police, Connexions, Youth Offending Team and experienced Psychologists, Counsellors, Therapists and Educational Specialists, we have developed a nine month programme that will give young people the chance to break away from their troubled background and acquire the skills they need to make better choices for the future. The programme is built around wilderness trails, environmental and community workshops and one-to-one sessions with volunteer life coaches drawn from our local community. We aim to support them into work or further education at the end of the project and our vision is to enable them to peer mentor the next group of young people who come through the project.
If a young person reaches the stage where they are sentenced and detained, the average cost to the UK Tax Payer is £40,000 per annum. A nine-month placement on Turn Around will cost just £5,000 – and make a positive impact on the life of a young person at a most crucial time.
We have raised a significant amount of funding for the first year of Turn Around, through the generosity of the livery companies, financial institutions and individual fundraising efforts. However, we need to raise a further £25,000 for the pilot project. Please would you support us in our aims, by making a donation to the Wilderness Foundation UK? It has become a cliché, but however large or small the amount you can afford to give, it really will make a lasting difference and change not only the life of the participant, but benefit each and every one of us. The re-offending rate among those detained for youth crimes is 89%. We want to stop young people ever getting that far. Our project is modelled on a programme that has already proven successful in South Africa, with an 85% reduction in re-offending rates.
Please take a moment to think about how your positive action now, in supporting the Wilderness Foundation UK, will help to address something that concerns us all and affects our futures.
It’s easy to make a difference – send cheques made payable to “Wilderness Foundation UK” to:
Wilderness Foundation UK
47-49 Main Road
or alternatively you can donate online using any major debit or credit card by visiting:
If you are a UK tax payer you can make your donation go even further by completing the Gift Aid declaration below and returning it with your cheque.
We really do appreciate your continued support.
Director - WFUK
GIFT AID DECLARATION
I am a UK Taxpayer: [ ]
I want the Wilderness Foundation UK to reclaim
tax on my donation: [ ]
Value of your donation:__________
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Louise O'Meara, Regional Director for IISC Ireland brings us information on their public workshop "Essential Facilitation ® Core Skills for Agreement-Building". This three day programme will take place on November 27, 28 & 29, 2007 in Dublin. The Workshop focuses on the essential strategies and skills for helping groups solve problems, resolve conflict and build agreement - and provides participants with a solid foundation of facilitation theory and practice for immediate use.
Chances are, the more responsible you are for organisational or community outcomes, the more meetings you will need to facilitate and the more agreements you will need to build. Facilitation is critical to success whenever a decision involves several people. Essential Facilitation® provides a solid framework and proven techniques for resolving conflict, creating buy-in, and building lasting agreements – skills as valuable in every day life as they are in organisational settings.
Benefits for Participants
In this three-day intensive facilitation workshop, participants will learn the essential strategies and skills for helping groups solve problems, resolve conflict and build agreement. Led by expert practitioners, the workshop will provide participants with a solid foundation of facilitation theory and practice for immediate use. After completing this workshop, they will be able to:
• Keep discussions on track
• Design results-focused agendas, group processes and implementation plans
• Design and conduct planning sessions and team meetings
• Use collaborative problem solving tools to make decisions more easily
• Respect and make best use of diverse points of view and communication styles
• Share ideas, responsibility, and success in a way that values everyone’s contribution
• Use win-win thinking to resolve conflicts
• Model behaviours that help others improve group interaction.
Over three days, participants will have numerous opportunities to practice what they’ve learned including facilitating a number of discussions in ‘practice meetings’ using tools presented. In activities and exercises they will be encouraged to focus on real-life issues facing their organisations for immediate application. With an average participant-to-trainer ratio of 10:1 participants will receive considerable attention with both group and individual feedback and coaching. This approach produces immediate gains in skills and awareness. We will tailor the workshop to the levels of experience of participants, creating the opportunity for both novice and more advanced facilitators to improve their skills.
