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Herewith a potpourri of ideas for interest, distraction or entertainment for you or for someone else.

Books

Wilding – Isabella Tree. The return to nature of a British farm. The story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife.

A Sting in the Tale – Dave Goulson. Fascinating stories and information about bees, history’s relationship with the bumblebee, the disastrous effects intensive farming has had on our bee populations and the potential dangers if we are to continue down this path.

Into the Silence – Wade Davis. An account of three failed Everest expeditions leading up to the death of Mallory in 1924, which places those feats of endurance in the context of British imperialism and the psychological aftermath of the First World War.

Doughnut Economics – Kate Raworth. A new economic model which explains the dangers of ignoring the role of energy and natural resources. A less controversial view than those of “Extinction Rebellion”.

The House By The Lake – Thomas Harding.  The story of modern Germany as seen from the Alexander family’s lake house outside Berlin through different regimes and residents.

Video

Ha Joon Chang – Economics for Everyone. 11 minutes of whiteboard animation narrated by a Cambridge professor. Very accessible. https://www.thersa.org/discover/videos/rsa-animate/2016/economics-is-for-everyone

Civilisation – Is The West History. Niall Ferguson in 2011 on a subject which has been prominent in 2019. https://www.thersa.org/discover/videos/event-videos/2011/03/civilisation-is-the-west-history

The Tyranny of Merit – Michael Sandel. Arguably the most important issues of our time – stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality – from one of the world’s leading public intellectuals. Just 3 minutes long! https://www.thersa.org/discover/videos/rsa-animate/rsa-minimate/2019/the-tyranny-of-merit–michael-sandel

Podcasts

Tunnel 29. Helena Merriman tells the true story of a man who dug a tunnel beneath the Berlin Wall and the feet of the border guards to help friends, family and strangers to escape. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009jkb

In Our Time – Coffee. The history and social impact of coffee. From its origins in Ethiopia, to 17th century coffee houses and to 21st century coffee chains. From slavery to baristas. Throughout caffeinated customers stayed awake for longer and were more animated, and this helped to spread ideas and influence culture. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000c4x1

There Is No Planet BSustainability expert Mike Berners-Lee looks at the big challenges facing Earth and offers guidance on what we can all do to help humanity thrive on our only planet. This is also a book.

Article written by
Simon James