For this year’s Forum we bring you four events focusing on reconnections.
Full day ticket allowing entry to all four events:
 Adele Nozedar and Lizzie Harper talk to Andy Fryers
 Anna Jones talks to Kitty Corrigan
 Hannah Bourne-Taylor talks to Matt Stadlen
 Minette Batters, Peter Hetherington and Nick Palmer
Foraging is one of the fastest-growing nature-related pastimes in the UK and US. Profiling 40 incredible trees from apple to yew in The Tree Forager, Adele Nozedar takes us on a foraging journey through their beauty, wildlife, folklore and medicinal uses. Tracing the fascinating story of the intimate relationship between humankind and our trees, we also celebrate the 10th anniversary of Adele’s first foraging book, The Hedgerow Handbook, launched at Hay Festival in 2012. Adele is joined by botanical illustrator Lizzie Harper who has brought both books to life with vivid watercolour, pen and ink. They talk to Hay Festival’s Sustainability Director.
Divide: The Relationship Crisis Between Town and Country is a powerful manifesto for bridging the political and cultural division between rural and urban communities to make positive lasting changes to heal the environment. Journalist and broadcaster Anna Jones warns that unless we learn to accept and respect our social, cultural and political differences as town and country people, we are never going to solve the chronic problems in our food system and environment. Anna Jones talks about the key to this – respecting our differences, recognising each other’s strengths and working together to heal the land – with writer and editor Kitty Corrigan.
A tiny wild bird changed Hannah Bourne-Taylor’s life. Fledgling tells the story of how rescuing, hand raising and releasing first a swift, then a finch, while living a remote existence in rural Ghana, redefined her identity and helped her overcome isolation and anxiety. Sharing part of her life with a finch who accepted Hannah as his surrogate mother, the vast differences between humans and wild creatures shrunk so there were none. Through remarkable dedication, Hannah took on the challenge of reuniting the finch with his family flock in the wild, their bond allowing them to overcome many adversities. Swifts play a huge role in Fledgling too, these awe-inspiring birds inadvertently teaching her life lessons and helping her connect to the landscape.
Fledgling is a beguilingly honest and personal memoir about identity, belonging and coexistence but most of all it is a love story between Hannah and one very gregarious finch. Fledgling is Hannah’s debut nature memoir, a story that went viral across the world last month, being covered in international newspapers, television, radio including Radio 4’s Saturday Live. Unapologetically and infectiously enthusiastic, Hannah is a conservationist on a mission to engage everyone with birds for the sake of the wild, but also ourselves.
Approximately 75% of UK land area is used for agriculture, providing employment for around 472,000 people. The food and agriculture sector also accounts for a rising 30% of our carbon footprint, presenting an urgent need to reframe land and reinvent farming.
In a net zero world, land will need to sustain inter-cropping, livestock, pasture, biodiversity, water services, carbon sequestration and more. The prospect of new food and farming policies for the UK provides the opportunity to do things differently and we now have a much better understanding of how farming and nature can co-exist and, indeed, benefit each other. But as we strive for just transitions that leave no one behind, what are the implications of making these shifts? Minette Batters is President of the NFU, Peter Hetherington is a journalist and author of Whose Land is Our Land? and Land Renewed: Reworking the Countryside and Nick Palmer is Head of Compassion in World Farming UK. Chaired by Adele Jones, Deputy CEO, Sustainable Food Trust.
Global conservation efforts are failing to halt the current rate of extinction. As wildlife declines, conservation needs to make trade-offs, but what should we conserve and why? What do we want the ‘natural world’ to look like? And how close are we to forgetting what we’re about to lose?
In Tickets for the Ark ecologist Rebecca Nesbit questions our preferences for some species over others, and challenges our assumptions that native is always better than invasive, and ‘wild’ is always superior to human-altered. She gives ethics a central role in considering nature.
Millennial science communicator Sophie Pavelle’s Forget Me Not: Finding the Forgotten Species of Climate-change Britain is a clarion call, following rare native species on the front lines of the climate and biodiversity crises. They discuss the environmental crisis and the urgent, passionate attention needed from us all. In conversation with Pete Myers, Environmental Investor and Campaigner.
The food writer and passionate forager (author of The Tree Forager) joins guides from Brecon Beacons National Park to lead a gentle walk through the beautiful surrounds of Hay-on-Wye. The Park’s lead tree warden introduces wayfarers to some of the area’s oldest and most interesting trees.
