IS ECOLOGY RELEVANT? Panel Discussion + Q&A with Satish Kumar, Resurgence, Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth CEO & Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP
University College London, J Z YOUNG Lecture Theatre, anatomy building, Gower St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6BT | Friday 20 October, 6.30-8.00pm
Join us at UCL to to discuss the hands-on, practical implications and relevance of an ecological approach to the crises we face. With Satish Kumar (peace activist, author and co-founder, Schumacher College), Craig Bennett (CEO, Friends of the Earth), Molly Scott Cato (MEP, Green Party)
With reality seemingly under attack – from the despicable corruption that led to the Grenfell fire to ‘President’ Trump’s farcical tweets –, Craig Bennett (Friends of the Earth), Satish Kumar (Resurgence) and Molly Scott Cato (The Green Party) will explore the place and relevance of ecology within policy-making, arguing that now, more than ever, we need to turn towards ecological thought to deal with these systemic failures.
Rather than side-lining the environment because of immediate political crises, an ecological approach seeks out the root causes of these issues, instead of their ever-multiplying offshoots. Most of us see the environment as a pressing issue – but how can we push this commitment into our daily lives?
Hosted by Advaya Initiative and SAVAGE Journal, this event invites University students to discuss and explore the hands-on, practical implications and relevance of an ecological approach to the crises we face.
1830 Doors Open
1840 Is Ecology Relevant? Introduction
1845 Satish Kumar (Resurgence)
1905 Craig Bennett (Friends of the Earth)
1925 Molly Scott Cato (The Green Party)
1945 Audience Q&A
2030 Event Ends
A former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, Satish Kumar has been quietly setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality.
Inspired in his early 20s by the example of the British peace activist Bertrand Russell, Satish embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage together with E.P. Menon. Carrying no money and depending on the kindness and hospitality of strangers, they walked from India to America, via Moscow, London and Paris, to deliver a humble packet of ‘peace tea’ to the then leaders of the world’s four nuclear powers.
In 1973 Satish settled in the United Kingdom taking up the post of editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he has held ever since, making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine. During this time, he has been the guiding spirit behind a number of now internationally-respected ecological and educational ventures including Schumacher College in South Devon where he is still a Visiting Fellow.
In his 50th year, Satish undertook another pilgrimage – again carrying no money. This time, he walked 2,000 miles to the holy places of Britain, a venture he describes as a celebration of his love of life and nature. In July 2000 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of Plymouth. In July 2001, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Lancaster. And in the November of that same year, he was presented with the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Abroad.
His autobiography, No Destination, first published by Green Books in 1978, has sold over 50,000 copies. He is also the author of You Are, Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence and The Buddha and the Terrorist.
In 2005, Satish was Sue Lawley’s guest on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. In 2008, as part of BBC2’s Natural World series, he presented a 50-minute documentary from Dartmoor, Earth Pilgrim, which was watched by over 3.6 million people. He also appears regularly in the media, on a range of programmes including Thought for the Day and Midweek.
Satish is on the Advisory Board of Our Future Planet, a unique online community sharing ideas for real change and in recognition of his commitment to animal welfare and compassionate living, he was recently elected vice-president with the RSPCA. He continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity and is a much sought-after speaker both in the UK and abroad.
Craig Bennett took up the role of Chief Executive Officer at Friends of the Earth on 1 July 2015, on completion of his sabbatical as a Policy Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP).
Having spent most of his career as an environmental campaigner, Craig believes there is an urgent need for the “environmental movement” to evolve rapidly over the next decade if it is going to play a leadership role in helping steer humanity to a more sustainable future. The need is to re-frame modern environmentalism, so that sustainability is seen as one of the next steps in the progress of humanity, rather than – as some still see it – a “barrier to progress”. But this demands substantial changes in how organisations like Friends of the Earth perceive, frame, communicate and interact with the challenges and opportunities that will emerge in the coming years.
Previously, as Director of Policy and Campaigns at Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett has been the organisation's lead campaigner and policy strategist, representing the charity with Government and other key lobbying contacts, and leading its tactical response to the changing political and policy context. He is also a member of the Board of Friends of the Earth Europe, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change customer challenge panel for Anglian Water (established as part of the OFWAT price review process), and a member of the Net Positive Board Advisory Panel for Kingfisher plc. From 2013-2015, he was Chair of the Board of Stakeholder Forum.
From 2007 to 2010, Craig was Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and, in this role, was Director of The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (CLG). During this time, he built The Corporate Leaders Group into one of the most influential and progressive business voices in the international climate debate. He maintains his links with the University of Cambridge, as a CSaP Policy Fellow, a Senior Associate at CISL, and an occasional contributor on Judge Business School Executive Education programmes.
Earlier in his career, Craig was the Head of the Corporates and Trade Campaign at Friends of the Earth and sat on the Board of Friends of the Earth International, the Steering Group of the Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition and was a Board Member of the Trade Justice Movement (TJM).
He has a BSc (Hons) in Human and Physical Geography and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation, and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He regularly appears in the broadcast media, and has had many articles printed in national newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph. He is a regular columnist for the BusinessGreen
Molly Scott Cato
Molly is an economist and writer who has campaigned for green politics all her adult life. She grew up in Bath and has spent most of her adult life in the West Country, also living in Blagdon near Bristol. She studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University and later gained a doctorate in economics from Aberystwyth.
Aside from her work as an economist Molly’s areas of special interest include land ownership and food production; renewable energy, especially when it is owned by local communities; co-operatives and self-managed firms; and issues concerned with peace and opposing nuclear weapons and nuclear power.
Before being elected to the European Parliament, Molly led the Green Group on Stroud District Council and was Chair of the Council’s Audit Committee. She worked as Professor of Economics at Roehampton University in London.
Molly joined the Green Party in 1988 and has worked for the party at all levels, including a year spent as job-share campaigns director on the party’s national executive and several years spent as co-chair of its regional council. For the past 15 years Molly has spoken for the Green Party on economics and finance.
Molly has three grown-up children and lives in Bristol. To relax she enjoys spending time in the woods making chairs without the use of power tools, as well as singing and listening to music.