Open Collective
Open Collective

Centre for Human Ecology

Educational charity and co-op: research and action for social and environmental justice


The Centre for Human Ecology (CHE) is an independent educational charity and co-operative committed to transformative education and action based in Glasgow, Scotland. At CHE, we seek to advance radical and transdisciplinary human ecology as a field, and as a practice to tackle the root causes of the social, cultural and ecological metacrisis of our times. 

By becoming Scotland’s first education co-operative of its kind, we have taken a bold step towards remaining an independent institution navigating our own future. Co-operative values are an intrinsic part of not only what, but how we want to teach, co-learn and practice human ecology- but we can’t do it without your participation. 

With no regular core funding of the kind that larger education institutions have at their disposal, CHE needs to think differently about how we resource our work. For this reason, we have chosen to run an OpenCollective page not as a one-off crowdfunding campaign, but as a way to help us find our long-term allies and supporters.

Why human ecology?
Human Ecology is about uncovering and understanding the connections between personal action, socio-cultural and economic systems, and the ecology of the planet of which we are part. In short, it’s about “where, how and ultimately whether humans live on the planet” (Ulrich Loening). By integrating theory and practice, creativity and action, human ecology challenges the hegemonic worldview underlying dominant education systems and economic practices.  instead offering tools for critical thinking and questioning power. 

Since the CHE became independent in 2011, CHE and its fellows and members have had a significant impact: we've delivered successful courses, held events and conferences with an international appeal (Beyond Foodbanks on food justice,  Unbrexable on Scottish-European relations after Brexit, Like Leaves We Fall on migration and solidarity, CHE’s 50th Anniversary Symposium, Centenary International Conference on 'Concerning the Spiritual in Art' by Kandinsky), worked with Indigenous peoples in West Papua Province, the Misak territory in Colombia,  and elsewhere on community self-governance, hosted numerous public talks by practitioners, activists and academics in human ecology-related fields, hosted roundtable series in the CHE library, joined forces with local community groups to deliver education projects locally (Govan Together; Weans, Work & Wisdom on children, families and the meaning of work, and Govan Free State during COP26, where we were also an official UN observer organisation present at the talks) and made talk and workshop recordings available freely accessible online. We are proud of CHE’s ability to adapt to deliver the most it can with few available resources, but more financial stability would enable us to be more strategic and focused in working towards our aims.

Why radical co-operative education?
As the metacrisis accelerates and is more acutely felt across all sectors of society, new forms and approaches to education which are genuinely inclusive, radical and democratic are needed to reverse ruptures in social, ecological and economic systems and to build reflection, collectivism and critical thinking, and deep wisdom.

We believe that radical and co-operative education in human ecology is now more needed than ever. CHE’s transition to a worker-learner co-operative was an important step. However, the hard graft to bring our vision to reality is ongoing, and we invite our members and supporters to become a more prominent part of our co-operative journey.

Here’s how you can get involved:
CHE is looking for new supporter-members to allow the Centre more financial independence. CHE is also looking for directors and charitable trustees and for active worker-members, so if you are interested in getting involved more, take a look here.

Here’s what we’ll do with your contribution:

  • Short courses, workshops and round tables: equipping people with the knowledge and skills to make positive change: We plan to develop accessible education in human ecology for all: workshops, courses and online materials that are both cutting edge and building on CHE’s decades long expertise in the subject. Peer learning and popular education is at the heart of our practice, equipping participants with the tools for thought needed for our times.

  • Opening up our reference library and meeting space for members: Our reference library and archive, built up over 50 years and comprising an extensive collection of significant, often rare books spanning the history of ecological thought, is a significant resource for researchers, learners and all those interested in learning about our world. Based at the historic Pearce Institute, Govan, Glasgow, our library is home also to our unique oval elmwood table- home to many convivial sharings over the years.

    We plan on opening up access to this library and learning space. As a supporting member, you’ll be able to access the library and book collection, study or work around the table, and attend (or propose to arrange) regular meetings and roundtables. We want to unlock the potential of this space- but we can only do it with your support.

    For members who are not based locally, we'll make available online learning and networking opportunities, building on our popular series of webinars and talks. 

  • Building a co-operative container for members to run their own courses and projects:
    CHE represents a ‘carrying stream’ of wisdom being passed on and transmitted in a lineage of thought. Each new generation of students has taken up the mantle, often going on to make their own significant contributions and creating new useful knowledge. As a supporting member of CHE, you’ll have the opportunity to help build the next chapter of CHE. Members will be able to propose courses, events and funding applications on their areas of qualification and interest, via CHE’s container as a registered charity, limited company and co-operative (subject to approval). Join us as we share knowledge and create opportunities to pass on our tradition of radical education: and build towards the next 50 years. 

    In 2022, CHE celebrated its 50th anniversary with a symposium and ceilidh in the Pearce Institute, Govan, with many old and new friends. CHE also ran an online and residential course on degrowth and human ecology in partnership with Enough! Scotland.

    In 2023, CHE plans to offer introductory workshops in human ecology. Our offerings are mainly aimed at those engaged in activism, academia or their communities, who would like to deepen their understanding of the interconnectedness of social and environmental systems, and explore a range of tools for engagement. 

Thank you!

Our team


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Financial Contributions


Want to make a difference in the radical education landscape and support Scotland's first education co-operative for human ecology? Paying members ... Read more

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Centre for Human Ecology is hosting the following events.

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Celebrating CHE's 50th anniversary with a symposium on radical human ecology and a ceilidh - more...Read more

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Centre for Human Ecology is all of us

Our contributors 13

Thank you for supporting Centre for Human Ecology.

Luke Devlin


£50 GBP

Maria A

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£130 GBP

Anne Bannatyne

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£70 GBP

David Skene

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Mark Langdon

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Chris Buxton

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Simone Stewart

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Transparent and open finances.

Contribution #655837
Contribution #682227
Contribution #682225
Today’s balance

£4,827.47 GBP

Total income

£4,827.84 GBP

Total disbursed

£0.37 GBP

Estimated annual budget

£380.72 GBP