Maggie grew up in the sunshine in Zimbabwe and moved to Scotland in 1998 to study Zoology at Edinburgh University. She completed a Masters in Environmental Management at Stirling University before returning to Edinburgh University to start doctoral studies in environmental ethics. Her research took her all over Scotland, including the Outer Hebrides, Kintyre, Glen Affric and Abernethy, and, being an introduction herself, she remains particularly interested in the conservation ethics relating to introduced species. She lectured at Napier University in cultural geography, environmental ethics and social justice from 2006-2015. She was the Vice President of the Educational Institute of Scotland’s University Lecturers’ Association, the higher education branch of Scotland’s oldest trade union.
Maggie has been involved in Green Politics for many years: she is co-convener of the Scottish Greens, was lead list candidate for the North East region for Holyrood 2016, and party spokesperson on all things relating to Social Justice. She was Councillor for the Leith Walk Ward in Edinburgh from 2007-15 and was the first-ever convener of the Petitions Committee. She convened the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership twice and was Green spokesperson on Health and Social Care. She is passionate about participative democracy and championed the very successful £eith Decides participatory budgeting process which hands budget power to the Leith community. She has a keen interest in supporting social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations, and has campaigned for rates relief for not-for-profit groups, coherent procurement policies within the Council, and improved service level agreements between charities and the Council. She also safeguarded community involvement in backgreen redevelopment schemes in her ward, and campaigned against the closures of local schools and post offices.
Maggie is Rector of Aberdeen University, and chairs the University Court. She has campaigned for a cut to the rents charged in student halls, prevented staff redundancies, and ensured people – the students and staff of the university – are central to its strategic plan.
Maggie is Chief Executive of the Scottish Council on Visual Impairment, an umbrella charity that campaigns and lobbies on behalf of the vision sector in Scotland. She has also worked for a women’s rights charity, and supported active citizenship in a variety of third sector organisations.
Maggie is also a community activist, being a founder member of the transition town and land reform group PEDAL in Portobello, and she won cross-party support in the Council for the Transition Town movement. A committed peace campaigner, she has sat on the board of the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Resource Centre. She led the Council’s support of the Scotland’s for Peace anti-Trident rally, and has campaigned against army recruitment in schools.
In her spare time Maggie plays the violin, fiddle and accordion, and enjoys walking and cycling throughout Scotland. She likes star-gazing, watching the sun set, strolling along the beach, and browsing second hand bookshops. She is also chief slave to a rather handsome, if smelly, ginger cat, Wallow.