Forum on Natural Commons

Thursday 21 November, 2013 7-9.45pm. Free including dinner but registration is required. Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL (map below)

tree moneyWe’re holding the Forum on Natural Commons to stand up to global finance and share ideas to protect our natural world for the benefit of all.

Why? Because the United Nations, governments and global financial institutions will be meeting at the same time in Edinburgh to plan how to put a price on nature so it can be bought and sold as a commodity.

The first large scale market of this kind is the carbon market. However, after being in place for some years these markets have done nothing to reduce emissions whilst making huge amounts of cash for big finance. New markets in forests, water and biodiversity could be worth trillions of dollars, but they will not secure these resources for our future. On the contrary, market fluctuations put priceless resources at great risk.

Ultimately, accounting natural capital will result in increased exploitation of natural resources instead of protecting them. Join us in Edinburgh to stand up to global finance and share ideas to safeguard our global natural commons.


Keynote speakers will make the case for natural commons and discuss how finance is increasingly involved in management of our common resources.

john_o'neill1_120pxJohn O’Neill, University of Manchester. John’s career has taken him to the universities of Lancaster, Sussex and Wales to his current post as Director of the Political Economy Institute, University of Manchster. He is a member of the Society and Environment Research Group and sits on the editorial boards of New Political Economy, The Journal of Applied Philosophy, and Historical Materialism. John will be speaking at the Forum.

morag_watson_120pxMorag Watson, Common Cause. Morag works for Learning for Sustainability Scotland and is the Scottish lead of Common Cause, a network helping to rebalance cultural values to create a more equitable, sustainable and democratic society. She has spent the last decade working to change government policy on education so its key purpose is to build sustainability. Morag will be speaking at the Forum in place of Bec Sanderson.

CamilaMoreno_120pxCamila Moreno. An acclaimed environmental activist and researcher, Camila’s pioneering work on the impacts of carbon trading and UN programmes such as Reducing Emissions Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) have been globally influential. She will be joining the Forum by video from the UN Climate Conference in Poland.

generic_120pxMike Hannis, Open University. Mike is an associate lecturer at the Open University and holds an honorary research fellowship in environmental politics and philosophy at Keele University. He has longstanding research interests in sustainability, land-use planning, and environmental values and is an Editor of magazine, The Land. Mike will be speaking at the Forum.


Nick Dearden, World Development Movement. Having spent five years fighting vulture funds, organising public education on the European debt crisis and exposing the antics of the IMF Nick has recently become director of the World Development Movement. He has also worked with Jubilee Debt Campaign and War on Want. Nick will be speaking at the Forum.


Maggie Chapman, Cllr., City of Edinburgh. As Councillor for Leith Walk Maggie has spearheaded the “Leith Decides” project, inviting community members to help set part of the city budget. As a Green Party member of the council she works to make the city more democratic. Her PhD and MSc were in environmental management and she will be chairing the Forum.

Tamra Gilbertson, Carbon Trade Watch.tamra_gilbertson_120px Tamra was a
founding member of Carbon Trade Watch and the Durban
Group for Climate Justice. Working from Barcelona she
has been published in the New Internationalist, Ecología
Política, Soundings and Chain Reaction.  She will be speaking at the Forum.

Ecosystems and Communities exhibition


Carbon Trade Watch will be premièring a photo exhibition exploring the communities and environments at risk from ecosystem trading. The exhibition will be on display throughout the evening.

During the evening participants and delegates will be invited to sign our declaration against biodiversity offsetting which will return to Brussels for submission directly after the event.

Dinner and refreshments

Food and refreshments will be provided to all registered attendees. To reserve your free place, please register by clicking here.

All food will be vegetarian and vegan and gluten free options are available on request.  If you have any dietary needs please indicate them on your form.

Travel information

The event will take place at Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL.  A map is provided below.

Maps_for_webClick the map to download a high-resolution version.  Mapping by

Directions for those arriving from outside Edinburgh:

  • The nearest train station is Edinburgh (or ‘Edinburgh Waverley’) from which the venue is a 10 minute walk.  Take the Market Street exit and turn right onto Market St.  Walk up the hill to and turn left onto North Bank St..  Follow Bank St. into George IV Bridge.  The venue is on the left.
  • Coaches arrive at Edinburgh Bus Station from which the venue is a 15-20 minute walk.  Exit to St. Andrew Sq. and turn left.  At Princes St. turn right.  Take the left turn onto the Mound, up the hill, where it becomes North Bank St. and then Bank St.  Follow Bank St. into George IV Bridge.  The venue is on the left.
  • From the airport take the Airlink shuttle bus from which the venue is a 10 minute walk. Alight on Waverley Bridge and walk South along Waverley Bridge.  Turn right onto Market St.  Walk up the hill to and turn left onto North Bank St..  Follow Bank St. into George IV Bridge.  The venue is on the left.

Access information

There are several steps up to the entrance of Augustine United Church ground floor, where this event will take place. A wheelchair ramp is available which can be brought out on request at the time or you can notify us in advance by email.  Once inside the venue is entirely step-free and toilets are available on the same level.  A PA system will be used for most of this event and is equipped with a hearing aid loop.  Use the contact us form if you have any queries at all.

You can also join this event on Facebook.


This event has been organised by the World Development Movement, Counter Balance, Re:Common and Carbon Trade Watch.  It is hosted by Jubilee Scotland.

Want to explore deeper how the financial crisis meets the natural world? Berber Verpoest, Counter Balance, will be offering a free workshop on Tuesday 19 November with People & Planet, and attendance is open to all. Find out more at

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