Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Explorer Henry Cookson on Antarctic Wilderness

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.

Explore at the RGS

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

Wedge Card

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.


Thank you!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Living Energy

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:

Air Gallery
Dover Street
W15 4NE

We hope you can make it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization

Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of GlobalizationHead 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.

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.
This is one of the key questions to be addressed at the forthcoming World Wilderness Congress, to be held in South America in 2009.

Further South American/World Wilderness Congress reading:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Campfire Questions with Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop

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 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

Gaia Events November 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 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,

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

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 or 020 7428 0055

As always, please mention WFUK when enquiring or booking any of these events. Thank you!

Touching the Earth Fire & Shelter Day

We'd like to bring you news of this new course from our friends at Natural Pathways:

Families Survival Skills and Nature Awareness Day

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.

£17 p.p. - Under 5's Free

Family of 4 - £60

Set in Beautiful Woodlands near Canterbury, Kent

Book on line

or contact Hannah Tel: 01304 842045 or 07828 316827

Please mention Wilderness Foundation UK when contacting them.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Please Take Part In Our Survey

Dear Friends,

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

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