Nature has always been my passion and has become my professsion. My interest is in developing Natural Capital based policy to tackle the biodiversity, nature and resource crises through integrating production of essential products – food, houses, commodities, energy – with carbon capture and habitat creation.


Getting sacred with trees

Months ago, my church decided that the theme for our annual nature-themed month in September would be ‘trees’, and I agreed to collate some resources for the clergy to help them write their sermons. Four days before the start of Creationtide (a global initiative linking the Orthodox ‘Creation Day’, Catholic St Francis Day, and Protestant … Continue reading “Getting sacred with trees”

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Happy 200th birthday, St John’s Edinburgh

200 years ago this week, St John’s Church in Edinburgh was consecrated, on 19 March 1818. This is interesting to me for two reasons. First because I have been a member of the choir of St John’s (which was founded at the same time) for almost a fifth of that time, and second because I … Continue reading “Happy 200th birthday, St John’s Edinburgh”

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Bee blindness

I’ve been thinking for ages about writing some articles about ecology and Christianity. But I’ve been so worried that the material about ecology for Christians would seem superstitious to the ecologists, and the material about Christianity for ecologists would seem heretical to the Christians, that I haven’t dared publish any of it. But all I … Continue reading “Bee blindness”

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Meeting the Botanists

I had an exciting meeting today with David Knott, curator of collections at the Botanics; my friend Dr Alan Elliott also at the Botanics; Henry Marsh, former head of English at the Edinburgh Academy and Glen Doll botanist of 40 years; and Tom Morton of Arc Architects who is going to build the new Blair House. We … Continue reading “Meeting the Botanists”

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The Great Bug Hug

In a weak moment, I’ve made my first bet — and I need your help to win it. I work in Buglife Scotland, the invertebrates conservation charity. I bet my boss I could find them 100 new members in a year – so I’m hoping you might fork out £2 a month and join them. … Continue reading “The Great Bug Hug”

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Bain Bagging

Being up north last week gave me the opportunity to test out Clifton Bain’s The Ancient Pinewoods of Scotland: A Companion Guide, by visiting one of the most northerly of the pinewoods in Glen Alladale. You can read about this estate, which belongs to the enterprising and controversial Paul Lister in this article by Cameron MacNeish. My … Continue reading “Bain Bagging”

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Green Gold

As the author of their recent report on Gender and Diversity in Scottish Forestry, I was invited by Confor (the forest industry body) to their Scotsman Conference in the National Gallery this morning. This brought together foresters, academics and politicians, chaired by the irrepressible Muriel Gray, like me a self-declared forest addict. Plant More Trees … Continue reading “Green Gold”

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The aim of Natural Capital is to engage business, which accounts for the majority of human exploitation of the environment, as a force for valuing and restoring it. It draws on many other ideas such as environmental footprinting and social enterprise. It is based in a recognition that many decades of “traditional environmentalism” — traditionally … Continue reading “Business-as-Unusual”

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Prawn Wars

I was impressed by the BBC Scotland Landward special, “Prawn Wars”, still available on iPlayer until Wednesday. I thought I was well-informed about Scottish fishing issues, a subject I first encountered in long “Church and Nation” reports at the Church of Scotland General Assembly, agonising about the state of Scottish coastal parishes. Earlier this year … Continue reading “Prawn Wars”

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Treasuries for the Wind: Achieving Zero-Carbon Britain

He bringeth the wind out of his treasuries. Psalm 135 v.7 I have an innate suspicion of novel environmental technologies. Too often they seem to be an excuse for inaction: nuclear fusion or carbon capture and storage lurk just around the corner, their concepts inexplicable to the educated general reader (me), giving us the small … Continue reading “Treasuries for the Wind: Achieving Zero-Carbon Britain”

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