Harmonise with Nature
What’s the cause of the damage that humans are doing to the world – and how do we reverse the behaviour pattern?
These are two key questions tackled by biologist Dr Ulrich Loening in a new lecture.
With the title Harmonise with Nature, its aim is “identifying and reversing the causes of industrial society’s destructive behaviour”.
“That which makes us human also bestows on us the potential to develop an ultimately suicidal power over Nature,” he says. In the lecture he identifies nine basic attributes of industrial civilisation.
“The incompatibility of these with natural processes reveals what needs to change, what options for change are possible, and what changes are emerging. The analysis provides a framework for development that reverses current trends and leads towards planetary sustainability. This will require a shift of motivation away from power over Nature to one of cooperation and lays the basis for cultural changes, core areas being science, economics and agriculture."
Dr Loening has had two careers at the University of Edinburgh. One was in research for more than 20 years on RNA, finishing as Reader in Molecular Biology. He was then Director of the Centre for Human Ecology, again for more than 20 years. During this time, he converted two 18th-century stone buildings into homes, the later one with various solar heating features; he has also grown organic vegetables to feed the family for more than 65 years. He is now using all these experiences to develop better biochemical understanding of how crops control their own pests, changing the philosophy of farming from a battle to cooperation.
This is the second in a series of talks by members of the Resource Use Institute, which was established in Scotland in 1969 to highlight fresh approaches to the use of resources to meet economic and environmental challenges. The series covers varied aspects of resource management, including land use and community regeneration, energy, minerals and the environment.
Scotland Net Zero 2050: Where Will All The Metals Come From?
The energy transition to low carbon renewable sources of electricity with the goal of Net Zero 2050 requires a vast new infrastructure (eg electricity generation, distribution and storage) and replacement of consumer goods (eg electric cars).
This requires a huge amount of metals in multiples of the current annual supply, with the dilemma of the environmental effects of mining and processing. These include copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, lithium, graphite, platinum, and rare earth elements.
Many of these are Critical Raw Materials, as defined by the EC. Where will the metals come from to meet the increased demand? Are there enough resources? Can they be developed quickly enough? Is Net Zero feasible in the time frame? International mineral resources geologist Dr Stewart D. Redwood of RUI will describe the challenges facing the mining industry, new opportunities for sustainable domestic industry, and new resources such as deep sea mining that is about to start commercial production.
Stewart Redwood is an independent geological consultant specializing in minerals exploration and project evaluation. He has more than 30 years’ experience in minerals exploration including over 20 years in Latin America. He has visited over 60 countries and has crossed both polar circles. He has a geology degree from Glasgow University and a PhD from Aberdeen University, and lives in Panama.
This is the fourth in a series of talks by members of the Resource Use Institute, which was established in Scotland in 1969 to highlight fresh approaches to the use of resources to meet economic and environmental challenges. The series covers varied aspects of resource management, including land use and community regeneration, energy, minerals and the environment.
A hydrogen future? - And who benefits?
We hear increasingly of hydrogen as the fuel of the future. What are the challenges and the practical steps ahead? Engineer David Boyd has been looking into a fast-changing situation, looking at challenges and asking about solutions. He covers properties, production, storage and transportation, usage, development scenarios, and economics. Will hydrogen simply reinforce problems of energy costs or could it be developed as a means for alleviating fuel poverty in rural Scotland? Could it lead to new value-added-at-source industries like ammonia, fertiliser and indeed methanol?