Universities are facing increasing pressures to change the educational programmes they offer in order to make graduates fit for future citizenship and employment in the 21st Century. The impetus for radical re-purposing of universities comes from a complex array of contemporary issues, including societal, economic and environmental challenges as well as national and international policy change. Curriculum reform and innovation are beginning to take place in many universities in the UK and elsewhere in the world in response to such pressures and policy developments.
The principal element of my first degree, when ecology was still a relatively new subject, was entitled Ecosystems and Man and Mark Everard’s latest work provides a fascinating compendium of the intellectual revolution that has occurred over the decades since then. This book weaves the concepts of sustainability, biodiversity and ecosystem services, terms so familiar now but unheard in academia in my day, with what many of us are practising in our professional activities as we work with anthropically transformed ecosystems.
My review copy of the Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services landed on the doormat with quite a loud bump! At 630 pages, it is a Handbook for people with big hands.
The European Union (EU) is currently the topic on everybody’s lips in the UK. More specifically, the 23rd June’s referendum on whether the UK should remain a member. There has been much discussion about the potential implications of ‘Brexit’, ranging from the mundane to the sensational, but most would agree that outside of our own sector, the consequences for the environment haven’t broken through into mainstream debate.
The everyday – those familiar things which we take for granted without considering how they connect with, and depend on, nature. In his new book Mark Everard explores these connections and, along the way, provides a wealth of fascinating facts. Here ecology is interpreted broadly and the book provides thought-provoking historical, industrial, social and, on occasions, theological context.
Minerals are everywhere and impact on our environment in a host of complex and sometimes unexpected ways. But what exactly is environmental mineralogy? Helpfully, the introduction explains that this book considers systems containing minerals that constitute key elements of the global ecosystem including soils, sediments and atmospheric aerosols. As the repositories of chemical elements in the Earth's crust, minerals provide the elements that are essential for life and human development but are also linked with processes that can cause pollution and threaten ecosystems.
This publication offers a concise overview of updates to the various guidance, legislation, technologies and requirements that rest with Local Authorities, Land Owners, Mine Owners and the general public. It is non-technical in nature and aimed at providing clear information with regard to Nuisance Mineshafts. It gives guidance on how to apply a best practice approach in terms of mine investigation/inspection and superbly describes legislation and regulation associated with nuisance entries and their investigation and abatement, as well as the associated vagaries presented therein.
In February, the Government published a consultation paper entitled Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit. This paper outlines the Government’s vision for post-CAP agricultural and environmental land management policy and seeks to collect the views of stakeholders on what these policies should look like.
When a new member joins the IES they sign up to the Institution’s Code of Conduct. Members are bound by this Code for the duration of their membership and the expectation is that they are familiar with, and understand, its content and implications.
One of the most common frustrations when working on environmental policy is the discrepancy between the long time-scales over which environmental processes operate, and the 'short-termism' of our political system. So, when in September 2015 the UK Government committed to produce a 25 year plan “for a healthy natural economy”, we welcomed the announcement. An opportunity to define a long-term vision to protect and enhance our environment was an extremely positive step.