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.
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.
A debut brimful of the music and movement of multicultural London, to stand beside White Teeth, Brick Lane and The Buddha of Suburbia. The stories in We Move are set in London, but chart a wider narrative about the movement of multiple generations of immigrants. In acts of startling imagination, Gurnaik Johal brings together the past and the present, the local and the global, to show the surprising ways we come together.
Beneath the planes circling Heathrow, various lives connect. Priti speaks English and her nani Punjabi. Without Priti’s mum around they struggle to make a shared language. Not far away, Chetan and Aanshi’s relationship shifts when a woman leaves her car in their drive but never returns to collect it. Gujan’s baba steps out of his flat above the chicken shop for the first time in years to take his grandson on a bicycle tour of the old and changed neighbourhood. And returning home after dropping out of university, Lata grapples with a secret about her estranged family friend, now a chart-topping rapper in a crisis of confidence.
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.
Trees are the ultimate carbon capture and storage machines. Large-scale tree planting is an increasingly popular component of global efforts to meet climate targets. But forests are complex ecosystems, and poorly planned planting efforts can actually increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and exacerbate global warming. How do we balance the clear need to plant more trees with the other demands on land use and how do we take account of the other benefits provided by increasing tree cover? Darren Moorcroft is CEO of the Woodland Trust, Clare Pillman is CEO of Natural Resources Wales and Rob Penn is a writer, broadcaster and photographer.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had devastating impacts on people and property but the implications for future world politics, business and society are also massive and potentially game-changing. Is it the end of multilateralism and globalisation? Will global supply chains become regional and national by necessity, making us rethink entire value chains and systems? Is this the end of liberal globalism?
General Sir Nick Carter, who was Chief of the Defence Staff, head of the British Army, until November 2021, and political scientist and economist Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and Liberalism and its Discontents (who appears via video link) discuss the implications with Emma Graham-Harrison, International Affairs Correspondent for the Observer.
AC Grayling believes three of our biggest global challenges are climate change, the rate of development in high-impact technologies and the deficit of social and economic justice. He asks if human beings can agree on a set of values that will allow us to confront the threats facing the planet, or will we continue with our disagreements as we approach possible extinction? As every day brings new stories about extreme weather, spyware, lethal autonomous weapons and international political-economic, health and human rights imbalances, he argues that we need to find an answer to the question: Is Global Agreement on Global Challenges Possible?
AC Grayling’s latest book is For the Good of the World: Is Global Agreement on Global Challenges Possible? Simon Schama is University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, New York. Turkish-British author Elif Shafak’s most recent novel is The Island of Missing Trees. They discuss technology, climate, justice and human rights, addressing the question: ‘Can we get the whole world to agree on any of them?’ in conversation with writer, cyber security and organised crime specialist Misha Glenny, Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.
Helena Lee, features director of Harper’s Bazaar and founder/editor of East Side Voices, talks to Whitbread Prize-winning author Tash Aw about questions of identity and the experience of the East and Southeast Asian diaspora in Britain. Lee founded East Side Voices in 2020 to draw attention to the talents and skills of people with East and Southeast Asian heritage. Tash Aw has written four novels, including We, the Survivors, and a family memoir, Strangers on a Pier.