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A series of blogs to highlight environmental practises and sustainability for World Environment Day 2017.

 

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Raising the Profile of World Environment Day & Working Together - Thoughts From CEnv of the Year 2014

Posted By Phil Underwood, 08 June 2017
Updated: 23 June 2017

Dr Martin Bigg, Chartered Environmentalist of the Year 2014, discusses working together to make a difference and encourages environmental professions to raise the profile of environmental issues. 

Martin says; "Environmental, sustainability, green, whatever title we like to give ourselves, we are very good at working together, and agreeing amongst ourselves on issues and possible actions and solutions. We are more comfortable and avoid confrontation. I plead guilty to this, when working with environmental professionals, environmentally committed students, businesses, NGOs and community groups.

On World Environment Day I visited Essen, the European Green Capital 2017. Sharing experiences of Bristol, the 2015 European Green Capital, I learnt of the transition from a place dominated by coal mining and steel manufacturing and associated challenges, to an environmentally committed green capital. Significant changes were achieved by confronting the issues.

At a meeting organised by the World Bank I spoke with a large delegation of leading officials and regulators from the Chinese national, regional and local government. They are facing air quality issues way beyond our local but serious problems.We have an obligation to share our knowledge and experience, successes and failures to meet such challenges. This applies not only where our professional involvement is sought but also where there is ignorance or denial, internationally or nationally.

As we raise awareness through World Environment Day I encourage colleagues to raise the profile and importance of environmental issues. Despite public concern about the environment and climate change it has not featured significantly in the run up to the UK general election. It is an education to read the very different commitments or absence of commitments in the manifestos.

Why not question those standing to represent us, on their values and aspirations, step outside our comfort zone and prepare to work with those who may not share our ideas? It may not be easy, and could be testing and challenging, but ultimately we all could be stronger for it.

Together we can make the world a better place for everyone."


Dr Martin Bigg CEnv accepting the award for Chartered Environmentalist of the Year 2014. 


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for the Environment. 

Tags:  CEnv  Chartered  Environment  World Environment Day 

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Andrew Marlow CEnv Shows His Support For World Environment Day

Posted By Phil Underwood, 07 June 2017

Andrew Marlow MBA CEnv MIEMA lets us know his thoughts about World Environment Day in a fantastic short video clip. Full video:

 


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IEMA or the Society for the Environment. 

Tags:  CEnv  World Environment Day 

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Dougal Driver FICFor CEnv shares his thoughts for World Environment Day

Posted By Phil Underwood, 06 June 2017
Updated: 06 June 2017

Blog Provided by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF): 

A blog by Dougal Driver FICFor CEnv - a Fellow of ICF. The blog below is based on his thought provoking speech at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) on 5th June 2017 at the Society for the Environment’s World Environment Day Conference.

Manature

In the 1840s, a young Karl Marx pre-empted his later and more famous theories with an erudite description of how man was becoming disconnected from his place in nature. His observations were later backed up by Engels and Bacon and more recently in 1987, by Norman Moore in his book ‘The Bird of Time’.

I propose that the lack of integration of man in nature, is far worse now than it was in their days. Yes, we have numerous studies and clear scientific evidence about endless facets of the environment, but I feel that we do most, if not all, of this thinking from a preternatural position or ‘outside of nature’.

Image: Dougal Driver FICFor CEnv speaking at the World Environment Day Conference. 

This arms-length position results in an approach whereby we regard our actions as affecting nature as if mankind was not part of nature. This leads to policies and decisions couched in the language of externality such as saving ‘it’, protecting ‘it’ and even divesting ourselves of ‘it’ whilst we focus on other more pressing things such as the economy. What we fail to grasp as warned by Marx and others, is that we are part of ‘it’.

I am sure that many involved in ‘the environment ‘ would dispute the disconnect I describe and see it is blindly obvious that we are part of nature, however, I believe a social ‘norm’ has developed around man’s reaction and action with regard to the environment. A norm that is now so deeply entrenched and sophisticated, that a radical rethink is needed. It has never been enough to just know we are part of nature, we need to act at all times, as if we are part of nature and not it’s architect or guardian.