Benefits for Communities / Organisations
Effective facilitators unlock the power of the individual and show groups how to reach their desired goals. When development officers and leaders model skillful facilitation, they put their commitment to participation and collaboration into practice. As facilitation skills improve throughout an organisation or community, everyone involved becomes more creative and productive, and is better able to seize opportunities for significant improvements in how work is done in order to achieve more effective and sustainable results.
- The Interaction Method™
- Meeting Planning and Agenda Design
- Listening as an Ally
- Resolving Conflict
- Tools for Building Understanding and Agreement
- Mastering the Strategic Moment
- Facilitative Behaviors
- Collaborative Problem Solving
Who Should Attend
Anyone who leads groups, teams or meetings needs to be able to act as a facilitator. Participants may include:
- Directors, CEOs and managers of organisations
- Formal leaders who are responsible for the performance of others
- Team leaders and supervisors
- Development officers & project leaders
- Neighbourhood and community workers & leaders
- Informal leaders such as development consultants
LOCATION: Youth Work Ireland (formerly National Youth Federation),
COST: €595/Stg£395, includes all materials and lunch
For more information or to register please contact:
Please mention Wilderness Foundation UK when replying. Thank you.
In anticipation of the next World Wilderness Congress we've been covering South America a fair bit recently and we expect this to increase as we get closer to the event.
Tim Hirsch, the former BBC Environment Correspondent - now writing and broadcasting for a broader set of A-list outlets (and also consulting) - recently attended this years most important conservation event in South America. He kindly took time out to answer a few of our questions - and also gave us a more personal insight into the deliberations as he lives and works in a forest deeply affected by biodiversity loss:
• You recently attended the Latin American Consultation towards a possible International Mechanism for Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity in Bariloche, Argentina. Sounds quite a mouthful, what`s it got to do with protecting wilderness areas?
• Another talking shop, in other words?
Well, potentially quite a lot. The problem is that there is no powerful scientific body to warn the world's decision-makers about the consequences of continuing to let species go extinct at the fastest rate since the demise of the dinosaurs. Contrast this with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has played a pivotal role in mobilising action against global warming, however inadequate it might be. So the scientific community, in this case in Latin America, is being sounded out on what kind of new body might do the same thing for biodiversity and lead to more sensible decisions.
Fair point. The scientists at this meeting in Bariloche were absolutely clear that the last thing they wanted was another bureaucratic structure holding lots of conferences and clocking up vast quantities of frequent flier miles (and carbon emissions). But they were keen on the idea of a "network of networks" or "metanetwork"as some are describing it -- a way of bringing together the vast amount of science being done on ecosystems around the world, and making it available to governments, businesses and anyone else who needs to know the consequences of policies on the biodiversity that underpins the planet`s life support systems.• You live in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil -- did you take away any thoughts from this meeting that could affect the future of this ecosystem?
Only the urgency of improving the knowledge of society about the consequences of undervaluing ecosystems. The Atlantic Forest has a greater variety of species, hectare for hectare, even than the Amazon itself, and has lost some 93 per cent of its original cover (the Amazon has lost around 15 per cent). That makes it officially a "biodiversity hotspot", but what does that mean to a farmer deciding whether or not to clear just another hectare to expand his banana plantation? If this new scientific body does its job properly, it will help to strengthen the case for keeping that hectare of forest because of its role in regulating rainfall, providing pollinators for crops, creating potential for ecotourism and research into medicinal plants, etc etc. All of which is a darn site more valuable than a few extra bananas in an oversupplied market.• You document your daily encounters with flora and fauna at your farm through your Nature Notes blog - Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
I started doing it because being lucky enough to have a grandstand view of one of the most vibrant ecosystems on earth, I get a bit obsessed with every little change I notice when I look out of my bedroom window or go for a walk in the forest. Sometimes the conversations my partner and I have are a bit like a biodiversity soap opera -- "hey can you believe that lapwing is still sitting on her eggs after nearly a month? I think that saffron toucanet is trying to muscle in on the yellow-fronted woodpeckers ...." So I am keeping this record partly to share with other people around the world who may be interested, but also to act as a reminder for future reference which species are doing what at particular times of year.• Reading suggestions?
