‘The thing about landscapes for me is that they are the product of people’s interactions with their natural worlds. We shape landscapes, and landscapes shape us.’
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved landscapes and being in them – mountains, forests, agricultural, it doesn’t really matter. The thing about landscapes for me is that they are the product of people’s interactions with their natural worlds. We shape landscapes, and landscapes shape us. This can be by way of our engagements with the landscapes we depend on, our professional lives, our broader concerns with sustainable futures and also our concerns with what kind of future we want to leave.
These interactions are both micro and macro. There are the fine-grained interactions of the everyday life of people and how they live in their landscapes, or the small waterfall, or the flowering orchid, or the wren as it moves through the undergrowth. And there are also the macro impacts of Government policies, of invasive species and of climate change. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, landscapes are pieces interlocking to form a greater whole. And the challenge is to see what happens when these pieces no longer have the smooth, easy, locking they are supposed to have.
I’m probably best described as a writer and independent advisor working at the intersection of nature, people, communities and culture. I have a specific interest in the ways these insights can inform communities and their contributions to sustainable futures in their landscapes (and beyond), as well as the agencies, organisations and professionals who are engaged in the sustainable management of landscapes and ecological systems.
My work has an underlying focus – by engaging with landscapes we not only understand more about them, their ecological foundations and the people who live in them, we also understand more about the ways these fit into broader quests for sustainability and sustainable futures. I’ve spent 25 years working with these ideas around the world.
And when I say landscapes, perhaps I should just say ‘scapes’, because these things are also about small-scale fishing communities and their pressures, and the riverscapes found throughout the world. And of course there are the urban landscapes in which people can engage with the urban space.
There are two things I’d like your visit to do. The first is to begin conversations which lead us to actively engage with landscapes and the people who shape them. This might be through our actions, our values, our ideas, our approach to travel and our ethics, or it might be that you want to discuss my professional work in more detail. This is the ‘thinking’ or ‘reflecting’ aim and I’d be pleased to have these conversations with you.
The second is for the site to facilitate, in whatever way you see, your own engagements and support your own approaches/ideas. Hopefully the site has ideas for you to engage with, mechanisms for you to engage with others and with me, and ideas/opportunities that can be explored and can become part of your ideas, actions and approaches to travel. This is the ‘doing’ aim.
The site brings these two together at various places. To my mind, engaging with landscapes means reflecting and thinking about options, approaches, possibilities and outcomes. It’s about both awareness and actions. So you will find things that contribute to both of these (awareness and actions) within this site.
Take from your visit what you like and let’s start some conversations about how my ideas and professional experience can complement, support and add to yours.
Two connected strands
My work has two connected strands – the people/community/nature/culture connection in landscapes (including the sustainability of these) and building active constituents for landscapes through a particular approach to travel and tourism (what I call local slow travel or LoST). You will see these strands in the pages on this site and the ‘Blog’ updates in the tab above (or here).
People in Landscapes
The people/communities/nature/culture connection highlights the ways people use and value their ecosystems and their environments. It also highlights the socio-economic, political and cultural forces which support or fail to support these relationships.
This is the ‘people in landscapes’ focus of the micro and macro scales and you can read some more by clicking on the tab above or here. You can also see more of my professional practice in this by clicking on the collaboration page above, or clicking here.
Local approaches to travel
Ensuring tourism is locally focused is an important outcome of travel in landscapes. For me, this kind of travel embraces an ethical, conceptual, practical and experiential framework for sustainable travel and tourism, where travellers engage with the landscape – with all its components – rather than travel through it. This is where understanding more about landscapes, which the first strand focuses on, contributes to our awareness, our actions and our travels.
I hope you find all this interesting and useful.
Please have a look around the site, and if you’d like to know some more about my professional work, please have a look at my collaboration page. There you’ll find some more information. Or get in touch with me directly.