For the one life we have
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What's On

Tues 4 February 2020Neil Bruce

Defusing an Explosive Issue: Engineering GM plants to remove explosives and other pollutants from the biosphere with Professor Neil Bruce, Department of Biology, University of York.

There is an increasing pressure to reclaim land for redevelopment and agricultural use that has been contaminated by persistent organic and elemental pollutants. Organic pollutants are mostly anthropogenic that have historically arisen from old traditional industrial processes but pollution still continues to arise from sources such as accidental spillages from chemical industries, agriculture and military activities. Numerous organic pollutants, a typical example being the explosive TNT, are highly recalcitrant to degradation, toxic and can persist in the environment for many years. Toxic inorganic pollutants occur as natural elements in the earth and activities such as mining promote their release into the environment. The lack of affordable and effective cleanup technologies that can be used over large areas of land requires the development of novel low cost sustainable processes. Recent interest has focused on the use of plants, as they have a remarkable ability to extract compounds and metals from soil and water, while their penetrative root systems enable them to interrogate a diverse range of environments.

Plants are exposed on a daily basis to toxic compounds and their survival from exposure to these harmful substances depends on inducible detoxification systems. In this talk, I will give examples on how an understanding of the mechanisms of plant detoxification and the use of genetic engineering can lead to robust plant systems suitable for environmental cleanup. I will also discuss how we are developing these GM plants for remediation of explosives contaminated land on US military sites.

7.30pm to 9.00pm, in the Denham Room, Priory Street Centre, York YO1 6ET.

Mon 10 February

Philosophy Group - Sharing the earth’s limited resources. 7.30pm, in the Chapter Room of the Cross Keys, 34 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LF.

Tues 3 March 2020Sarah Bryan

Leaving Faith – the experience of a Jehovah’s Witness with Sarah Bryan.

Sarah was raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses and remained active within this faith until she was 29 years of age.

She says:

At that point my life changed beyond recognition as I stepped out of 'The Truth' and into 'The World'.

I will be sharing my personal experience, helped along by baffling JW jargon, while giving consideration to just some of the questions that arise when considering faith.

  • What does faith mean to the believer?
  • To what extent do individuals in a faith community consider, analyse and discuss the theology or is community and 'belonging' more absorbing?
  • Can believers and non-believers find common ground?

This also provides an opportunity to ask questions about a group which is somewhat illusive despite being so publicly visible.

Sarah Bryan works as a consultant trauma and attachment therapist with children, young people and families. She is a wife, mother and atheist.

7.30pm to 9.00pm, in the Denham Room, Priory Street Centre, York YO1 6ET.

Wed 18 March

Book Group - Adventures in the Anthropocene, by Gaia Vince. 8.00pm in The Black Swan, 23 Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PR.

Mon 30 March

Philosophy Group - How can Humanism spread without being (like) a religion?. 7.30pm, in the Chapter Room of the Cross Keys, 34 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LF.

Tues 7 April 2020

Six faces of Language - What makes language language? with Deak Kirkham

7.30pm to 9.00pm, in the Denham Room, Priory Street Centre, York YO1 6ET.

Tues 5 May 2020Annie Evans

More empathy for animals? - Understanding the sentience of all animals, including fish. with Annie Evans

Animal suffering is a diverse and immense issue. Every day, 130 billion animals are confined to a life of misery on factory farms, and an estimated 73-180 billion fish are farmed in torturous conditions each year. This magnitude of suffering inflicted by human beings is highly inconsistent with the amount we donate to certain animal advocacy groups, with a more considerable amount of our charitable giving going towards funding animal shelters.

All animals feel pain, so, as a nation of animal lovers, why do we neglect all those beings who are destined to suffer within the animal agriculture industry?

The Humane League is a leading international animal protection charity, working to end the abuse of animals raised for food by influencing the policies of the world’s biggest companies, demanding legislation, and empowering others to take action and leave animals off their plates.

Annie Evans is the European Corporate Relations Coordinator with The Humane League UK. As part of her role, she meets with representatives of Europe's leading food industry companies to encourage the implementation of higher animal welfare policies. She also supports the work of the Open Wing Alliance, a coalition of over 70 animal protection groups founded by The Humane League, who work tirelessly to end the cruel cage confinement for egg-laying hens.

7.30pm to 9.00pm, in the Denham Room, Priory Street Centre, York YO1 6ET.

Tues 2 June 2020

Apartheid and its aftermath: a personal perspective with David Maughan-Brown

7.30pm to 9.00pm, in the Denham Room, Priory Street Centre, York YO1 6ET.

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