The Others

The Others

We are rapidly approaching the date of our latest seminar titled ‘The Others’ which premieres at the Museum of Science and Industry on the 25th May (tickets are still available). My overriding thought at this point is …’why oh why… do I do these bloody seminars …’

The amount of effort and money that goes into these things is crazy. I have sleepless nights driving myself mad trying to come up with new ideas and topics that will interest the attendees….and all for what I ask??

It isn’t for the money…and it isn’t for the kudos…so what am I doing???


I do love a challenge – so maybe it’s this which keeps me repeating the same mistakes I’ve made in previous years putting our company out at the forefront of public scrutiny.

This year’s topic is ‘The Others’ – the basic premise being the history of invasive species in the UK – looking at how we have arrived at our current position and what we should be doing to prevent further encroachment by ‘other’ invasive species.

Once you have advertised a date for the seminar – it really focuses your brain on having to do research into the topic and makes you alive to learning and reading new material. I’ve bought books, I’ve read articles and I’ve researched the internet for points of interest.

I have found myself going further and further back in time looking at how previous generations have surveyed and discovered ‘alien’ species in the UK. I’ve then looked at how and why these aliens have arrived – which has unearthed an interesting tale of money making and greed from various parties as well as naivety and plain ignorance from others.

I’m convinced that some of the early plant sellers were entrepreneurs after making some quick money. If you discover a plant which grows really quickly, survives in a variety of conditions and will grow from the smallest of cuttings – Japanese knotweed – then from a business point of view you are on to a quick fire way to make money. If you then add in the medicinal benefits of the same plant the you can sell this on a variety of levels …business gold!

People have said to me – … ‘if you went back in time and told Phillippe Von Sielbold The problems that Japanese Knotweed would cause in the future do you think he would not have sold the plant?’.

My answer would be – ‘I guess he would have carried on regardless…’ – he was selling plants as a business …therefore why would he worry about future generations problems?

We then had a whole host of their businesses making decisions which have influenced our flora and fauna;

Tanning industry

Ships sweepings

Ships ballast

Soil and rock aliens

Wool aliens

Cotton aliens

Birdseed aliens

Fodder aliens

The list goes on.

Pretty much all along the same lines – getting rid of problem waste by taking short cuts – and inadvertently spreading viable seed or root with careless abandon.

So whilst I might not be making any money from these type of events it does at least set the mind working along some interesting pathways.

Mike C


0161 723 2000