_ i Sick ' Room
At a time when modern architecture is described as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’. the term ‘sick building syndrome' should not come as too much of a surprise. Many people have experienced ill-health at work. and often this can be put down directly to conditions in their working environment. ,
When it first hit the headlines in the ', mid l980s. sick building syndrome ‘ was dismissed as yuppie neurosis. Now it is becoming clear that a mixture of physical. chemical and psychological factors lie at the root ofthe problem.
Fewer complaints come from staff workingin 1960s built offices with large. open windows than from the sealed environment buildings popular during the 1970s. The true reason for this is as yet unclear. but it could be that some methods ofair conditioning are susceptible to bacterial contamination. which builds up over a number of years — hence the more recent ‘outbreak‘.
Due to the diversity ofcauses. the cure is elusive. Solutions could range from a new £ 100.000 air system to a prickly pear plant placed beside a VDU in order (it is claimed) to soak up the radiation. Although architects are now taking the problems into consideration at planning stage. it remains to be seen whether or not modern offices can create a healthy working environment in the long term. (Patricia Wilson)
[an M aeA rrhur talks on the Sick Building Syndrome at the Symposium Hall, Royal College of Surgeons, Fri 5 April, 5 .30pm.
Box Office Bookings: Fringe Office 180 High Street Edinburgh 031 226 5138
The Box Office is open until 14 April Mon-Sat 10am-6pm,
Tickets will be sold at the venue 30 minutes before the event starts
Further information is available during the Festival at: Friends Meeting House, Victoria Ter.
The Fruitmarket Gallery, Market Street The Scandic Crown Hotel, High Street
_ Tree Time
We may be familiar with the plight of the world's tropical rainforests, but stories of ecological disaster on this scale are apt to provoke feelings of overwhelming insolubility. Bernard and Emma Planterose, however, are keen to encourage people to consider a means to affect change in their own locality.
Scotland may be renowned forthe beauty of its Highlands, butthe Planteroses look at this landscape from a different perspective. To them it is a wet desert which suffered deforestation - now taking place in other parts of the world — centuries ago. The tiny pockets of ancient woodland which do exist are made to suffer from the over-grazing of Scotland's huge population of sheep anddeen
Affecting change to this problem will have global consequences. World deforestation is fuelled by our timber consumption, but it Scotland was reforested with its own native species of hard wood, it could supply much of the domestic demand.
A forest is itself beneficial to the land — at present the moorland coverage offers scant protection from soil erosion and poor grazing for animals. The Planteroses foresee a ‘Second Great Wood of Caledon' which would support a greater diversity of wildlife, including stronger deer than those which presently suffer death by
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Reforestation has been underway in Scotland since the 50s, with various degrees of success. The Planteroses feel now is the time to step up the rate and get as many people as possible involved in their Reforesting Scotland Campaign. (Laura Noble)
Bernard and Emma Planterose begin an afternoon's discussion on trees by asserting that The Future Is Forest at the Meeting House, Victoria Street, Wed 10April at2pm.
_ Shell Shocked
' The Loggerhead and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: are they by any chance related?
Despite the recent burst of megastardom enjoyed by its more
' talkative cousins, the average turtle is
a shy creature. It would rather slink into the sea than enjoy the attention of crowds of tourists come to watch the sensitive process of laying eggs. So while Leonardo and his reptilian cronies lap up the limelight, the sea turtles of Malaysia would preferto avoid the torchlight.
‘If you and l are wandering about with our torches,‘ says Dr Sally Solomon of Glasgow University, ‘the natural thing forthe turtle to do is abort the laying and go back into the water. Very often when you’re trying to educate the public into being aware of the problem of diminishing numbers of turtles, you actually cause a bigger problem because you encourage tourists to come onto the site to watch the whole process in action.’
Turtles are not only under threat from
natural predators and from man building hotels on former beach colonies, but from fungal infection in the eggs themselves. These come at the end of the clutch and are more prone to infection due to changes in their crystal structure. They are, however, edible and so Dr Solomon believes that they could be used to i advantage.
‘It’s easy for us at a distance, with our supermarkets, to say ‘Don't eat turtle meat’, but you have to remember that there are a lot of communities where for‘centuries this has been part of the g staple diet. There has to be a compromise whereby you don't 3 superimpose Western ideals on the local way of life.‘ (Alan Morrison)
Dr Sally Solomon talks on turtles and The Enemy Within at the Meeting House, Victoria Street on 12 April at 10am.
I AIDS Scandic Crown. Mon 8 April. 2pm. An entire afternoon is devoted to discussion on the AIDS epidemic. with reference to Scotland and Edinburgh in particular. Many controversial topics will be raised. including the spread of AIDS into the general population via heterosexual relationships and the plight ofchildren who have inherited the HIV virus from their
I Miriam Stoppard ()ueen's l lall. Wed lll—Thurs ll April. 7pm. The good doctor brings her TV show and woman's problem page ‘l)ear Miriam' to the stage for the first time. Advice will
be dished out on a range of
subjects —- according to advance publicity we can expect anything from fitness to flatulence. It remains to be seen whether or not her new slimming book makes an appearance. I Family Science Day Royal Museum of Scotland. Sat 6 April. 9.30am—5pm. ()ne ofthe aims of the Science Festival is to eneourgc children to take upan interest in science. and so this day. run by the British Association and (OPUS. should prove popular. As well as the inevitable hands-on activities for kids of all ages. important issues such as climatic variation will be raised at a debate and during question and answer I Bionic Ear Meeting House. 'l'hurs l 1 April. 5.30pm. (_‘hris Raine. inventor ofthe so-called ‘bionic ear' gives a talk on his invention and on the advances that have been made for suffers of deafness thanks to micro-electronics. But will we be able tocompare the fantasy of the Six .Ilillron Dollar Man to the reality of research funding'.’
76 The List 5 — 18 April 1991