Sara Parkin is a Founder Director (and Trustee) of Forum for the Future, a leading UK- and US-based sustainable development charity, where her major area of activity is in leadership for sustainability. She designed the Forum’s pioneering Leadership for Sustainable Development masters course and its Engineers of the 21st Century initiative, both of which are in their 16th year. She is also Chair of the Richard Sandbrook Trust, and serves on the board of the European Training Foundation (as an expert). She advises on science in society for the UK Research Council’s multi-agency Living With Environmental Change Programme, and more widely on education and sustainability issues for organisations as varied as university leaders and senior NATO officers.
In the recent past she has served full terms on the boards of the Natural Environment Research Council, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and the Environment Agency of England and Wales.
After starting her working life in nursing (latterly as a Ward Sister and university tutor and researcher in Edinburgh) she has, in various roles, campaigned for sustainable development for over 40 years, including leading roles in the UK Green Party and as Co-Secretary of the European Greens. She has served terms on the boards of major UK NGOs, including the New Economics Foundation, Groundwork and Friends of the Earth, is a Trustee of the St Andrew’s Prize, and a Patron of Population Matters and the Museum of Islay Life. She has written several books, including Green Parties: An international guide; a biography, The life and death of Petra Kelly; and in 2010 The Positive Deviant: Sustainability leadership in a perverse world, now key reading for many courses.
In 2001 Sara was awarded an OBE for services to education and sustainability. In recognition of her long term involvement with sustainability and the engineering profession she has been made an Honorary Companion of both the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institute of Energy, and is a Founding Associate of the UK Engineering Council. She also holds honorary fellowships of the Institution of Environmental Science, the Society for the Environment and the Schumacher Society, and has ten honorary degrees.
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