#GREENHAY preview

Zoe Sear, head of marketing and communications at Triodos Bank UK, handpicks the sustainability-focused talks she’s most looking forward to at Hay Festival 2019...

I’m thrilled that Hay Festival has such a wide selection of speakers focusing on sustainability. As a bank that helps finance positive change for people and planet, it’s great to support events where the sharpest minds in science, literature and business are exploring current issues, new developments and advances in sustainability.

For Triodos Bank, supporting Hay Festival is a natural fit. We’re sponsoring this year’s Green Hay Forum on Thursday 23 May as we believe that literature contributes to society by connecting ideas and people, consequently encouraging change. From the inspiring and wide-ranging programme, I’ve managed to narrow down my top five events from this year’s Green Hay schedule:

Green Hay Forum – Thursday 23 May, 11.30am- 7pm, Starlight Stage

Not strictly one event, but a whole day’s worth of talks focusing on the sustainability of food. Environmental journalist Lucy Siegle is an impassioned speaker on the hot topic of plastic waste, as is the inspirational Natalie Fee. In my spare time, I’m a non-executive director for City to Sea – the organisation that Natalie founded – so have a particular insight into the importance of the issue.

I’m also thinking more and more about where my own clothing comes from and who made it, so I’m pleased to see Safia Minney among the line-up, while Wilding has received such acclaim that I’m interested to hear more from Isabella Tree.

Tickets here.

Dieter Helm talks to Tony Juniper – Friday 24 May, 5.30pm, Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage

The relationship between the economy and the environment is an issue central to Triodos Bank’s mission and the way we measure progress. For example, we’ve supported the Thriving Places Index, an alternative measure to GDP, since its launch last year.

We’ll be interested to hear what Oxford professor and chair of the Natural Capital Committee, Dieter Helm has to say on his recent book Green and Prosperous Land: A Blueprint for Rescuing the British Countryside.

Tickets here.

Long-termism: How to Think in Deep Time – Sunday 26 May, 11.30am, BBC Tent

From climate change to politics, short-termism is at the root of many of the challenges we face in the 21st century. There’s such a great mix of minds on this panel from the worlds of science, governance and philosophy: astrophysicist Martin Rees, Sophie Howe, the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, and philosopher Roman Krznaric.

Tickets here.

The Future’s Bright, The Future is Electric – Monday 27 May, 7pm, Hay Festival Foundation Stage

Increased adoption of electric vehicles will play a pivotal role in both the decarbonisation of the UK’s transport sector and much-needed improvement in air quality – and it’s an area that Triodos is looking to finance. Hear what Robert Llewellyn, TV presenter, author and electric vehicle expert, Jesse Norman, Future of Mobility minister and local Hereford MP, and Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers, have to say on the topic.

Tickets here.

Andrea Wulf – Saturday 1 June, 10am, Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage

I’m drawn to this talk as it’s such a beautiful book. Multi-award-winning author Andrea Wulf will be speaking about her graphic novel collaboration with the artist Lillian Melcher – The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt. Von Humboldt was the man who first predicted climate change, and he has inspired generations of writers, thinkers and revolutionaries.

Tickets here.


Explore the full #GreenHay programme of talks here and stay tuned for highlights on Hay Player shortly after each session.