Name: Alan Thomson
What first triggered your interest in environmental issues?
The general increase in reporting of environmental issues over the last 20 years has resulted in me being aware of issues however recently I've found myself standing in the middle of a pavement or sitting in a traffic jam looking at so-called developments whether it is a building or a road and asking myself "Surely this is not progress, surely this is having a negative impact either on ecosystems or socially?".
What are you working on, concerned by, or motivated by at the moment?
I have literally just completed the first module of an Environmental Studies Degree with a view to taking part in development projects on a formal or informal basis.
I have a general concern with the levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere and the Earth's ability to cope with regulating these levels. The obvious conclusion is global warming and the impact of climate change.
I am particularly motivated by the ongoing exploitation of the Earth’s resources for energy sources specifically the tar sands developments in Northern Canada. This energy intensive process clearly causes environmental damage to the area through deforestation, release of toxins into the atmosphere and the pollution of nearby water resources. In my opinion the pictures of these developments highlight how desperate companies are to source energy and hopefully shall result in a change in consumer practices.
What do you anticipate working on, or thinking about, in relation to environmental issues over the next 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years?
My driver is to be able to influence and/or shape environmental policy at either a local or national level. This may be via working for a Local Authority/NDPB or for an enviromental organisation. However, I genuinely believe that the only way to change how we are addressing the climate change issue is to influence the policy itself i.e. cut out the middlemen.
How optimistic or pessimistic are you as you look at where we might be in 2020, and why?
Honestly, I am not convinced that we will have made progress as the decision-makers are not prioritising the environmental challenges. Relatively straightforward initiatives e.g. traffic restrictions in towns/cities, development of green-ways and cycle routes, construction regulations are not being implemented therefore I struggle to see how these people will see the macro picture.
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