Radio 3’s Free Thinking/Arts & Ideas podcast explores the seas and oceans. Rana Mitter’s guests are: Nobel Prize-winning author Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose books have drawn on his birthplace Zanzibar and the refugees arriving at the Kent coast; climate scientist Professor Emily Shuckburgh, who worked at the British Antarctic Survey; and Joan Passey, author of Cornish Gothic, a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to turn research into radio.
Winner of MasterChef in 2005, Thomasina Miers has led the love for Mexican cuisine in the UK with her award-winning street food restaurants Wahaca and a stream of bestselling cookbooks. In her new book Meat-free Mexican, she shows that real Mexican food, as one of the world’s most diverse cuisines, is perfect for anyone looking for inspiration in their vegetarian and vegan cooking.
Thomasina’s central philosophy is that three times a day we have a chance to influence climate change by how we buy food and what we eat. Wahaca was the first restaurant group in the UK to be certified carbon neutral, and she was awarded an OBE for her services to the food industry in 2019.
Over 320,000 people worldwide drown every year. As long as people and vessels are on the water, search and rescue (SAR) operations are needed. Yet operating conditions are increasingly challenging and SAR teams face unprecedented new risks.
Searchlight is the third short film commissioned by Lloyd’s Register Foundation to explore the relationship between the ocean and people all around the world – people who rely on the ocean for food or their livelihood, live in coastal communities, or those who work at sea. Given the increasing demands we are placing on ocean space and the risk of working in ever more extreme environments, how can we better protect people from harm?
The première is followed by a discussion between Ruth Boumphrey, Director of Research and Strategic Programmes for Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Dan McDougall, film director, writer and British Foreign Correspondent of the Year – who has won four Amnesty International Awards for Human Rights Reporting – and Jamie Chestnutt, Director of Engineering & Supply at the RNLI. In conversation with Andy Fryers, Sustainability Director at Hay Festival.
We need to ensure that efforts to address climate catastrophe result in a more equal future for everyone. Emily Shuckburgh, director of Cambridge Zero, the University of Cambridge’s climate change initiative, and Bhaskar Vira, Head of Geography at the University of Cambridge and Professor of Political Economy, discuss a just planetary response.
Emily Shuckburgh worked for more than a decade at the British Antarctic Survey where she led a UK national research programme on the Southern Ocean and its role in climate. She has also acted as a climate advisor to the UK Government in various capacities. Bhaskar Vira’s research focuses on the political economy of environment and development. He is concerned, in particular, with the often-hidden costs of environmental and developmental processes, and the need to draw attention to the distributional consequences of public policy choices.
Isabel isn’t interested in learning any more about the climate crisis and suspects that you aren’t either. We all know how bad it is. Therefore her single minded focus is on all the solutions we can find and can enjoy.
The author, comedienne and environmentalist explores How to Practise Without Preaching: the way we bank, heat our homes, travel, garden, dress, holiday, shop, lobby, volunteer, eat and furnish our homes. She shows that all the actions we can take in order to live a 1.5 degree lifestyle, and help our planet, are also those which will most enrich our lives. No prisoners will be taken and Isabel sends her audience away with a notebook full of ideas, suggestions and actions to be taken.
Ours is the age of global warming. Rising sea levels, extreme weather, forest fires. The next ten years are key to averting climate disaster. Dire warnings are everywhere, so why has it taken so long for the crisis to be recognised?
Climate scientist Professor Peter Stott (Hot Air: The Inside Story of the Battle Against Climate Change Denial) reveals the bitter fight to get international recognition for what, among scientists, has been known for decades: human activity causes climate change. Climate campaigner and writer Dr Alice Bell (Our Biggest Experiment: A History of the Climate Crisis) reviews the history of climate change research – how the world became addicted to fossil fuels and what tools we may have for survival. They discuss what we can do to confront the climate crisis, and exactly how we ended up here with Thea Sherer, Director of Sustainability and Climate Action Officer at Springer Nature.
Helen and John Price and the next generation, Rhiannon and Humphrey Wells open the gates to their farm for a visit led by agronomist Jonathon Harrington and vet Barney Sampson. This traditional family farm is adapting to meet the challenges of a new era to build a sustainable future for food production. Learn about the choices they face relating to soil and the environment, livestock and climate change, and their plans to be carbon negative within the next 3 to 5 years. See cattle and sheep and the crops that are grown to feed them. Beef from the farm will be served in bread rolls at the end of the visit.
