Whithorn man addresses the UN

Professor Alex McBratney (centre) addresses the UN
Professor Alex McBratney (centre) addresses the UN

A former Whithorn man was addressing the United Nations in New York recently in his capacity as one of the world’s lading experts on global soil degeneration.

Alex McBratney, who born and brought up in Whithorn, educated at Whithorn Primary School and the Douglas Ewart High School is now Professor of Soil Science and Pro-Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney in Australia.

As part of the negotiations on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as Rio+20, Professor McBratney spoke at the United Nations in New York on April 24 on the subject of soil security.

He told The Galloway Gazette: “Rio+20 provides a timely opportunity for nations and international agencies to respond to the threat of soil degradation, and to develop a mandate for an international effort to achieve soil security. This mandate requires policy, scientific and agricultural responses. It also requires the engagement of civil society. It is not just up to farmers and scientists to lead the way in securing soil, all members of society should appreciate the value of soil and its importance in issues of food security, biodiversity, climate change mitigation and ecosystem service delivery.”

More recently, on May 4, Alex graduated with a Doctor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of Sydney for a thesis on Precision Agriculture. Alex also holds two doctoral degrees from Aberdeen University in soil science.