I risk the cry of ‘hypocrite’ as I introduce this new term to help animate my proposal, because I also believe that we need to look closely at other terms that we have developed around the environment and change our language if we are serious about influencing others to act. Terms such as, making space for nature, ecosystem services, natural capital and sustainable intensification to name but a few.

These terms are well meant but are either impenetrable for everybody outside of the bubble (and many in it!) and/or they reinforce the fallacy that we are outside nature and therefore get goods from it or need to provide a refuge for it.

So what, I hear some say, well, semantics and language, studies and theories can lead to decisions and polices. Take the example of the London City Region which is set to grow by 8 Birmingham’s by 2042 according to AECOMs recent 2065 study (see Ref1).

AECOM observe that London has to go mainly out. There is however a complex barrier of Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks, a scenario reflected in many UK towns, cities and regions. Their report refers to the green belt as toxic and how a better approach would be to have uninterrupted fan shaped spikes of growth spreading out from the city with new and expanded environmental areas. This is a huge challenge to entrenched policies and strategic planners, but I would go much, much further.

Reflecting my view that we should act as part of nature, I believe the accommodation of growth should be fully integrated into the environment. Growth should not be about grey corridors and settlements with reserves amongst them, but should be fully integrated with light and shade to the intensity and density so that there are always wins for man and nature.

Of course our truly wild and unique places should be left well alone by growth but the disconnected, species poor unresilient ‘middle’ ground, well that can be enhanced for all. Every house and every mile of infrastructure should come with associated integrated natural enhancement, cheek by jowl and a win win for all facets of nature including man.

Of course it is not straightforward and it is not what we currently do, but, if we use our instinct and act as we are, an integrated part of nature, then anything is possible because, ultimately, it is who we are.

Ref1 www.aecom.com/london-2065/

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters or the Society for the Environment. 

Tags:  CEnv  Conference  ICF  Speaker  World Environment Day 

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Peter Wilson FICFor CEnv Feels Connected to Nature

Posted By Phil Underwood, 06 June 2017
Updated: 07 June 2017

Blog Provided by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF): 

The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) asked Chartered Forester Peter Wilson FICFor CEnv, a Fellow of the Institute and owner of Wilson Applied Consultancy, how he feels connected with nature in the run up to World Environment Day.


Peter says; “What I really enjoy on my day off is getting out and having a good walk in the countryside, seeing real trees and real forests and remembering what its all about, and why I came into Forestry in the first place.”

Full video:

 


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters or the Society for the Environment. 

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How Lockhart Garratt is Connecting with Nature

Posted By Phil Underwood, 05 June 2017
Updated: 06 June 2017

Blog Provided by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF): 

Chartered Forester Justin Mumford FICFor CEnv a Fellow of the Institute, Managing Director at Lockhart Garratt, tells us how Lockhart Garratt is connecting with nature.

The two assumptions that people always make when you tell them that you’re a forester are a) that you work for the Forestry Commission and b) you’re very environmentally friendly.  The disappointment on their faces is palatable when you answer the first assumption with a ‘no’ and the second with an ‘only sometimes’.  In recent years, however, it’s become much more than just an assumption, it’s become a necessity driven by both our clients, future clients and also by our staff and future recruits.

When we updated our three-year rolling Business Plan, back in the summer of 2015, one of its main objectives caught the attention and excitement of the whole company; to “promote sustainable development and work to protect, improve and enhance the natural environment”.

This is very much easier said than done, so we have subsequently broken this down into reducing our carbon footprint, influencing policy at national and local level, and maintaining and promoting the company culture of taking the right environmental decisions.  This has gone down well with many of our clients, particularly the larger development clients, some of whom are insisting that we take it a step further and become ISO 14001 accredited which I can see getting into the next Business Plan. In the meantime, it’s been encouraging to see how lots of little steps are starting to add up.  Some of these quite subtle.

