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Author: rsgsadmin

Down to Earth: The Return of Apollo 11

Written by Jo Woolf, RSGS Writer-in-Residence and Author of The Great Horizon. In the early hours of 21st July 1969, inside the small, cramped space of their landing capsule, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were trying to get to sleep. The two American astronauts had just stepped into the history books, becoming the first humans to land on the Moon. Clad in their iconic NASA space suits with backpacks of breathing apparatus, they had climbed down the ladder from the Eagle landing module, jumping off the last three feet or so from the bottom rung, and had ‘bounced’ around...

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The Climate Change Scotland Act: 10 Years On

Written by Mike Robinson, Chief Executive Ten years ago today, Scotland passed the most stringent climate legislation in the world.  It genuinely was world leading, and came on the back of the largest civil society campaign Scotland had ever seen. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act is much more than simply a 42% target. It contains restrictions on the use of Carbon credits, inclusion of aviation and shipping emissions, commitments on sustainable land use, public engagement, energy efficiency, renewable heat, warm buildings, micro generation and waste prevention. It also established duties on all public bodies, and the requirement to reflect...

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RSE Peter Wilson Lecture: A Panellist’s Response

Written by Mike Robinson, Chief Executive With the recent declaration of a climate emergency we are finally recognising the urgency of addressing climate change. But it is a complex and multi-faceted issue. We need of course to protect natural carbon stores, and prevent them becoming sources – so soil restoration, tree planting, nitrogen budgets, methane reductions are important. We need to stop damaging the planet’s ability to absorb natural releases. And we need to reconsider our priorities for food, focusing more on population and planetary health. But as challenging as the climate targets and statements are, they are still...

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Sir Ernest Shackleton: A Hero’s Return

Written by Jo Woolf, RSGS Writer-in-Residence and Author of The Great Horizon. 110 years ago, the crew of ‘Nimrod’ were greeted by rapturous crowds on their return to London. As accolades poured in, Shackleton basked in the glow of victory… but in secret, he knew that he had unfinished work to do. Just after 5 pm on 14th June 1909, a train from Dover pulled up at Charing Cross Station and one of the world’s most famous polar explorers stepped onto the platform. Ernest Shackleton, a newly-returning hero, had spent the best part of the last two years in...

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Staying Positive Amidst Environmental Crises

Written by Mike Robinson, Chief Executive 2018 was a year of plastics, with unprecedented public concern expressed after Blue Planet II made this longstanding issue a household one. Action sprung up everywhere. By the end of 2018, however, building on this realisation, we witnessed an even more fundamental swing. It began with the UN IPCC report on climate change stating we had 12 years to bring about real change or face unprecedented consequences – it sparked a significant mood change in the discussions around climate change and biodiversity.  Today, there is more urgency, anger and panic in the debate than...

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