Issue date: 16 November 2010
The University of the West of England will award the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science to Sara Parkin OBE in recognition of her significant achievements and national contribution to education and sustainable development, notably her focus on integrating 'sustainability literacy' into education and professional training.
The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Built and Natural Environment, on Wednesday 17 November at 17.00 at Bristol Cathedral.
Sara Parkin was born in Aberdeen in 1946. She was educated in Coventry at Green Lane Primary School and Barr's Hill Grammar School.
Sara Parkin started her working life as a nurse and ward sister in Edinburgh. During the 1970s and 1980s she played a leading role in the UK Green Party and the development of Green Parties worldwide. She has held the posts of Chair of the UK Green Party and Co-secretary of the European Greens.
Sara Parkin has been an independent campaigner, writer and broadcaster on environmental and sustainability development issues for over 40 years. In 1996, Sara Parkin co-founded (with Jonathan Porritt) Forum for the Future, an independent, not for profit organisation with a mission to promote sustainable development. The organisation has grown over the last 14 years to become the leading UK sustainable development charity, employing over 70 people. Sara Parkin designed the Forum's pioneering Leadership for Sustainable Development Masters, and is assisting the Leadership Foundation to deliver sustainability awareness and training within its programmes. She is a Founder Director and Trustee of Forum for the Future.
During her time with the Forum for the Future Sara Parkin also served on the board of the Environment Agency of England and Wales (2000-2006), and performed Trustee duties for Friends of the Earth, New Economics Foundation, and the Groundwork Trust. She has completed terms on the Natural Environment Research Council and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Sara Parkin is currently on the board of the European Training Foundation and advises on science in society for the Living with Environmental Change research programme. She is also on the UK Research Council's Science in Society Advisory Panel and the Higher Education Funding Council for England Sustainable Development Steering Group.
Sara Parkin is a Trustee of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment, and an honorary companion of the Institute of Civil Engineering and the Institute of Energy. She also provides informal advice and support to UWE's Institute of Sustainability, Health and the Environment.
Sara Parkin has written several books, the latest, The Positive Deviant: Leadership for Sustainability in a Perverse World, was published in July 2010.
In 2001 Sara Parkin was awarded an OBE for services to education and sustainable development.