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John Sulston

The Royal Society Lecture; The People And The Planet

Hay Festival 2013, 

The Nobel Laureate discusses the links between global population, consumption and the environment, and the implications for sustainable development. How can we all live and flourish on a finite Earth?

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Kathleen Taylor

The Brain Supremacy: Notes From The Frontiers Of Neuroscience

Hay Festival 2013, 

Funds are pouring into brain research, but what does this relatively new science mean for us? Taylor looks at the promise of drugs that could boost our brain-power, at the potential for more subtle marketing techniques and even at the prospect of machines that could read our minds. She looks at the science behind these claims and at how scientists look inside the human brain.

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Nicholas Stern

The Guardian Sessions: Blueprint for a Safer Planet

Hay Festival 2009, 
What is the problem? What are the dangers? What can be done to reduce emissions? At what cost? How can the world adapt? And, what does all this mean for corporations, governments and individuals? Chaired by Ian Katz.


The Guardian Sessions at Hay
For the eighth year, the Guardian is proud to be the headline sponsor of the Hay Festival. 

Over the past year, the world has seen momentous change – a deepening economic crisis; the dawn of a new era in America; environmental concerns moving higher up the agenda; and increased challenges to our civil liberties... As the world's leading liberal voice, the Guardian is committed to the exploration and debate of these issues. 

At this year's festival, the Guardian Sessions, with insight from leading individuals in their fields, will further examine and debate the most pressing concerns facing us today.

Come and join us.

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Rob Yorke, David Gardner, Caroline Drummond, Poul Christensen

Tough Decisions on Food, Flora and Fauna

Hay Festival 2012, 
Food security raises serious concerns but this government, aiming to be the greenest ever, proposes to reconnect us with the countryside through nature, not farming. Which sacred cows will be sacrificed in a modernized rural sector? The CEO's of The Royal Agricultural Society and LEAF and the Chair of Natural England talk to rural commentator Rob Yorke.

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Yuval Noah Harari talks to Anita Anand

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Hay Festival 2015, 

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?

This event was recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books.

Yuval Noah Harari talks to Anita Anand

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Noel Fitzpatrick talks to Francine Stock

One Planet, One Medicine, One Love

Hay Festival 2016, 
Pioneering surgeon Professor Fitzpatrick, Channel 4’s The Supervet, founder of Fitzpatrick Referrals and founding partner of Surrey University’s new school of veterinary medicine, has a radical vision: Humans and animals share genetic, physiological, environmental and even emotional bonds. For a sustainable future should they not share medicine, too? What are the practical and moral implications of being a ‘Humanimal’?


Noel Fitzpatrick talks to Francine Stock

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Robert Macfarlane talks to Horatio Clare

Woodland Trust Series 3: Landmarks

Hay Festival 2015, 

Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather. The author of The Old Ways, Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape, and a vital means of coming to love it.

Robert Macfarlane talks to Horatio Clare

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David Tickner, Homero Aridjis, Lyla Mehta and Daniela Schmidt

Water – The Basics of Life

Hay Festival 2009, 
How will climate change affect biodiversity and the way we manage freshwater supplies and the oceans as a resource? David Tickner, Head of WWF’s Freshwater Programme, Homero Aridjis, poet, Head of the Group of 100 and Mexico's Ambassador to UNESCO, Lyla Mehta of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and Daniela Schmidt, Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Bristol.

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Julia Wright, Carlos Alfaro and John Vidal chaired by Andrew Simms

The Cuban ‘Surprise’

Hay Festival 2009, 
How lessons from a small, isolated island could save millions of lives in a warming world. Author Julia Wright talks with Cuban Economic Counsellor Carlos Alfaro and Guardian Environment Editor John Vidal. nef Policy Director Andrew Simms chairs.

Part of the nef series ‘Surviving the Crash’. nef is sponsored by The Ecology Building Society

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Spencer Wells and Tristram Stuart talk to John Vidal

Food for Thought

Hay Festival 2010, 
It is time for a change in attitudes towards food production and consumption, in the industry and in our own homes. The author of Pandora’s Seed looks to a historical examination of our cultural inheritance for the solutions while the author of Waste spotlights the wastefulness of modern societies. In conversation with the Guardian’s Environment Editor.

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Robin Todd, Rosie Boycott and Patrick Mulvany

Earth – A Secure Food Supply

Hay Festival 2009, 
How can we provide a sustainable food supply sufficient to meet the needs of a growing population facing climate change? Robin Todd, Trustee of Concern Universal, Patrick Mulvany, Chair of the UK Food Group, and journalist, smallholder and Chair of London Food, Rosie Boycott.

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Monty Don and Nigel

My Family and Other Dogs

Hay Festival 2017, 

The Gardeners’ World star and social media sensation will bring his human best friend onstage to talk about dogs and love and family. #woof

Monty Don and Nigel

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Natalie Bennett, Maggie Simmons and Rebecca Attwood

Postcards from the Frontline

Winter Weekend 2013, 

Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett and Maggie Simmons from WAGGGS discuss the impact of climate change on human rights around the world and how this in turn impacts on both the reality and our idea of home, with Rebecca Attwood of the Environmental Justice Foundation.

