Connecting with earth


Connecting with earth: Māori, Gamilaraay, and contemporary perspectives on connecting to earth and reviving soil health

Monday 8 November 2.00pm - 3.30pm
Kelvin Gallery, University of Glasgow (and online)

When the UN Secretary General said that making peace with Nature is the defining task of the 21st Century, he was referring to the disconnect between the rules that govern the global economy and the rules that govern Nature. This disconnect has led to climate change, biodiversity collapse and severe soil erosion. “Connecting with earth” explores ways to bridge this disconnect from various disciplinary and cultural vantage points. Featuring a ground-breaking film and presentations from Indigenous environmental experts and scientists, this event paints a picture of the past, present and possible futures of humanity’s connection to earth.

In addition to this discussion, Jim Sutherland and Morag McKinnon, presented an excerpt from their impressionistic film "When Fish Begin to Crawl". The film is a meditation on humanity’s relationship with nature, spanning geological deep time and present-day eco-emergencies. Sutherland’s resonantly evocative film score is performed by the Evolution Orchestra. 

Framing the film’s urgent yet hopeful dialogue between music and image are four presentations from leading environmental experts. Together, the presentations explore the entwined nature of soil health, economies, Indigenous food sovereignty, and cultural relations. Speakers include:

  • Professor Stuart Kauffman, a MacArthur Fellow and theoretical biologist from the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle
  • Dr. Jo Handelsman, former senior science advisor to President Obama and author of the forthcoming book A World Without Soil
  • Garth Harmsworth, Principal Māori Researcher and senior environmental scientist at Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, Aotearoa-New Zealand
  • Jacob Birch, a Gamilaraay academic working to revive First Nations’ foodways in Australia
  • Robert Barratt, Professor of Education at Lancaster University

The film "When Fish Began to Crawl" can be viewed here: When Fish Began to Crawl

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 31 October – 12 November 2021. The meeting will bring countries together to work towards achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

Further information:

First published: 26 October 2021

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