Nature and poverty: a 21st century imperative

“For me, making the link between poverty and the health of the natural world is one of the most important things we have to do this century.” So says wildlife broadcaster and environmental campaigner Mary Colwell, as she prepares to deliver a lecture in Glasgow. One of the many marvels of nature is that it is generally incredibly resilient,” she continues.  “It gives back in abundance if we allow it room.  The challenge is demonstrating these connections to those who dismiss care for the earth as a minority interest.”

Mary Colwell’s lecture is entitled Poverty and the Natural World. It will be the third in a series of lectures with the title Poverty in a World of Plenty. Previous speakers have been Scotland’s former Chief Medical Officer, Sir Harry Burns, and Sr Lynne Baron FCJ who took women and education as her topic.

Thoughtful action

“Great controversy continues to surround attitudes to the environment,” says Mary Colwell who has won numerous awards for her BBC Natural History productions on radio, television and the internet. “Many people still do not believe that issues such as global warming are real and there are those who seem to take the attitude that if we ignore it the problem will go away. Others express deep concern over the environmental impact of CO2 emissions, rising sea levels and impact on climate and food production. Such stances contrast sharply and can leave us with a sense of hopelessness and confusion.  However, there are those who would suggest that we can make a win-win choice, which includes accepting that caring for the planet is in everyone’s best interests and entirely possible with a considered approach and thoughtful action.”

Mary has a particular interest in the relationship between faith and nature and thinks that if the world's faiths engage with conservation then we will see a sea-change in the fortunes of life on earth. “Once that link is understood we will see many organisations that otherwise seem one step removed from protecting nature, like many charities, NGOs and the churches, take far more interest,” she says. 

The lecture by Mary Colwell, Poverty and the Natural World, will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 16 September at the Centre for Social and Environmental Justice, St Aloysius College, 45 Hill Street, Glasgow G3 6RJ.

Photo: Mary Colwell reports for the BBC with Tom Arnbom and Torbjorn Hegedus from the World Wildlife Fund. Image courtesy of Chris Sperring