For an introduction to the concept of "ecosystem services" and the link between nature and human well-being, see this document, or for a more specific example, the Caribbean Sea Ecosystem Assessment (PDF). For an official account of the Bariloche meeting, see http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/imoseb5/
Do also check out the great photos Tim has on his site. If you'd like a closer look at the biodiversity of the Atlantic Rainforest, then why not consider staying at the farm - We've been there and we can highly recommend it. As Tim says: "it can be a base for an activity-packed family holiday; a peaceful retreat from which to write, work or meditate (with Wi-Fi access!); a destination for researchers, birdwatchers or study groups; or a "chill-out zone" from a hectic business trip to Latin America."
Further South American/World Wilderness Congress reading:
- Reading Material for the next World Wilderness Congress
- Amazonian Wilderness
- Amazonia and Assynt in Scotland
Previous in this series:
- Campfire Questions with Cameron McNeish
- Campfire Questions with Osbert Lancaster
- Campfire Questions with Graham Game
Our wilderness trails division, the Wilderness Leadership School, is looking to offer another run of its highly popular Wilderness Training Course in January 2008. This unique 21 day programme offers participants the chance to study the following modules and disciplines:
- Animal Identification and Behavioural Interpretation
- Bush Lore and Tracking Skills
- Environmental Literacy
- The Nature of Wilderness
- Personal Growth Development
- Minimal Impact Camping Skills and Techniques
- Trail Mechanics
- Interpretation of Landscapes and Earth Sciences
- Individual Leadership Development
- Group Dynamics and Assessment
- Environmental Responsibility and Accountability
- Emergency First Aid and HIV Awareness
The whole course is delivered with an underlying emphasis on Wilderness Ethics which is the core of the Wilderness Leadership School philosophy.
This is a fantastic opportunity for you to explore the interdependence of all things, especially between the human and non-human elements of the Earth and undertake a personal journey of discovery.
“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to The course will be run subject to sufficient numbers of participants. die, discover that I had not lived.” - Henry David Thoreau
To register your interest in a place and learn more about the programme, please contact the UK Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 01245 443073.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Dr Robbie Nicol, Programme Director for Outdoor Education and Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education at the University of Edinburgh has sent us news of two new courses on offer:
In addition to our long-standing Outdoor Education programme we are now accepting applications for two new Master’s Degrees:
Personal and Social Outdoor Education
Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education
There are exit points at Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc levels.
As a number of the courses are taught in five-day blocks, these new programmes may be particularly attractive to those who want to keep working (and who perhaps live some distance from Edinburgh) while they study part-time.
For further details keep an eye on our website where we will be updating information on these new programmes soon: www.education.ed.ac.uk/outdoored
Please remember to mention Wilderness Foundation UK when contacting the University. Thank you and good luck!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Here's a follow-up - First a story from Monday's Guardian on the RPSB's conservation efforts in Essex:
Back to nature: £12m plan to let sea flood reclaimed land and recreate lost habitatsSecondly, lots of our trails alumni want to make a difference in Wilderness conservation not to mention the environment in general - that's why we do everything we can to link them up with green opportunities when they return from trail. Most are posted directly to our Facebook Group but when it comes to career choices we thought the full readership might have interest in these local opportunities:
· Scheme could reverse 500 years of British history
· RSPB backs saltmarsh haven for rare wildlife
- Full story
Wednesday 7th November Troubadour Club London 7pm
£40 including supper
Join explorer Henry Cookson a member of the first British/Canadian expedition to reach the rarely conquered Pole of Inaccessibility. This is the furthest point from the southern oceans in Antarctica. They are the first team to achieve this without mechanical aid. Learn about their experience man hauling and kite skiing essential equipment across 1,700km of wilderness at altitudes of up to 3500m and coping with temperatures of up to -50 centigrade. The Troubadour Club (on Old Brompton Road)has an excellent culinary reputation. Places are limited so book early!