With thanks to Helen and John Price and Rhiannon and Humphrey Wells
Please wear walking boots or Wellingtons and waterproof clothing in case of inclement weather. These are visits to real working farms and are suitable for anyone interested in learning more about food and farming. Families are welcome but children must be supervised at all times.
How has humanity sought to harness the power of the sun, and what roles have literature, art, and culture played in imagining the possibilities of solar energy? Gregory Lynall explores the stories that have been told about solar power, from the Renaissance to the present day, how they have shaped developments in science and technology, and how they can help us think about solutions to the climate crisis. Lynall is Professor of English at Liverpool University and author of Imagining Solar Energy: The Power of the Sun in Literature, Science and Culture.
After the lecture, Gregory is joined by Jane Davidson, former director of the award-winning INSPIRE at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and Brycchan Carey, Professor of English Literature at Northumbria University, for discussion and Q&A.
Joe Shute has spent years unpicking Britain’s longstanding love affair with the weather. He has pored over the literature, art and music our weather systems have inspired and trawled through centuries of established folklore to discover the curious customs and rituals we have created in response to the seasons. But in recent years Shute has discovered that the British seasons are changing far faster and far more profoundly than we realise.
Climate change has rendered that once familiar pattern increasingly unpredictable and unrecognisable: daffodils in December, frogspawn in November. How do we bridge the void between our cultural expectation of the seasons and what they are actually doing? The author and journalist speaks to BBC Weather presenter Sue Charles.
From tree to timber – a chance to see for yourself how a small-scale, sustainable wood is managed. The tour visits planting, ecosystem care and tree grading, and goes into the sawmill to see the log being converted into timber. Find out what the challenges and opportunities are for the timber industry.
The Guardian’s natural history writer draws on 20 years’ worth of reporting on topics ranging from red squirrels to lonely bats from Eigg to Canvey Island. From Norwegian wolves to protests against the HS2 railway, peregrine falcons nesting by the Thames to Britain’s last lion tamer, the acclaimed author of The Butterfly Isles and Badgerlands paints an ever-changing portrait of contemporary wildlife. His new book Wild Green Wonders presents thought-provoking interviews with conservationists, scientists, activists and writers such as Rosamund Young, Ronald Blythe and other eco-luminaries, including Sir David Attenborough and Brian May. He talks to travel and adventure writer Dan Richards.
The Plimsoll Sensation: The Great Campaign to Save Lives at Sea tells the true tale of the agitation led by Samuel Plimsoll MP, ‘The Sailor’s Friend’, and by his wife Eliza, who worked together to defend sailors against nefarious practices including overloading and the use of unseaworthy ‘coffin-ships’.
The backlash of libel cases and vilification almost ruined Plimsoll, but his drive and passion made him feverishly popular with the public; he was the subject of plays, novels, street ballads and music hall songs. With the demonstrative support of the nation, he faced down his enemies, came close to ousting Disraeli’s government and achieved lasting safety measures for merchant sailors, including the load line that bears his name.
In this illustrated talk, Nicolette Jones throws light on a cross-section of Victorian society and tells the story of an epic legal, social and political battle for justice, which is still an inspiring example of how the altruism and courage of determined individuals can make the world a better place.
The war in Ukraine has thrown into sharp relief the dangers of dependence on imports of Russian gas, just as the Gulf wars at the turn of the century showed up our over-reliance on Middle East oil. On the surface, renewables offer a way out: away from dependence on dodgy dictators for our economic lifeblood, and towards climate-friendly energy independence. But can we really rely on them for the lion’s share of our energy? What happens when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine?
One answer, of course, could be to massively improve the efficiency with which we use existing energy. Then there are battery banks and ‘green hydrogen’, pumped hydro or compressed air storage, along with all sorts of smart new ‘demand management’ tricks – but these are early stage or (for now) small-scale technologies.
So do we need to ramp up nuclear power? Boost North Sea gas? Revisit fracking? Take a couple of coal-fired plants out of mothballs? Or can we put our faith in a clean, green, energy-efficient future – one which both keeps the lights on and sticks two fingers up to the world’s fossil-fuelled despots?
Harriet Lamb is CEO of Ashden, Mark Lynas is an author, journalist and environmental activist, Nina Skorupska is CEO of the Renewable Energy Association and Martin Wright, former editor of Green Futures, is an environment journalist and photographer.