Andy Atkins: our new Director
Friends of the Earth has a new Executive Director. His name is Andy Atkins and he has led a range of campaigns on environmental and social issues.
Andy joins Friends of the Earth from development charity Tearfund. He launched their work on climate change and persuaded UK development charities to work on climate change as a poverty issue. Andy has also campaigned for human rights in Chile and has worked for development charity CAFOD.
Under Andy's leadership, Friends of the Earth will continue to push for political action to tackle environmental challenges. Our work will focus on climate change and biodiversity loss.
Nicola Baird talks to Andy about some significant objects - and what they mean to him...
A pile of CDs
I'm into Philip Glass's Aguas da Amazonia at the moment. It's a series of tracks written after different tributaries of the Amazon, and it's very evocative.
Uakti is the name of the Brazilian combo that have produced the music. They play all sorts of unconventional instruments, like dustbin lids.
I used to take quite a lot of photos. This is one of the old, original reed canoes on Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.
I got arrested just after taking that photo, because a border guard said I'd done something illegal (which I hadn't). He just wanted a bribe.
This is Wendy. She's a piranha set in a resin block. I got her in Colombia, at a time when I was doing a lot of work in the jungles looking at the implications of the drug trade for development and the environment.
A big issue in the Andean region is that the indigenous people have long grown coca as medicine, as a mild anesthetic. It's not in any way addictive in that form.
The problem is the indigenous people are getting penalized because other people turn coca into cocaine.
I've recently started drinking decaf. Having worked a lot in Latin America, I got over-addicted to coffee.
I started collecting a very touristic coffee cup from each country that I went to, the rest are at home. We're largely fair-trade coffee drinkers in our house.
On work trips I take a sketching kit which was a birthday present from my wife, Sarah, to use if I get a spare hour between drafting papers or lobbying.
I mostly paint on Saturday afternoons, it is a good way of winding down. I'm hopeless at people. My kids - Rachael, 18; Ben, 17 and Jessica, 12 - think my people look like horses and the horses look like cows.
I generally have two or more on the go, partly because I read as the mood takes me.
They're security passes from everything, from Labour Party conferences to the three latest climate Conference of the Parties (COP).
There are moments where it needs all hands on deck to travel abroad to a meeting and bring about political change.
There are other moments where it probably doesn't. I think you have to make that judgment call on a case-by-case basis.
At the last COP Tony Juniper and I did an enormous amount of the media work together.I think the media was really critical in putting pressure on the politicians for an outcome.
My early childhood was on an island three miles by half a mile wide in the Torres Straits, between Papua New Guinea and Australia, so I didn't wear shoes properly until I was 11, and boy, when I did was it horrible!
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