Booking essential -
Contact Jackie - 01245 443073 - Email: email@example.com
Friday 12th October Widford Lodge School - Chelmsford 7.30pm
£10 Including Supper
Join us for a fun evening of supper and a quiz in aid of Mabandla village school. This school, in dire need of rebuilding, is part of the Zulu community visited by many of our UK trailists who spend up to a week as part of a cultural and environmental experience. Future groups (adults and students) will be involved in the rebuilding programme as part of their volunteer commitments.
For further information contact Jackie by email or alternatively call the office on 01245 443073.
We look forward to seeing you.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
We are pleased to present details of this workshop being run by our friends and partners at An Turus:
The Outdoor Environment as a Place for Theraputic Change
22nd—24th October 2007
Lumley Fee, Cumbria
We are proud to work in collaboration with Dr. Robbie Nicol to present the second workshop in our certificate, The Therapeutic Application of the Wilderness and Adventure Experience.
Who is this workshop for?
This workshop is important for outdoor trainers, counsellors, therapists, teachers, social workers, youth workers, health workers or anyone in a related profession who find themselves pondering their role and place in the natural environment and how this influences their professional life. This workshop is the secondmodule in the certificate and is open to both participants of the certificate and others.
What will the workshop cover?
Some of the questions that we will address include; when we venture into the outdoor
realm, how much attention do we pay to our connection to the environment we find ourselves in? What importance do we place on whether we are journeying through nature or alongside it? How is it that we speak of going out into nature as a separate experience? Does it matter that we ‘use’ nature as a tool to promote human recovery and health?
To answer these questions and many others, Robbie will guide us to philosophical depths through his wise teaching and through meaningful experiential activities. He will encourage discussion and debate that ranges from the very real and present ecological issues that face the planet, through to practical environmental awareness and outdoor educational practice.
By attending this workshop participants will gain a greater insight into what it means to be human and to weave this awareness into their work. A beneficial consequence to this will be the ability to work with ‘natural mindfulness’ while facilitating change in others in the outdoors and to assist the client to engage with nature in a similar vein.
All of this will be placed within the context of the therapeutic application of the outdoor experience.
Robbie Nicol is Programme Director for Outdoor Education Postgraduate Studies at Moray House School of Education in Edinburgh and he has published widely on a number of subjects on the history and current practice of outdooreducation, environmental education, and sustainability as an educational issue.
Where will it take place?
The workshop will be held at the Lumley Fee centre near Kendal. All meals, refreshments and bunkroom accommodation will be provided from the evening of the 21st to the end of the afternoon on the 24th, and are included in the price. Detailed joining instructions will be sent on receipt of a booking.
Presented by Dr. Robbie Nicol
To Book Your Place or for further information
Nick Ray or Ruth Bradbrook at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or telephone 01463 243852 or 07818094311
Or visit http://www.an-turus.co.uk to download a booking form
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
In today's Guardian there is an article with the depressing assessment that the Amazon jungle could be lost in 40 years:
This is in addition to a recent article by the Brazil-based humanitarian aid worked Conor Foley called 'Threatening the Amazon', which lays out in some further detail some of the things that are going wrong. Meaning, in other words, that not much has changed since we attended the RSA 2006 Angus Millar Lecture where Chris Clark, President of Associazione Amazonia Onlus, told a distinguished Edinburgh audience about the extreme difficulties conservation efforts in the Amazon face. Transcript here .
"The Amazonian wilderness is at risk of unprecedented damage from an ambitious plan to improve transport, communications and power generation in the region, conservationists warned yesterday." - Read full article.
The issues facing rainforests like the Amazon will be in particular focus at the next World Wilderness Congress - which will be held in South America in 2009 - including follow-up on the Resolution on Tropical Protected Areas as adopted by the 8th World Wilderness Congress.
