botany conservation biology

technogarden at your peril

Dr Shaun Russell is Director of the Treborth Botanic Garden at the Bangor University.   He is conservation biology, having worked to save environments pretty much everywhere – from bryophytes on subantartic islands, to big game in Africa to flower meadows in Wales.


Talking points

We need to move beyond fortress conservation

Technogarden at your peril

We have to deal with the complexities of nature, connectivity is key.

We need to value things that aren’t charismatic

Sustainable: Giving to the world more than you take out of it, not the same amount but more.

Success: The creation of the UNESCO biosphere reserve in Southern Chile, stopping the salmon farms, the timber people and the mineral extractions. Getting environment clauses into the constitution of Namibia, the time of independence where sustainability was on the rise.

Superpower: The fact that I have been lucky enough to work around the world, my ability to open people’s mind up and the connections that I possess.

Activist: Not really high profile, I am a part of my local activist groups.  I’m not a type of person who would go and hold a placard, I’m more a working behind the scenes with the students.  Hope for the future. 

Motivation: The love of countryside and wildlife.

Challenges: Leading the biodiversity action plan for the university.

Miracle: The first thing that went through my head was some sort of vast natural disaster that cut the world’s population in half, humans are just going to have to find the balance with nature. Another miracle would be for people in power to start making a difference towards a sustainable future.

Advice: We have limits that nature imposes on us and we are going to have to abide by them.


This conversation was made with help of the Sustainability Lab at the Bangor University.