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Author: rsgsadmin

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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Sri Lanka: Fragile Jewel in the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka is a country in turmoil. The recent attacks in churches and hotels in three of its cities, leaving at least 250 people dead, and hundreds injured, has left people in everyday life in complete shock, and promises to have repercussions for some time to come. This country, which is still rebuilding itself after twenty six years of a terrible and self-destructive civil war, had managed to move on in the decade since, building a seemingly peaceful and religiously tolerant society in this ‘emerald jewel’ of the Indian Ocean. The country has the great advantages of having beautiful...

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Mary Moffat: Dealing with the Daily Dramas of David Livingstone

Written by Jo Woolf, RSGS Writer-in-Residence and Author of The Great Horizon. David Livingstone’s name is immortalised in the annals of glorious exploration, but comparatively little is known about his wife, Mary Moffat. Yet Mary, with her quiet determination and practicality, was by his side during many of his adventures, looking after their children, helping in their engagements with African people, and making the best of life-threatening situations. She has been called ‘Livingstone’s greatest asset’, and with good reason… On 9th January 1845, in the church at Kuruman in Bechuanaland*, Mary Moffat and David Livingstone were married. Aged 23,...

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