Now you can help by getting informed. We have a suggested starting point for your reading in preparation for the next for the next World Wilderness Congress. You may also find it useful to go through some related articles from the International Journal of Wilderness:
- An Overview of the World Wilderness Congress
- The 8th World Wilderness Congress
- The 7th World Wilderness Congress - Wilderness and Human Communities
Last but not least, here's on from our archive about the very first congress: Findhorn and the World Wilderness Congress 1983
Monday, October 01, 2007
As previously reported at the end of June 2007 (article here), Wilderness Foundation UK today becomes a UK Registered Company Limited by Guarantee - Number 06003527. Additionally, with effect from today we adopt our new Charity Number which is 1118493.
May we thank everyone who has contributed to the works of the Foundation in the past. The new status of the Charity will in no-way affect our ethos or our goals - WFUK continues to work for Wilderness, Wildlife and People.
Here's to the future!
The WFUK Team
Recently parking has been covered a number of places:
- Parking Spaces Outnumber Cars 3 to 1, Cause Environmental Problems
- The Hidden Costs of Free Parking
- Parking lots are big polluters, study finds
- Parking up the wrong tree
- The perils of parking lots
- The hidden costs of free parking – one space at a time
In Tippecanoe County, Ind., there are 250,000 more parking spaces than registered cars and trucks. That means that if every driver left home at the same time and parked at the local mini-marts, grocery stores, churches and schools, there would still be a quarter of a million empty spaces. The county's parking lots take up more than 1,000 football fields, covering more than two square miles, and that's not counting the driveways of homes or parking spots on the street. In a community of 155,000, there are 11 parking spaces for every family.
Bryan Pijanowski, a professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue University, which is located in Tippecanoe, documented the parking bounty in a study released this September. When it made the news, Pijanowski got puzzled reactions from locals. In short, they said: "Are you crazy? I can never find parking where I'm going!"
That's the paradox of parking. No matter how much land we pave for our idle cars, it always seems as if there isn't enough.
We haven't made a count in the Country town of Chelmsford, Essex - where our office is based - but we expect the number is high.
Now what has this got to do with Wilderness? Well, apart from the fact that a car park is pretty much the perfect antithesis of Wilderness, we do encourage our alumni to think responsibly about transport usage.
- Walk and cycle when possible
- Otherwise use public transport; or, if going to a place inacessible by the above, make sure the space in your vehicle is fully utilised
In either case, get educated about the wider impact of personal transport - Here are a few articles that may be of interest:
Posted by Wilderness Foundation UK on Monday, October 01, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Just in from the Royal Society - Science in the news - a handy round-up of what's going on around science in the press:
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, has said that high-energy light bulbs will begin to be phased out from next year, as part of the Government's practical commitment to reducing carbon emissions:
- The Times, p29, 1 col
- The Independent, p9, 1 1/2 cols
- The Daily Telegraph, p5, 1/2 col
- The Guardian, p6, 1/2 col
- Daily Mail, p38, 2/3 col
Now, there's no need to wait for the change to happen. You can with good conscience swap out your lightbulbs today. Leaving no trace is a no-brainer on trail, but once back home it can be a bit more tricky to figure out how to lessen one's impact - here's a nice video, albeit American, explaining exactly why new energy saving bulbs are better:
If you like the way the above video explains things in plain English, do check out all the other great movies from http://www.commoncraft.com/ - and if you're not already subscribing to our feed in an RSS reader, then specifically have a look at this one:
We specifically recommend Google Reader - and our feed can be found here.
A couple of somewhat related articles from the archive that may also be of interest:
Thursday, September 27, 2007
New Statesman: Every city-dweller knows the sensation of feeling imprisoned within an urban world of brick and glass. Sometimes it's triggered by a jam-packed thoroughfare in a shopping precinct. Often it is heralded by a crowded train carriage deep underground.
