The IES Office Team
22 December 2017

A ChrIEStmas Carol

For the festive period the IES Office team have created our very own Christmas Carol, looking at the IES past, present and future. Begin your journey below:

The Ghost of ChrIEStmas past
After a tough meeting on office heating arrangements, you sink into your bed for a well-deserved rest.

Just as you drift off to sleep, a ghostly, white-robed figure appears, summoning headlines from a busy and unpredictable year for environmental policy...

The scene changes and it is the start of 2017. A majority Conservative government is in power. The IES is working with colleagues at other professional bodies and learned societies to ensure the expertise of environmental professionals is heard in planning for post-Brexit environmental policy, including the future of environmental land management and agricultural policy.

It is Spring and another General Election is announced. The IES is urging all major parties to make key environment pledges in their manifestos. After polling day, it continues to work to ensure environmental protections are maintained as the UK exits the EU, setting out our key concerns regarding the EU Withdrawal Bill’s potential impact on citizens and the environment. The IES takes an active part in discussions on a range of other issues, including the Government’s new Industrial Strategy, funding for science and research, and domestic implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The scene shifts again and the year has progressed. You see the Autumn Budget, and yet more extended visions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill making its painstaking way through committee stage in the House of Commons; you feverishly relive the sixty-four hours of debate in the chamber, and uncountable more in the corridors of Westminster.

“Leave me! Take me back. Haunt me no longer!” you cry at the Ghost of ChrIEStmas Past.

The Brexit clock is ticking faster and faster, but when you awake in your room the time on the alarm clock has not changed.

The spectre is gone, and you reflect on the visions. Much has happened, but some things don’t change; just as last Christmas, you’re still waiting for the Government’s 25-year plan.

The Ghost of ChrIEStmas Present
The next night you hope for a better night sleep and have vowed not to consume dairy products before bed. But as your head hits to pillow, you are confronted by the image of a jolly giant - huge, vibrant and beaming.

In a booming voice he reads a series of blogs from the IES analysis pages, conjuring vivid images of a new strategic plan to guide the Institution over the next three years. The strategic process has led to the development of a new object for the Institution: ‘Standing up for science, scientists and the natural world’. Intrigued, you accept the spirit’s invitation to “come in and know [him] better” to discover how this bold and exciting change is steering a new direction for the Institution and its members.

Social and behavioural scientists are welcomed into the growing IES membership through changes to the IES’s membership criteria, ensuring membership encompasses a more modern depiction of environmental science, including its interconnection with sustainability science.  An emerging emphasis on digital integration is giving members progressively more control over their data and preferences. Capturing of diversity data for new and existing members enables the Institution to monitor and work towards its ambitions for providing equal opportunity.

The vast phantom leads you through busy crowds representing the new IES communities. The first are a pilot group of Land Condition professionals. This crowd represents the largest specialism within the IES membership, and are already working hard on a new symposium and forthcoming journal edition in early 2018. The success of this crowd encourages other crowds to assemble, facilitated to by the IES, around other specialisms and cross-cutting themes within the environmental sciences.

On the stroke of midnight, this temporal spectre disappears, leaving only a feeling that the community and digital initiatives will mean more targeted membership services in 2018.

The Ghost of ChrIEStmas Yet to Come
It’s Christmas Eve and the final Christmas spirit, the ghost of ChrIEStmas Yet to Come, materialises to show what is in store for the new year.

The month is March and the Ghost is leading the way through a packed room of excited Land Condition professionals at the inaugural Land Condition Symposium 2018. This technical symposium is providing a platform for discussion of topical issues, knowledge exchange with eminent speakers and networking with fellow professionals in the land condition sector. In this future, is that your face we pick out in the crowd?

Before you have time to confirm, you are whisked on his black-hooded cloak to your own office where future-you is relaxing at your desk on a cold winter lunchtime. It looks like you are delving into our new webinar series; Entrepreneurship in the Environment. The stories of successful entrepreneurs and the value they are creating might inspire you on to any number of profitable futures.

As the shifting timelines collapse in on themselves, journals on Land Condition, Unintended Consequences, and Recreation and the Environment spin before you at ever increasing speeds. Was that two new pieces of IAQM guidance that flitted past? Calendar dates of future IES events morph into the digits on your alarm clock.

You are back in your bed on Christmas morning. These visions supplied by the ChrIEStmas spirits reassure you that the IES remains dedicated to ensuring environmental science and evidence is at the heart of policy, that the organisation is standing up for science and the natural world, and that there will be plenty of activities to entertain you in 2018.


Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, and All the Best for a Prosperous New Year from the IES Office Team