As a parallel to our Guest Selected strand of events on the oceans by Tania Kovats, this series of events looks at the precarious pact between people and planet Earth. On the one hand there are imaginative, inspiring studies celebrating our natural world and the wondrous origins of life. On the other, there are eye-opening accounts of industrialised farming methods, an alarming inventory of the world’s depleting resources, and uncomfortable questions on energy usage, environmental politics and unfettered urbanisation. It’s time to act while the future of the planet is still in our hands.
THE TRUTH ABOUT CHICKENS
Saturday 11 August 12:30 - 13:30
Whether you’re a passionate vegan or a rabid omnivore, the industrialisation of chickens should be a matter for concern. In Plucked!, award-winning science and medical writer Maryn McKenna goes deep into the heart of poultry production in the US, UK and beyond, to find some seriously inconvenient truths about our modern food chain and the perils of industrial agriculture.
EXPLORING THE LIFE OF PLANTS
Thursday 16 August 14:15 - 15:15
As Deputy Head of Education at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Gregory Kenicer has probably forgotten more than most of us will ever know about the world of plants. Without them, and the food they provide, planet Earth would be a very different place. Closer to home, Kenicer chats about plants particular to Scotland, revealing their uses from the practical to the magical.
Charles S Cockell & Caspar Henderson
Friday 17 August 11:00 - 12:00
What makes life the way it is? For Britain’s leading astrobiologist Charles S Cockell, the answer is in The Equations of Life, his groundbreaking account of the nature of evolution. For Caspar Henderson life is a marvel, and in A New Map of Wonders he charts an awe-inspiring journey through the origins of the universe, the human body and the natural world. The pair share their lust for life and the science behind it. Chaired by Stuart Kelly.
Robin Crawford & Donald S Murray
MOORS AND BOGS DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE
Sunday 19 August 11:00 - 12:00
The moorlands of Scotland and beyond fascinate art historian Robin Crawford and playwright-poet Donald S Murray. Crawford discusses what he found after evaluating the peat areas of the Outer Hebrides for a year, documented in Into the Peatlands, while Murray extends his reach from Lewis and the Highlands to the Netherlands and Australia in The Dark Stuff, unpicking why these landscapes have been represented unfairly in folklore.
Sustainable Story Book Creations
Sunday 19 August 14:00 - 16:30
Today, we're combining two things that we love at the Book Festival - creating stories and looking after the environment. Drop into Story Box to make one of your favourite story book characters from a range of recycled materials. Perhaps you will rework the Gruffalo from cardboard boxes or bring Supertato to life with old potato packaging - the possibilities are endless!
NUCLEAR POWER FALLOUT
Monday 20 August 11:00 - 12:00
In Fallout, distinguished environmental writer Fred Pearce is unsparing in his analysis of the good, the bad and the ugly of our nuclear age. Names such as Hiroshima, Chernobyl and Fukushima spell calamity in the minds of nuclear sceptics, but have we really learned from the catastrophic lessons of the past? Pearce visits the physical and emotional landscapes of these disaster zones in his book and today he ponders our nuclear future.
SAVE THE FUTURE
Monday 20 August 14:15 - 15:15
It seems as if people have been trying to save the rainforests for a very long time. And while approximately half of their area has been effectively destroyed, it’s not too late to do the right thing by the other 50%. After all, it’s only the future of the planet that’s at stake. Environmental campaigner and author of Rainforest Tony Juniper has some answers about what can still be done.
Teaching the Natural World
MAKING COMPLEX IDEAS EASY
Monday 20 August 18:45 - 19:45
Novelist, science writer and former biology teacher Gill Arbuthnott and teacher Jennie Hargreaves explore how to use science books to bridge the gap between the classroom and the natural world. Using examples from the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, they demonstrate how complex environmental issues can be made accessible to all ages. Fun, informative and relevant.
PLACES AND PEOPLE
Tuesday 21 August 14:15 - 15:15
Best known for creating two masterpieces of observational prose, The Running Sky and Four Fields, Tim Dee is also a radio producer at the BBC. He’s used his experience to edit an anthology of contemporary nature writing that links human beings with the natural world. Ground Work includes texts by John Burnside, Helen Macdonald and Marina Warner among others. Today Dee discusses this thought-provoking book.
Martin Goodman & James Thornton
STANDING UP FOR THE PLANET
Wednesday 22 August 14:15 - 15:15
Lawyers might be on the end of relentless jokes and criticism, but some of them are fighting against the destruction of our planet. Martin Goodman and James Thornton discuss the efforts of ClientEarth, a not-for-profit environmental law group which encourages citizens to use public interest law to protect the planet. Thornton himself has been successful in taking corporations and governments to court for their negligence. Chaired by Rosemary Burnett.
James Aldred & Jonathan Drori
THE WORLD OF TREES
Wednesday 22 August 17:30 - 18:30
James Aldred built forest shelters as a teenager and now hops around the treetops to film segments for David Attenborough's celebrated TV shows. In The Man Who Climbs Trees he recalls adventures from Borneo to Australia. Jonathan Drori keeps his feet firmly on the ground to analyse how trees play eye-opening roles in almost every part of human life in Around the World in 80 Trees. A perfect event for nature lovers.
Patrick Barkham & Paul Murton with Mark Beaumont
OUR OWN ARCHIPELAGO
Thursday 23 August 20:45 - 21:45
***Patrick Barkham is no longer able to appear and this event will go ahead with Paul Murton in conversation with Mark Beaumont.***
The British Isles are made up of two large islands and several thousand that are very much smaller. Both Patrick Barkham and Paul Murton are fascinated by the latter. In his gorgeous travelogue Islander, Barkham explores areas where the past is vividly present. Presenter of the BBC’s Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands, Murton’s focus is firmly on the Hebrides as he uncovers their magic and beauty. Record-breaking long-distance British cyclist, adventurer, broadcaster, documentary maker and author Mark Beaumont joins Murton for a fascinating discussion about the joys and challenges of venturing into wild places.
PICKING OVER THE BONES OF THE PAST
Sunday 26 August 10:30 - 11:30
We're still fascinated by the fate of dinosaurs. Now palaeontologist Dr Steve Brusatte shares the story of how new dino-hunters have used cutting edge technology to reframe the history of the beasts that ruled the Earth for millions of years. The ultimate warning from history, Brusatte's The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs teaches homo sapiens some valuable survival lessons.
While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Our Planet and Us are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.
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