But the next time you find yourself mired in dark thoughts about the soul-blanching impositions of city life, walk straight into the nearest bookshop and buy a copy of Robert Macfarlane's The Wild Places, his erudite and exquisitely written follow-up to his acclaimed debut, Mountains of the Mind. The book is balm for the most acute metropolitan malaise. Read the full review in The New Statesman
The Economist: LIKE a medieval holy man, or modern hippie, Robert Macfarlane sets out for the remote parts of the northern and western British isles, sea-sprayed islands, craggy mountains and great bog plains. He wants to experience wildness. There is not an icy pool he will not plunge into or tree he would not climb. He picks up shards of roughened granite and smooth flints and turns them in his hand. He says: “We have in many ways forgotten what the world feels like.” - Full review in the EconomistAlso, reviewed earlier in:
Our earlier coverage:
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Further to our Global Warming equation post recently we thought we'd point out that the forthcoming issue of New York Review of Books has a review by Bill McKibben of a slew of new Climate Change books, specifically:
- Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming by the controversial statistician Bjørn Lomborg
- Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility
by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger
- What We Know About Climate Change by Kerry Emanuel
- Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren edited by Joseph F.C. DiMento and Pamela Doughman
Our role here at the Wilderness Foundation is to awaken the environmental leaders of the future - we do that primarily in the context of helping people experience Wilderness. We do believe a solid reading list (with a critical mind) goes with any leadership path - hence our gateway to the above.
"Bill McKibben will be answering questions from readers about his article "Can Anyone Stop It?" and the possibilities for action to stop global warming. Send your question by September 28, 2007" -- Learn how on the NYRB site
You may also be interested to read these recent articles by Bill McKibben, from the Review's archives:
Also, related items from our archives - Recent literature on Global Warming - New York Review of Books and An exchange on Global Warming.
Monday, September 24, 2007
If you have an internet ready mobile then you can keep up with our feeds using Google Reader Mobile - This is in fact faster than going to the full URL when on the go, because Google Reader only loads the headlines and strips the sidebars in the first instance. You then pick which story to read and thus avoid downloading material you won't use.
If you're already using Google Reader, simply go here http://www.google.com/reader/m/view/ from your mobile.
If not, why not set up a few favourite feeds now? - Then you have something to look forward to reading next time you're waiting for the train...
Also, if you're reading on normal computer, don't forget that Google Reader has lots of useful keyboard shortcuts? Here are some of them:
- j/k: next/previous item
- n/p: scan down/up (list only)
- o/enter: expand/collapse (list only)
- s: star item
+ s: share item (please do)
- v: view original
- m: mark item as read/unread
- r: refresh
+ a: mark all as read (key if you feel your feeds are giving you information overload)
Click here to see the full list or press "?" to display it any time (in Google Reader).
If you're a member of our growing Facebook group, then you can also access this on your mobile via m.facebook.com/
Posted by Wilderness Foundation UK on Monday, September 24, 2007
So many great books and authors were mentioned in the recent Campfire Questions with Cameron McNeish that we thought you might want to flick through the covers for inspiration:
...even more reading can be found in our Amazon-run bookstore.
There is a call for entries for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival - which runs in the US - but accepts submissions from anywhere. We know our alumni includes a fair few budding film makers and we hope they'll pick up this opportunity and run with it:
"We invite you to submit your films: animation, shorts, narratives, kids’ films, documentaries, and features. Foremost, we are looking for films that demonstrate a passion for the art form as well as a clear, potent, and above all, inspirational message. We feature environmental films that cover all issues, as well as adventure films from around the world. If your film is chosen for the 2008 Official Selection, you will be invited as our guest for the festival, January 11-13, 2008. You’ll have the opportunity to introduce your film, speak at filmmaker forums, attend parties, and enjoy a variety of VIP benefits." - Full call for submissions.
More at http://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/
A descriptive slideshow by Craig Damrauer showing the equations for the new math of global warming from the July/August 2007 Issue of Mother Jones:
More Craig Damrauer in 'New Math: Equations for Living'.
Monday, September 17, 2007
We wired Cameron McNeish, Wilderness speaker, editor of TGO Magazine and WFUK Trustee, to hear a bit more about what's going on in his end of the UK.
Here's the Q&A:
• You recently wrote on the TGO blog about 'The Wild Places', the new book by Robert Macfarlane – Could you tell us a little bit more about why our readers should check it out. Also, could you maybe give us an insight into what you discussed with Robert in your forthcoming podcast interview with him?
