Tues 4 October

Apartheid and its Aftermath: a Personal Perspective, with David Maughan Brown

The world saw the formal end to apartheid in South Africa on 10 May 1994, and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as President. The hope was that with a new, painstakingly forged constitution – considered the most liberal in the world – and the greatest statesman of the 20th century as President, South Africa would be embarking on a golden future of racial harmony and general wellbeing.

Apartheid and its Aftermath: a Personal Perspective will explore the reality of living in South Africa today, and how this has been shaped by the legacy of apartheid, and the preceding 300 years of colonial history.

David Maughan Brown spent 20 years under apartheid. He was born in Cape Town, brought up in Tanzania, and worked as a Professor at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg. Retired in 2013, David now chairs the York branch of u3a and the Advisory Board of the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York.

7.30pm in the Denham Room of the Priory Street Centre, 15 Priory Street, York.

Tues 11 October

Book Group – A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived, by Adam Rutherford

All welcome. If you’d like more information, contact us here.

7.30pm in The Black Swan, 23 Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PR.

Tues 1 November

Green Reasons to be Vegan: Climate Change and other Environmental Reasons to Choose Vegan, with Robert Baylis and Mary Begley

There are several reasons why increasing numbers of people are choosing a vegan lifestyle or, at least, adopting a diet based on plants. The ethical and health justifications for these changes have been well known for many years. The environmental rationale is not new either but, over the last few years, the supporting evidence has been mounting, especially with regard to animal-based agriculture’s sizeable contribution to climate change and ecological breakdown.  

The speakers in this talk will:

  1. discuss the climate change and other environmental aspects of diet;
  2. reflect on some of the misleading arguments commonly pitched against the need to change diet for environmental reasons; and
  3. demonstrate the connection between dietary change and elements of the Humanists International 2002 Amsterdam Declaration.

Mary Begley is a member of 3 Valley Vegans, and has been vegan since 1987. She worked with Sunflower Vegan Café, a campaigning café in Manchester, in the early 1990s. Since then, big pots of curry to feed the masses have featured heavily in her life. Mary sings with a community choir and is a member of a local Extinction Rebellion group.  

Mary trained as a general and mental health nurse before switching career mid-life, studying English historical semantics and becoming an oral historian. She is currently a key worker with Afghan refugees, has 3 daughters and lives in Todmorden.  

Rob Baylis became a vegan in 1984, four years after choosing to be a vegetarian.  He is one of the co-founders of a local vegan group, 3 Valley Vegans, based in West Yorkshire. He has a master’s degree in environmental policy and is professionally qualified as a Chartered Environmentalist through the Society for the Environment and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. 

Before retiring from paid employment in 2020 for family reasons, he had worked in both the public and private sectors as well as in academic research and lecturing. He is now the host of a podcast about change called ‘Time is Sliding’.

7.30pm in the Denham Room of the Priory Street Centre, 15 Priory Street, York.

Tues 6 December

Becoming Humanist – a Fishy Talewith Brian Quinn 

How did a good Catholic boy end up as a Humanist and what has the fish got to do with it?
How are the Pope, Muhammad and the Mormon President involved in this tale?
What is the point of prayer and what happens in Heaven?
Are Christian values Christian?
How do you explain Humanism to young children?
Why is it even called Humanism?
Isn’t everyone an atheist anyway?

Brian Quinn will discuss these questions and more whilst reflecting on his journey from religion to belief and considering what it means to be a Humanist.

Brian is a Chair Emeritus of York Humanists and previously North Yorkshire Humanists.

Accredited by Humanists UK as a school speaker, he regularly visits primary and secondary schools and has also given talks to university students and community groups on various topics related to humanism, religion and scepticism.

He is active on local partnership boards of local authorities, police & NHS, representing a humanist viewpoint on issues of social equality & diversity.

He also works with a hospital chaplaincy team as a non-religious pastoral support volunteer.

7.30pm in the Denham Room of the Priory Street Centre, 15 Priory Street, York.

Tues 3 January 2023

No meeting this month!