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  • Writer's pictureTracee Cossey

Colin Dewsnap– An appreciation of a committed Ecologist

Colin Dewsnap (15.6.1935 – 01.10.2021)


Colin’s concern for the wellbeing of the planet stemmed from the Rio Convention of 1992 one of the outcomes of which was Agenda 21 – a call for governments to address the issues of conservation and management of resources for development within their communities. As a committed ecologist he had the foresight to recognise that global warming and climate change were a real immediate threat to the eco-system that sustains all forms of life on our planet.

Throughout the rest of his life, he became a passionate campaigner – tirelessly working across a broad spectrum of activities within Dorset communities – to mitigate the impact of climate change. He was a founder member of the Dorset Climate Change Coalition which brought together organisations across Dorset pledging to monitor and reduce our carbon footprint. He was dedicated to taking practical action, one example being his regular attendance of the Christchurch Energy Advice Centre providing guidance on energy saving measures that could be implemented in households.

Colin ensured that he was very well informed on all aspects of the environmental problems we are facing and their potential solutions. He read extensively in the subject area, not only the technical but also the socio-economic complexities of climate change thereby gaining a holistic understanding of the subject. He studied and qualified in environmental management. His depth of understanding then allowed him together with others to develop outreach talks to alert the public to the issues surrounding global warming. He was constantly updating his knowledge by his extensive networking with both local and national environmental groups such as the Transition Town movements in Dorset and the Centre for Alternative Technologies, and in 2016 he attended the Paris international meeting on climate change. Later he distilled, in a series of discussion papers, his own thinking about the broad issues facing humanity as climate change occurs.

In 2007 Colin joined the board of trustees of Sustainable Dorset (Dorset Agenda 21) where he contributed his experience as a former Council Chief Executive, drawing on his understanding of public organisations and their operation to the effective management of our charity. Amongst the many services he rendered us using his considerable administrative skills was to advise us on matters of governance, assist in managing the introduction of our new website, and help us implement the new General Data Protection Regulations. Additionally, Colin constantly supported the daily work of the charity on Dorset sustainability issues by, for example, giving talks to schools, taking part in local radio broadcast, and manning the display boards at events promoting our work. While a trustee with us he also introduced the ambitious project of working towards a Zero Carbon Dorset.

Colin had a keen sense of urgency about the need to check the deterioration of the earths eco-system. We can only hope that the government representatives, business interests and negotiators attending the COP26 meeting this November will agree on the necessary reduction targets in CO2 emissions and so meet Colin’s aspirations of securing a safe global environment for humanity and all other forms of life to thrive in.

He will be greatly missed.

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