Natalie Bennett, Maggie Simmons and Rebecca Attwood

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James Jackson

Cambridge University Series 6: Living With Earthquakes – Know Your Faults

Hay Festival 2013, 

Earthquakes in the last decade have revealed that rich nations have become resilient in terms of loss-of-life, while much smaller earthquakes have killed up to 30% of urban populations in countries that are far less well prepared. What is behind the sombre conclusion that ‘the rich pay and the poor die’?

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Jane Davidson AM, Joan Herrera MEP, Caroline Lucas MEP and Andrew Simms

A Green New Deal

Hay Festival 2009, 
Can the environment save the economy? Featuring Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MEP, Jane Davidson AM, Welsh Assembly Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, and Spanish MEP Joan Herrera. Chaired by nef Policy Director Andrew Simms.

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David Mackay, Jane Davidson AM, Malini Mehra and Anthony Giddens

Fire – Securing Energy Supplies

Hay Festival 2009, 
What are the implications of climate change on energy supply and security? Founder and CEO of Centre for Social Markets Malini Mehra, Jane Davidson AM, David Mackay, author of Sustainable Energy, and Anthony Giddens, author of The Politics of Climate Change.

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Kate Humble, Richard Smith, Marcus du Sautoy and Mark Watson

Powering The Country: Kate, Richard, Marcus And Mark Try To Keep The Lights On

Hay Festival 2013, 

What would you do if you had to power the UK? Kate, Marcus and Mark get to grips with how to generate enough energy to keep the lights on and power their appliances. Dependency on overseas supplies, volatile fossil fuel prices and the need for a low-carbon economy makes this one of the biggest challenges facing the country. Chaired by Mark Lynas and using the 2050 calculator.

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George Monbiot

Feral: rewilding the land, the sea and human life

Hay Festival 2012, 
The campaigning journalist and Hay hero gives an exclusive preview of his forthcoming book in which he argues for the mass restoration of damaged ecosystems, the reintroduction of wolves, lynx, beavers, moose and boar to Britain, and a life richer in adventure and surprise.

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Noel Fitzpatrick

Reformations 19: Global Health in Man and Animals

Hay Festival 2017, 

Groundbreaking research is driving new technology, drugs, procedures and strategies to fight once-intractable global ailments. Few know that cancer still kills more people in low- and middle-income countries than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Fourteen million people are diagnosed with cancer every year with a much greater number going undiagnosed.  The cancer in a dog is almost identical to the cancer in a human. Professor Fitzpatrick, 'The Supervet', renowned for his life-saving bionic surgeries and his work investigating disease, passionately believes that a single shared medicine linking human and animal health, a ‘One Health’ approach, is the best model for solving today’s greatest global health problems.

Noel Fitzpatrick

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John Bradshaw

Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed

Winter Weekend 2013, 

Revered by ancient Egyptians, tortured by Medieval Catholics, cats have been human companions for thousands of years. Animal behaviour expert, Bradshaw explores cat history and behaviour from swivelling whiskers to talking tails – you’ll never look at your cat the same again.

John Bradshaw

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Safia Minney, Mariusz Stochaj and Philip Colbert

Fashion Activism

Hay Festival 2012, 
Fashion is seldom included in debates on sustainability, yet highlighting the sourcing of fabric, design of garments, and working conditions could drive change within the industry, and raising consumer awareness is key. Safia Minney, founder of People Tree, talks to Philip Colbert the designer behind The Rodnik Band and Mariusz Stochaj, who has a long history of sustainable supply chain management in the fashion industry. Chaired by Louise Gray.

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Khalid Koser, Sue Miller and Chikondi Mpokosa

Wind – Adapting to Change

Hay Festival 2009, 
How do communities adapt to change and migration? Khalid Koser from the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Sue Miller, Baroness of Chilthorne Dorner, Member, UNESCO North Devon's Biosphere Reserve Partnership, and Chikondi Mpokosa, Oxfam’s Global Education Advisor.

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Mark Lynas talks to Andy Fryers

What Have the Greens Got Wrong?

Hay Festival 2010, 
Has ideology blinded the mainstream environmental movement to solutions for some of the major problems facing the world? Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees and High Tide, discusses why he has changed his views on the big issues including nuclear power, GMOs and organic food with Andy Fryers.

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Annie Leonard talks to Jo Fox

The Story of Stuff

Hay Festival 2010, 
The journalist and film-maker tracks the life of the stuff we use every day, revealing the often hidden impacts of our production and consumption patterns. In conversation with Jo Fox, Deputy Director of The Bigger Picture at Sky.

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Ed Gillespie, Steve Colling and Ackroyd & Harvey

The Art Response - Five images to change the world

Hay Festival 2012, 
From baby seals to flooding devastation, has the use of dramatic imagery lost its potency to inform the climate change debate? Despite our short attention span, can an incredible image in our increasingly visual world still make an impact?