This page briefly describes the kind
of things I do with links to further details. Most
of my work is constellated by a passion for community... I see the
lack of it, or damage to it, as a prime driver of the the lack of
meaning, emptiness and loneliness that underlies many of the world's most
pressing problems. Human ecology is therefore central to my work because it is
the study of, and participation in, human community in relation to the wider
natural environment. It therefore encompasses the great issues of our times,
including the roots of war, poverty, meaninglessness and climate change.
For me, community is much more than just
another name for society. It has three pillars - relationship with one another,
relationship with the natural world, and relationship with the psychospiritual
underpinning of all life. "Soil, soul and society" are therefore
themes that weave through all my
work. Integrating these requires bringing about a rich connection between our
inner and outer lives. As such, both action and reflection interlace through all
that I do and in the ways that I work with others.
||Writing, Speaking, Broadcasting. Much
of my work is about communicating - mainly through my books, public
addresses, and some broadcasting. Links to the books and published
articles are at the top of this page, and my itinerary of forthcoming
public engagements is on my home page here
with an idea of the topics I speak on given
These days I receive more speaking invitations than I can accommodate -
especially where long-distance travel is involved - so best to
contact me with enquiries well in
advance. But I do enjoy public speaking in situations where there's a
really interested or challenging group to engage with, especially where
such groups are committed to working, as they see it, for a better
world. That applies especially where some of their worldviews might be radically at
with my own, which is why I lecture internationally to the military and
multinational corporations, as well as to community, charitable and
academic groups such as comprise my more natural constituency.
|Advancement of Human Ecology.
Human ecology as an approach to burning world issues that draws on many different disciplines.
In the early 1990s I was Course Director of the pioneering MSc programme at the Centre
for Human Ecology in Edinburgh University. Up until 2010 the
CHE worked in
partnership with the Open University and then the
Department of Geography and Sociology at Strathclyde University
where I remain Scotland's first Visiting Professor of Human
Ecology until the end of 2013. The MSc, however, has had to be laid down due to
cost cutting in the humanities at the University. My next book contains
papers that pull together accumulated experience in human ecology. Co-edited
Williams (lead editor) and Rose Roberts of the University of Saskatchewan
with multiple contributors, Radical Human Ecology: Intercultural and
Indigenous Approaches is due in January 2012
from Ashgate (but horribly expensive as academic books often are). Other
publications are available free online here.
|Land Reform - Action and Research. In 1991
I became a trustee of the campaign that led, in 1997, to the Isle of
Eigg gaining independence from landlordism as the island came into
community control. The campaign then shifted to participating in a
widely-based movement that resulted in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act
2003 being passed by the Scottish Parliament. We now have over a third
of a million acres of Scotland - 2% of the land mass - in community
ownership via some 200 community groups. My land reform work these days
includes linking with other indigenous peoples worldwide, and conducting
academic research into the psychology and spirituality of landownership
and the community empowerment necessary to bring about transformation on
||Urban Regeneration with the GalGael Trust.
In 1997 I became a founding trustee and director of the
GalGael Trust, and
in 2003 Vérčne and I moved to live in the Greater Govan area to be
closer to this work and its vibrant community that seeks to
rebuild urban-rural connections. Govan is one of the poorest areas of
Scotland, and what inspires us about the GalGael's work is the depth of humanity that emerges in people from some of
the most hard-pressed living circumstances. Today, I am the Hon
Treasurer of the GalGael, but I also play a wider visioning role, as the following
link will suggest. More
||Harris Superquarry and CSR follow-through.
Between 1991 and 2004 I was closely involved with the campaign that
stopped Redland and, subsequently, Lafarge, from opening a "superquarry"
in the National Scenic Area of the Isle of Harris. The
pages from the index linked here document that cause celebre. They include some of the
material, reports and my own papers and articles. But there is a
peculiar added twist to it all. After successfully blocking Lafarge, which is the world's
biggest cement producer and responsible for 0.5% of world carbon dioxide
emissions, I was invited to help them develop their corporate social
responsibility polices. I agreed to do so on an unpaid basis in
warm recognition of how, in the end, they did the decent thing on Harris.
This has led to fascinating and sometimes inspiring insights into the
dynamics between industry
and socio-environmental responsibility. As such, the links on my "superquarry
briefing" page are used extensively by students both of environmentalism
and of CSR. More ...
||Spiritual Activism. This is
the course that I run on the MSc degree in Human Ecology in the
Department of Geography and Sociology at the University of Strathclyde.
I teach it because, in my experience, when activists are in for the long
haul many either burn out or sell out. We get dragged down by the
weight of the issues we're wrestling with. To sustain ourselves, we
have to take a deeper look at that burden of awareness and find ways of
turning it into a precious burden - one that can actually enrich our lives
and lend insight into the human condition. This MSc level (20 credits) course is also available to
paying external students as continued professional development subject to the
availability of places. Sometimes I also teach versions of it elsewhere
such as at Schumacher College in England.
||Other Issues, Campaigns, Research and
Interests. My work spans a wide range of interests that have bearing on
the human condition. Most of this has found expression in papers
published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as well as in more
everyday outlets such as newspaper and magazine articles. For the best
overview, the link given here will take you to the classified index of all my
publications. More ...
|Consultancy, Training and Events. Details
of forthcoming events of all types are given in the
itinerary on my home page. For
information on how I charge and for personal financial accountability in
a context where some of my work may be considered controversial, and where I work with
organisations ranging from penniless radical community groups to
multinational corporations, click this link. More ...
media use, CVs and a short bio for 3rd party adaptation.
Hover mouse for
18 April 2019