SUNDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2020
The Naturalist's Bookshelf goes live, with friends, at Dublin Book Festival at 3pm on Sunday 13th November at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. I'm so excited to be joined by poet Jane Clarke (When the Tree Falls), photographer Tina Claffey (Portal) and writer Richard Nairn (Wild Shores) to talk about the nature writers we love, and take off our shelves for inspiration and information, again and again. In partnership with RTE Lyric FM's Culture File. Please book now to join us!
Events at the Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas:
Friday 20 August 2021:
WHAT IS NATURE REALLY WORTH? New, science-based
accounting systems reveal that nature is really worth much more than we usually think. But how can we build that insight into public policy
and private actions? Paddy Woodworth and Catherine Farrell (of the INCASE project) discuss how we can use natural capital accounting to inform better decisions for people and planet.
On Saturday 21, at 3.05pm:
THE FUTURE IS IN THE FIELDS: Paddy Woodworth, Lisa
Fingleton and Hannah Quinn Mulligan talk ‘Creative Conservation on the Farm’ - about policies and practices which can keep Irish farmers happily on the land, while meeting increasingly urgent climate
and biodiversity targets, and on the role the Arts can play in this
On Sunday 22nd, at 3.40pm:
TO PREVENT PANDEMICS, RESTORE DEGRADED
LANDSCAPES: Paddy Woodworth and Barry McMahon talk about why epidemic diseases leap from animals to humans, and how the destruction of intact habitats is increasing the frequency and
virulence of pandemics
Event: Catalonia in Context:
Independence or Unity?
Location: McNeill Theatre, Hamilton Building, Trinity College, Dublin
Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2017, 19.15.
Title: Trumping Democracy: How two nationalisms fuel Spain's Catalan crisis
Abstract: While the rise in support for independence in Catalonia in recent years has undoubtedly been driven by legitimate frustration with Madrid's intransigence, the mainstream, centre-right PDeCat (formerly CiU) has wrapped itself in the Catalan flag very largely in order to avoid taking responsibility for its own economic mismanagement, embrace of austerity, and corruption. Meanwhile, the right-wing Partido Popular (PP) know that a hard line against Catalan demands, legitimate or otherwise, is a very good vote-getter in the rest of Spain -- and it also needs to distract the public from the massive corruption scandals that have damaged its reputation. So both sides in the conflict have stoked the same fires, while the underlying economic problems of Spain and Catalonia are ignored.
Organizers: DU Hispanic Society/Trinity Politics Society
Event: LH PRISM Invasive Species Summit
Location: The New York Botanical Garden
Date: Friday November 3rd, 2017
Title: Removal is not (usually) enough!
The vital role of ecological restoration in keeping landscapes free of invasive alien plants
Abstract: This scenario is bitterly familiar to conservationists struggling against invasive alien plants: a site is cleared, at great effort and cost; five years later the same site is twice as infested as previously. Failure to apply holistic principles of ecological restoration during and after removal, no matter how comprehensive, often makes the last state worse than first.
But can restoration really work, in our age of accelerating global change? Some critics, and indeed some former restorationists, argue that we have no choice but to embrace ‘novel’ ecosystems as the new normal, accept Fred Pearce’s dictum that invasive plants will somehow become ‘nature’s salvation’, and abandon classic restoration goals.
After a decade researching restoration sites and restoration practices across the globe, I argue that restoration is making major technical advances, and has more support among the public and policy-makers than ever before. And its core principles practices have recently been well articulated in new International Standards launched by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). I will discuss restoration successes (and some failures!) on small scales (in my native Ireland, and Chicago) and large scales (South Africa, Australia). While global change is indeed very challenging, the keys to successful restoration and the permanent elimination of invasive plants are now in the hands of engaged communities that can persuade their societies to commit sufficient resources to do the job properly.
Event: Lecture for the School of Languages and Literatures in University College, Dublin
Date: 5 October, 2017
Title: The Spanish-Catalan Crisis: Why Spain is sliding towards civil conflict
Video: See Video of Lecture Here
Event: SER 2017 World Conference
Location: Foz de Iguaçu, Brazil
Date: Monday 28 August, noon to 2 pm.
