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Martin Parkinson

Narrative cv

Lived in london since 1980, moved to Bristol in December 2006

  • 1977-80 BA(hons) Philosophy/Experimental Psychology. Cambridge University

  • 1980-83 Postgraduate Diploma in Law; Bar Finals; Pupillage. City University; Inns of Court School of Law; 12 King's Bench Walk

Law didn't work out so in 1986 I took a City and Guilds in computer programming and worked in IT variously as a programmer, trainer, technical author and finally (1995-1999) as network administrator for a housing association.

In 1984, pretty much from scratch, I started learning the saxophone and became fascinated. I took music very seriously, played in loads of bands and was eventually earning a small additional income from playing. An interest in improvisation also led me to take acting classes and for a few years I had some income as a cartoonist.

  • 1999-2001 DipHE Music performance. London College of Music & Media

Although I loved my time at music college, I couldn't afford to finish the BMus. But two things had happened. First, the academic requirement of the course reminded me how much I enjoy analysing complicated material and presenting it accessibly.

Second, 2000 was the year of the so-called 'fuel crisis'. Aaargh! The government made no mention of the connection between fossil fuels and climate change. None. Despite Kyoto and nice-sounding blah about the environment. Unbelievable - is nothing ever going to be done? I'm not an activist, really I'm not, but I felt compelled to change direction. I took a short-term job with the Green Party.

Since then I've been supporting myself by working as a contract administrator. I've been studying environmental issues independantly and filled my science and maths gaps (utterly essential for any serious eco-understanding) with the Open University. I moved to Bristol at the end of 2006, where I've been working as a university administrator. I've been a volunteer for Friends of the Earth, the Campaign for Better Transport (aka Transport 2000), and the Centre for Alternative Technology. I have finally done something related to my degree subject by reading up on the research and debates about sustainable behaviour and contributed to the 2006 report Painting the town green. In 2010 I started a working for the Open University, mainly as a tutor on the module Energy for a sustainable future. This is a part-time job which I supplement with admin work for Bristol University.

What next?
This green stuff is really important! I think I have something to offer to organisations which deal in research and communication - which enter the public conversation which we urgently need to have.

I'm not going to retire until I'm 70 (that's going to happen to everyone soon - I'm just ahead of the curve). I'm 55 now and that gives me 15 years of work - a significant chunk. In fact, by analogy with 'climax ecosystem', you might call it my 'climax career'. I want it to be satisfying and - more importantly - useful.

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last updated Jun 2012