E4C welcomes a new writer and editor

I am delighted to announce a new member of our small, but growing team.  Sharada Balasubramanian is an environmental educator, writer and a very special person who is highly passionate about the natural world and teaching children and adults about the wonders of nature.

Sharada Balasubramanian

Sharada has been supporting the work of E4C for over a year, and has been getting to know and understand what we are trying to achieve through our environmental education work.  She has helped to keep the momentum going, and I am very pleased to be able to welcome her to our Editorial Panel for EnvELOP and as a contributor to the E4C blog.

Here is some background information about Sharada, and I’m sure you will join me in looking forward to reading her posts, and the material she will be helping to develop for EnvELOP.
Sharada Balasubramanian lives in Coimbatore, India and has been a journalist for the last 9 years. Her passion is rooted to environmental journalism with a focus on conservation education through writing. Though she has published various articles on travel, business, social entrepreneurs and change-makers, her aim is to raise an awareness to educate about the environment through creative non-fiction writing for children and informed reporting by interacting with scientists who are working on conservation issues and highlighting the importance and need for such conservation measures. Last year, she published a book titled ‘Backyard Birding’ in an attempt to reconnect urban humans to nature. She strongly believes that nature is to be preserved and treasured, to be enjoyed and protected and she chose writing to express her love and concern for nature. She is attempting to reach out to schools to educate them and teach them bird watching and educating them on environmental conservation. Sharada also teaches writing for college students and has given talks on self-confidence, motivation, communication skills, to name some. When she is not writing, she likes to go bird watching, travel and explore the country and the world. She has a blog called wildlifemusings.wordpress.com. You can also look at her website to read her stories on www.sharadabalasubramanian.in

January 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm Leave a comment

Taking Time for the Little Things

Take time to notice the little things

I often read Richard Louv’s highly inspirational blogs and various posts.  He is the author of Last Child in the Woods, the man who coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder”, and is a keen advocate for getting our children into the outdoors to experience nature, and more importantly to make the connections that we are rapidly losing as the pace of modern living continues to accelerate an alarming rate.

One of his recent blogs, The Little Things, struck a particular chord with me, and I wanted to share it with you.  In his post, he invites his audience to be mindful of the little things, the things in our daily lives that we constantly overlook.  The familiar smells, sights and sounds in the minutiae of life.  He asks his readers to pay attention to the familiar things when the house is empty  (“in the silence, look for the little things”), and when the family returns again, to do the same.  “These little things are everything”.

You can read the full blog here : http://richardlouv.com/blog/the-little-things/

Similarly, when you are out in nature, even if this is in your back garden or yard, or the local park, take time to be mindful here too, to be aware of “the little things,” the things you take for granted, the things you overlook as you rush through your busy life.  Slow down, take the time to stop and listen.  And in your imagination create a little mind map of your experience.  You will be pleasantly surprised at what you notice.  Perhaps memories will be evoked.  Perhaps you will be inspired to be creative.  Maybe you will notice some sounds that are no longer there; a particular bird song that is missing, for example.

And in being mindful of the little things, the bigger things can gain their proper perspective and context, and life becomes much richer.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Education 4 Conservation has a series of workshop programmes designed to focus participants on the “little things” through awareness of sound.  The first of the workshops, Soundwalk Warwickshire, will be delivered in spring 2012.  

December 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment

Putting a value on natural capital

The monetary value of natural capital is nearly always overlooked. Here, Conservation International director, Pavan Sukhdev, talks about what this means for communities, for countries, and for business.

Should we place economic value on natural resources that have an inherent value? Will this make any difference to the way an exploding human population uses (and often abuses) the Earth’s finite resources?

This TED presentation certainly gives plenty of food for thought, and perhaps it is long overdue that we do attach more of an economic value on natural goods if only to make consumers realise the true cost. But more importantly, in an economically-driven and highly politicised world, perhaps we should also be more mindful of the inherent value of what we consume, whether this is food resources (animal and vegetable), timber, oil, natural gas, medicines, and so on.

Far too many people, particularly in developed nations, have no concept at all of the true cost of the food they eat, the fuel they use, and the goods they consume. The raw ingredients that go into producing processed foods (i.e. palm oil), and into producing electronic goods (precious metals and minerals), all have a far higher cost to the environment than the price of the goods on the supermarket shelf. Is the answer raising the economic value of these goods at the check-out? In reality, that’s probably not going to happen. But as Pavan explains, getting corporations to be transparent about the costs of producing consumer goods may go some way towards addressing this very complex issue.

