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"Story, Saga and the Hero’s Journey: How to Solve the Climate Crisis" public lecture by Jules Pretty

The Margate School, 21 October, 4—5PM.

Jules Pretty (obe, pfhea, frsb, frsa) is Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex, and Director of the Centre for Public and Policy Engagement. He is formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor (2010-19).

His sole-authored books include Sea Sagas of the North (forthcoming, 2022), Green Minds and a Good Life (forthcoming, 2022), The East Country (2017), The Edge of Extinction (2014), This Luminous Coast (2011, 2014), The Earth Only Endures (2007), Agri-Culture (2002) and Regenerating Agriculture (1995).

He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, former Deputy-Chair of the UK government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, and has served on advisory committees for BBSRC and the Royal Society. He was presenter of the 1999 BBC Radio 4 series Ploughing Eden, a contributor and writer for the 2001 BBC TV Correspondent programme The Magic Bean, and a panellist in 2007 for Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. He received a 1997 award from the Indian Ecological Society, was appointed A D White Professor-at-Large by Cornell University from 2001, and is Chief & Founding Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. He received an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture, an honorary degree from Ohio State University in 2009, and the British Science Association Presidential Medal (Agriculture and Food) in 2015. He is currently a trustee for WWF-UK, and was appointed President of Essex Wildlife Trust in 2019. This Luminous Coast was winner of New Angle Prize for Literature in 2013, and The East Country was winner of the East Anglian book of the year in 2018.

He is among the top 1% most cited scientists in the world, and is co-host of the podcast Louder Than Words. Research bibliometrics: h-index 98, 59.6k citations (Google Scholar); h-index 53 (SciVal).

Pretty will deliver a public lecture at The Margate School on 21 October, 16:00-17:00, on sustainability and the climate crisis, as well as his forthcoming book, Sea Sagas of the North: Travels and Tales at Warming Waters.

Sea Sagas of the North interweaves prose chapters and alliterative sagas. Each chapter tells of travels across shores, seas and islands. Each saga tells of tales and times from across the ages. This is the territory of sagas, the Norse and Anglo-Saxon gods of old, and the mythic era of Viking expansion by clinkered longship. It was when dragons protected people from themselves by hiding gold and silver hoards. These crossing tales and sagas begin at elemental wilds of north-west Iceland. They take in the Lofoten Isles of Norway, Sjæland and the Øresund in Denmark, cross the sea to the eastern shore of England, and travel to the north lands of deepwater ports, inland abbeys and holy shore of Lindisfarne, and then to the Atlantic isles of Shetland and St Kilda, and wind-torn fragments of the Faroes, completing the circle back at Iceland’s fire and ice. The book comes to a conclusion with the saga of the Drowning of Doggerland, how the once dry steppe was flooded by the warming seas, making the people of the plains refugees. The book finishes as Ragnarök looms. What can be done to avoid more fire and flame? These are times when new stories might be needed, as the growing global crises wash at these shores.