Kate Rawles

Freelance writer, environmentalist & outdoor philosopher

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Speaker Bio

Dr Kate Rawles studied philosophy at Aberdeen University, and environmental philosophy at Glasgow and Colorado State Universities. She was an indoor philosophy lecturer at Lancaster University for nearly a decade before leaving to work freelance in 2000. From 2004-2014 she worked half-time as a lecturer in Outdoor Studies at the University of Cumbria – teaching ‘big picture’ environmental issues, sustainability, environmental education and a bit of sea kayaking – and half-time as a freelance outdoor philosopher, writer, lecturer and environmental campaigner. She left Cumbria University in 2014 to develop her freelance work and plan The Life Cycle.

Kate is passionate about the need to find urgent, effective and suitably radical responses to our multiple environmental challenges (including giving our values and world views a thorough overhaul) – and firmly believes our quality of life can go up rather than down in the process. She’s excited about the potential of adventurous journeys as a communication medium and believes the adventure of sustainability is an adventure we’re all on, one way or another.

In 2006, she cycled from Texas to Alaska, following the spine of the Rockies and exploring N.American responses to climate change. The trip has since formed the basis of hundreds of slide shows, to a wide range of audiences. The Carbon Cycle; Crossing the Great Divide (Two Ravens Press, 2012 & Rocky Mountain Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Festival Adventure Travel Book Award and was a runner up in the UK People’s Book Prize. She’s currently planning The Life Cycle biodiversity bike ride from Costa Rica to Cape Horn.

Kate’s freelance work has included being ‘Mission Leader’ for Pangaea Exploration, sailing through the North Atlantic Gyre on yacht Sea Dragon to explore – and try to tackle – ocean plastic pollution and its deeper causes, including human nature relations, values and consumer culture. She lectures regularly on Forum for the Future’s Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development and leads their ‘Ethics and Values’ knowledge learning theme. She co-created and ran Forum’s innovative Reconnections project – courses on values, environmental reconnection and leadership for business and organisational leaders – with Jonathon Porritt, and is a regular lecturer on Cumbria’s Institute for Leadership and Sustainability masters programme.


Kate is a keen hill-walker and sea-kayaker (with a particular love of remote islands with lots of wildlife) as well as a long-distance cyclist and bookworm. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and sits on the Food Ethics Council. She lives in Cumbria with her partner, Chris

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