Title: Restoring wetlands into the future:
Braced for change, mindful of complexity, resisting ‘novelty’, committed to restoration
Abstract: Wetlands, like all other systems, will experience significant new stresses as climate changes, even if the current political shift in favour of fossil fuel lobbies can be rapidly reversed. If intact or restored, wetlands will also play a major role in reducing climate change impacts, through sequestering carbon, retaining water during extreme weather events, and the resilience of their biodiverse communities. This makes the ecological restoration of wetlands a greater imperative than ever. The challenge for ecological restorationists is to predict likely changes as far as possible, and respond to them with flexible strategies, while rigorously pursuing the target of restoring to historical trajectories and native communities that is the distinctive feature of our field. We should reject the fashionable ‘new conservation’ strategies that rebrand degraded ecosystems as ‘novel’. In my view, these strategies are the antithesis of restoration, and facilitate social acceptance of ecologically impoverished systems. Despite the new problems presented by climate change, these systems largely remain restorable where sufficient expertise, community engagement and resources are dedicated to the restoration enterprise. However, our commitment to restoration must be matched by humility about knowledge gaps in restoration ecology, and transparency about the complexity of the restoration process. We must beware the moral hazard of over-promising to mitigate climate change through post-restoration greenhouse gas sequestration on wetlands. For example, restored peatlands, while sequestering CO2, may also increase methane emissions. This budget is complex. I will illustrate these points through case studies.
Event: SER 2017 World Conference
Title: Big Ideas, Big Practice 1: Do Big Ideas Matter in Restoration?
Location: Foz de Iguaçu, Brazil
Date: Tuesday 29 August, 13.30 to 15.30.
Abstract: The first part of a twin symposium that seeks to bridge a gap that has always haunted SER conferences: How does science inform practice in restoration, how does practice inform science? How can greater synergy be achieved between these two branches of our field, especially at an historical moment when demands to scale up restoration are increasing exponentially? Do Big Ideas Matter in Restoration?
Rethinking the great restoration debates from a humanities perspective: How much does language matter in restoration theory? What values lie behind the words and metaphors we use in restoration ecology? Do clear and agreed definitions of restoration concepts generate more successful restoration on the ground, or do they limit innovation and inhibit urgently needed actions? How do we distinguish science from policy? Is the ‘novel’ ecosystems debate helpful or harmful to restoration in the field? Is history really obsolete as a guide for the future? Where do humans fit in restored landscapes? Does restoration contribute to, or conflict with, the urgent economic needs of poor communities? Clarifying the basic ideas and principles of ecological restoration, in order to sharpen and energise our responses to the challenges of global change and scaling up
Note: My role at this symposium is organiser/chair, along with Justin Jonson, who is chairing the second part, Big Ideas. [LINK]. Justin's session, 'Big Practice: Are We Action Ready?' follows on after a break.
The presenters at my session are:
Carolina Murcia, Ecologist (Colombia): The power of words in ecological restoration: are we building a Tower of Babel?
Eliane Ceccon, Ecologist (Mexico): Restoration in Mexico: The challenge of integrating society, ecology, politics and practice.
Joseph Veldman, Ecologist (USA) Ideas of antiquity: old-growth savannas and misperceptions of tropical forest degradation
Cristina Eisenberg, Ecologist, Writer (US): Earthwatch Institute: Lessons Learned about Language and Big Ideas across 45 Years of Global Ecological Restoration
Nicole Evans, Anthropologist (US): Closing a Door and Opening a Window: On Standardization in Restoration Ecology
Note: this section will be updated over the coming weeks
Event: Airfield Estate Food Series -- A Century of Food in Ireland
Title: Joining up our Thinking: The Natural Capital Concept, Food Production and Climate Change
Location: Airfield House, Dundrum, Co Dublin.
Date: 17 April, 2017
Link to video/slides
Event: Green Foundation Ireland Conservation Seminar
Title: Ecological Restoration -- the best conservation strategy for the climate change century?
Location: The Mansion House, Dublin
Date: 15 April, 2014
Link to video/slides