• What are the main lessons you’ve taken away from both book and interview?
Many folk will be familiar with Robert Macfarlane's book 'Mountains of the Mind'. It was published to wide critical acclaim a few years ago.
His new book, The Wild Places, was published earlier this month. Rather than focus on the kind of person who climbs mountains Rob has placed the spotlight on the landscape itself. In that sense it's the kind of book that Americans tend to write much better than we do, people like Barry Lopez, Edward Hoagland, Ed Abbey and Annie Dillard, not to forget, of course, the earlier writers like Muir, Emerson and Thoreau. In the UK we have a good legacy in mountaineering literature - We also have a reasonable legacy in "nature" or "wildlife" writing - I can think of people like Gavin Maxwell and Frank Fraser Darling, although today's wildlife writers are but a pale copy of these people.
Very few people, with possibly the exception of WH Murray and Jim Perrin, and perhaps one or two others, have ever written evocatively about our relationship with wild places, and why such landscapes are important to us, spiritually and emotionally, not to forget any bio-vidersity role they have.
I discussed these issues with Rob and also a little about his background - his grandfather, who lives in the Scottish highlands, was a very enthusiastic mountaineer and is a superb botanist. Rob was brought up in these traditions. We also discussed the need for writers like Rob to remind readers that wild places are a dwindling commodity, and that it is incumbent on all of us to protect them.
• Is it right that you’re thinking of doing more video – and if so, where will our readers be able to find it?
Robert very gently reminded me of my own role as a conservationist.
In particular he shared a thought that very much resonated with me. He told me he'd had some criticism from natural history scientists and academics who claimed that he focused too much on the emotional/spiritual side of the great outdoors, rather than work to a stricter scientific analysis.
That thought reminded me of a conversation I once had with the late WH Murray, whose first book, 'Mountaineering in Scotland', had been returned to him by a prospective publisher because it was “too spiritual.”
I’m very aware of such criticism, much of which comes from academia and science-based naturalists. It’s as though the emotional, spiritual or experiential side of the outdoors is almost worthless and yet such emotions, I would suggest, are inherent in all of us.
They are, as the wilderness poet Gary Snyder once said: "perenially within us, dormant as a hard-shelled seed, awaiting the fire or flood that awakens it again." Perhaps we can be the fire or flood that has that affect on people?
• Now you’re a wild places not to mention wilderness speaker in your own right – where would we be able to hear you this autumn?
I've made a couple of DVDs - The Wasdale Round and The Howgills, for a company called Striding Edge, run by my old friend Eric Robson. I'm also making a series of Wild Walks for a BBC Scotland monthly programme called the Adventure Show. That series will eventually appear on a DVD.
I've also been pretty involved in making audio podcasts for my own website at cameronmcneish.co.uk and for my magazine's website at tgomagazine.co.uk so it seems logical to move on from those audio podcasts to video podcasts. I've just bought a pro video camera and have been working hard trying to master the video editing software so hopefully, within the next 2 or 3 weeks, we'll have videos running on both websites.
Yes, the lecture season is just about to start and I'm off to the Isle of Arran for the Arran Walking Festival at the end of this month. That'll be followed with a talk in New Galloway, the Inverness Book Festival, two lectures for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in Dunfermline and Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival. On top of that lot I'm giving the annual Snowdonia Society lecture in Bangor and I've been honoured to be asked to give the annual Wainwright Lecture on this the centenary of Wainwright's birth. All the dates and venues are on my website.• Give us a couple of top autumn reads that’ll broaden our mind.
Thanks Cameron - and best of luck with that hectic schedule!
Colin died earlier this year but his book, The Man Who Walked Through Time, is the finest outdoor book I've ever read. It's about the first on-foot traverse of the Grand Canyon before it was flooded.
Read it and it will open your mind to the amazing geological timespan that formed one of the world's natural wonders, the Grand Canyon.
A couple of quick extra links not covered above: