UpFront Nov 23

Reading Mary Kahn’s story for this month’s cover highlights how much individuals do for local and wider communities. Taking up the slack when the Government or local councils can’t help, the many people out there who are dedicated to making the world a better place are a constant inspiration. Mary was recently awarded the Prime Minister’s ‘Points of Light’ award. Points of Light are ‘outstanding individual volunteers’. Every weekday the Prime Minister recognises an inspirational volunteer with the daily award. Mary’s interest in helping people, and her first introduction to volunteering, came when she helped her mother doing ‘Meals on Wheels’ as a youngster. Now at 84 years old, Mary’s mother is still volunteering. Another person we read about in this issue whose enthusiasm for trying to make change is Dr Kate Rawles. Kate is coming to Sladers Yard in West Bay in November to talk about her efforts to highlight the need for urgent, effective, and suitably radical responses to our multiple environmental challenges. After studying philosophy at Aberdeen University, and environmental philosophy at Glasgow and Colorado State Universities Kate became an indoor philosophy lecturer for nearly a decade. From 2004-2014 she worked half-time as a lecturer in Outdoor Studies at the University of Cumbria—teaching ‘big picture’ environmental issues, sustainability, and environmental education. One of the subjects she will talk about at Sladers Yard is what she learned while cycling 8288 miles in South America from Cartagena, Colombia to Ushuaia in Southern Patagonia—the town they call ‘The End of the World’. Kate built her own bicycle from bamboo that came from the Eden Project in Cornwall and welded it together using hemp soaked in a European eco resin. Her goal was to explore biodiversity—‘what it is, what’s happening to it, why it matters and above all, what can and is being done to protect it.’ Kate highlights how biodiversity loss and its impact on earth’s life support systems is arguably an even greater threat to our survival and well-being—and those of millions of other species—than climate change.