As a company, one of our biggest polluters is the fleet of cars (mostly diesel, no electric) parked outside the office.  I estimate that, as a company, we probably travel 200,000 miles a year, which would be well on the way to getting out of Earth’s inner atmosphere and almost to the moon.  One of the big culprits of clocking up the miles is travelling long distances to see clients or between our offices in Corby and Chipping Norton.  The purchase of two, wide-screen televisions for the respective meeting rooms has allowed us to Skype each other and clients and has made a massive difference; not only reducing miles travelled but also clawing back all the ‘dead time’ sat in the roadworks just outside Towcester.

Although both our offices are probably less than 30 years’ old, it’s amazing how inefficient they are, both in terms of keeping warm during the winter and cool in the summer, and how much modern architecture has come on since then producing much more energy efficient buildings.  One of our Board has been appointed the ‘Green Champion’ to look at ways of improving matters and we are already seeing how changes in lightbulbs and hot water systems are reducing our electricity bills and carbon footprint.  Building efficiency is also something that is testing many of the land agents who we work alongside as they endeavour to bring their aging, rented property portfolio up to date and are racing against time to meet the new, legal requirement of a minimum rating under the Energy Performance Certificate of at least ‘E’ by April 2018.  Failure to do so will trigger the penalty of up to a whopping £4,000!  Of course we always recommend using more wood as a fuel.

Planting.Image: Forestry Commission Scotland.

The biggest change that we can make is to encourage our clients to undertake more tree planting and manage their woodlands.  This can be difficult in the East Midlands and East Anglia where the alternative arable land use governs a premium.  However, through careful assessment of the holding, identification of less productive areas of land or identifying opportunities to connect existing woods (particularly if it has other benefits for shooting enterprises or the landscape) can allow for an informed decision to be made and is all that’s required to persuade more trees to go in the ground, albeit on a modest scale.  Once again, little steps soon add up.  Everything came together only last week when I was invited to help with a new woodland creation project  for a potential new client who had made his money from energy-efficient light bulbs! It was a real light bulb moment.

Follow #EnvProfsWED #WorldEnvironmentDay.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters or the Society for the Environment. 

Tags:  Chartered Environmentalist  Chartered Forester  ICF  World Environment Day 

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Aspiring CEnv Highlights His Work Towards Creating a Greener Business

Posted By Phil Underwood, 05 June 2017
Updated: 06 June 2017

Matthew Slaughter MCIWM has been the chair of the London and Southern Counties Centre New Member Network (NMN) since April 2015. His role involves organising site visits, career and networking events and encouraging new members to join the CIWM. He is passionate about helping new members gain their chartered status by introducing them to the breadth and depth of the wider waste industry.

With more than seven years’ experience in the waste management sector, he is now an Environmental Manager for O’Keefe Construction dealing with their environmental and waste issues. Previous jobs included working for Grundon Waste Management on their hazardous waste transfer station and looking after waste acceptance at inert landfills for Cemex UK.

Matthew is passionate about the environment through his career and at home. Although not a registered environmental professional as yet, he is keen to showcase his work with our registrants and the wider audience in the lead up to World Environment Day. 

Matthews says, “The next 12 months will be very challenging but the plan is to push O’Keefe Construction into a new realm of environmental understanding. 

Having been employed last year as their first Environmental Manager, I have had a blank slate to implement my views into the companies.

Go Green Ltd have been brought in to remove the companies waste from our construction, demolition and head office sites. The contracts were signed a mere two months ago so this was a major step in the right direction. We now have the ability to track our waste, reduce our waste and divert waste from landfill.”

Image: Matthew Slaughter MCIWM

Matthew continues, “Another key idea, which is coming to play is tracking the companies carbon emissions. This idea has been slowly being incorporated into the company’s procedures with the intention of capturing data which will enable us to set KPI’s and reduce our carbon emissions. 

We also plan to continue our internal environmental audits across all sites to ensure everyone within O’Keefe fully understands the company’s environmental obligations.”

To add to his experience and current registration, Matthew is currently looking to become a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv). He explains, “It is a recognised professional registration which would show my environmental commitment both within my working environment and through my CIWM work. The CEnv status will help me focus my knowledge, which I can then use to expand the ideology throughout my company and in everyday life. I think it is important to understand that a professional institution should not be just incorporated into just a working environment, but should be embraced into one’s lifestyle.”

Interviewer for the CEnv status with CIWM, Neil Tytler FCIWM CEnv, says “I am delighted to hear of progression within companies in relation to becoming more environmentally aware, via registered environmental professionals and wider professionals alike.”

Neil adds, “I have known and worked with Matthew for many years. The work he is doing to improve processes for the good of the environment, and the company itself, is an ideal example of how environmental roles can make such a positive impact. I am excited that I now hear more and more examples of such work – we are certainly moving in the right direction!”

The Society for the Environment invites not only registered environmental professionals to join them at the World Environment Day Conference, but also volunteers, interested parties, aspiring environmental professionals and more. The expert led conference takes place on the 5th June 2017 at One Birdcage Walk, London. For more information, please click here

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for the Environment. 

Tags:  Chartered Environmentalist  Showcase 

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Expert Speakers at the World Environment Day Conference Have Their Say

Posted By Phil Underwood, 15 May 2017

World Environment Day and the aptly named World Environment Day Conference are exactly three weeks away today! 

      

To mark the occasion we have been discussing what this globally significant day means to the experts who will be speaking at the World Environment Day Conference in London on the 5th June 2017. Each of the four main speakers, as well as the conference chair and special guest Savita Custead, happily contributed.

We are delighted with the responses that all illustrate the importance of World Environment Day and their passion for using it as a tool to further promote environmental and sustainable practices, collaboration and general awareness. We hope that you find their thoughts interesting:


"World Environment Day highlights the need for international collaboration in order to both solve global challenges, and to share expertise in tackling more localised environmental problems. Society for the Environment is the foremost U.K. organisation to assist in brokering the multi-stakeholder and cross-disciplinary initiatives that are needed, by working closely with its 24 Licensed Bodies and providing a collective voice for environmental professionals."

 - Professor Carolyn Roberts CEnv, Vice President of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.


"Few people would say that they do not care about the environment but with the complex and growing pressures on individual lives and communities, it is hard for people to focus on doing something practical to protect and enhance their environment. World Environment Day is a great way of focusing busy minds on taking actions, however small, to improve our world, now and forever. Whether it is a local action to plant a tree, a national action to develop a future proof city region or a global action to curb environmentally damaging trade, we can all play a part and celebrate together on the 5th of June."

 - Dougal Driver CEnv, Vice Chair for the Society for the Environment 


"Collaborating across disciplines is central to CIWEM’s integrated approach for water and environmental management. In this context, professional registration – to recognise individual expertise and promote professional standards – is becoming increasingly relevant, especially in the “post-truth” political environment that that has gained momentum over the past year. World Environment Day 2017, with a focus on partnership and its importance to the value of nature, is an opportunity to reaffirm our evidence-based approach to environmental sustainability."

 - David McHugh, Trustee of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. 


"Today, for one day, let's not be scientists. Let's not explain nature with complex algebra, or demonstrate its value with economic models. Rather, today, let's go outside and let our feet feel the earth beneath them, our faces feel the sun (or the rain!) and our spirits soar with the joy of that perfect shade of green that artists strive to reproduce. This planet is our home. It matters."

 - Dr Stephanie Wray CEnv, President of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.


"World Environment Day is a driver for establishing collective opportunities between these experts, providing a platform to influence environmental management on a wider scale, and a great opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the understanding that mankind cannot be green by regulation alone. However, when considering the continued impact that we have on the environment across all sectors, the awareness of this highly pertinent UN initiative is still too low, which we aim to change."

 - Dr Peter Matthews CBE OBE, Chair of the Society for the Environment


"We’re thrilled to be launching Festival of Nature at such an important national event for the sector. World Environment Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about all of the important issues facing our natural world, and more importantly, to create more alliances to work together."

 - Savita Custead, Chief Executive of Bristol Natural History Consortium


 

World Environment Day Conference

For further details and to register to attend this expert led conference, please visit the event listing

Tags:  Chartered Environmentalist  Environment  World Environment Day 

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