Ecology -v- economy is a very complicated subject, with no easy solutions, but a better awareness of some of the issues is what is needed, and I think this presentation goes some way towards this.

December 30, 2011 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

Social Enterprise Africa

Young People on the Butterflies Programme, Uganda

E4C is proud to support Social Enterprise Africa (SEA), a Community Interest Company (CIC) based in Birmingham, UK, and headed up by Ben Parkinson.

SEA works with children and young people in Uganda who are selected to take part in the Butterfly Programme and for the children there is the Chrysalis School.  All the young people taking part in the Butterfly Programme are highly resourceful, and all have their own individual stories to tell about their lives, their hopes and dreams, and what they plan to do to make their country a better place to live.  But more than this, the young changemakers would like to eliminate poverty in Uganda within ten years.

Such ambitious aims require ambitious plans and actions, and the Butterflies have already started to rise to the challenge.  We have been hugely impressed by the work the Butterflies have done so far, with each of the young people creating and championing a wide variety of projects from growing melon crops to organising sports activities through Project Circulate.  Other projects include activities working on women’s issues, a biogas project, and developing international arts programmes.

SEA relies on funding and other support to run the Chrysalis School, and to support all the young people on the programme, so please visit their website to see how you can help http://www.socialenterpriseafrica.org/

The young peoples’ blogs also make inspiring and fascinating reading, so please do take some time to explore the blogs further, and see for yourself the resourcefulness of the Butterflies.

December 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Soundwalk Warwickshire – an appeal for help

We have made it through the first round of the Nat West Community Force funding application.  We have now been invited to post photographs and videos and have to put some effort into encouraging people to vote for our project.

As well as posting photographs and videos another idea would be to create a dynamic and media-rich presentation that would tell the world all about Soundwalk Warwickshire and what we are trying to achieve.

To achieve this we need some volunteers to help us put this together .  I have put the basic framework of the presentation together, but now need to add in graphics, additional photos, video footage and a soundtrack.

If you would like to get involved and help us get this programme off the ground please get in touch.

About Soundwalk Warwickshire

Soundwalk Warwickshire is part of our larger Wild Echoes workshop programme which focuses on acoustic ecology.  Our aim is to explore the natural world and our cultural heritage through sound and acoustics.  We will offer a wide range of activities from the very simple to the highly complex.

At a very basic level a soundwalk could simply be a walk in the park, woodland, farmland, an urban environment.  The only criteria are that the soundwalker(s) become attuned to their aural landscape and take some time to reflect on their experiences.

At a more complex level we will be recording natural and displaced natural sounds and using art and technology to create soundscape pieces.  We will also explore what sound, noise, silence and acoustics means to different cultures across different timelines.  For example, exploring historical soundscapes and comparing them with modern soundscapes.

If you want to be a part of this exciting journey, then please get in touch.

August 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

Shhhh…Hear That? It's World Listening Day. (via Thinking Out Loud)

This is a great blog that looks at a few simple ways to celebrate World Listening Day. E4C is about to launch its first series of soundwalks in Warwickshire so watch this space.

Shhhh...Hear That? It's World Listening Day. unplug iPod music stops abruptly cricket song instead ~Dr SunWolf July 18 is World Listening Day, I just learned.  One of the principle purposes of World Listening Day is “to celebrate the practice of listening as it relates to the world around us, environmental awareness, and acoustic ecology . “ What a phenomenal idea!  Just to celebrate the practice of listening is reason enough to note the day. It should be an international holiday! As I writ … Read More

via Thinking Out Loud

July 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

Learning from nature

Working with large, charismatic animals is surely one of the most rewarding things you can do, and I’ve long known that we have so much to learn from them.  Indeed humans have been learning from other species for millenia.  It is so sad, then, that we continue to persecute the Earth’s large mammals to such an extent that population numbers are now drastically reduced to dangerously low levels.

The proud beasts of the forests and plains survive in pockets of wild habitat that are also shrinking as a result of human encroachment.

The link to the article below in today’s Independent touches on the importance of trophic cascade (the importance of apex predators in the web of life), and also the parallels that can be drawn between our species and others.  For example, the importance of family groups and social structures.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/could-big-cats-be-facing-extinction-2308722.html

Big cats are on the brink.  This article is a plea for us to take heed and to really learn the lessons, not just for the sake of the big cats, but for our own as well.  The world will be much diminished if these wonderful creatures disappear from the landscape once and for all.  With fewer than 900 tigers left in India time is running out….

July 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

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