George Monbiot

The real costs of climate change are not measured in dollars and pounds, the real costs are measured in lives and in ecosystems . . . immeasurable.

George Monbiot is the author of the best selling books Heat: how to stop the planet burning; The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain; as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man’s Land. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper.

In Heat, published in 2006, Monbiot focuses on the issue of climate change arguing that a 90% reduction in carbon emissions is necessary in developed countries in order to prevent disastrous changes to the climate. He then sets out to demonstrate how such a reduction could be achieved within the United Kingdom, without a significant fall in living standards, through changes in housing, power supply and transport. Monbiot concludes that such changes are possible but they would require considerable political will.

During seven years of investigative journeys in Indonesia, Brazil and East Africa, he was shot at, beaten up by military police, shipwrecked and stung into a poisoned coma by hornets. He came back to work in Britain after being pronounced clinically dead in Lodwar General Hospital in north-western Kenya, having contracted cerebral malaria.

In Britain, he joined the roads protest movement. He was hospitalised by security guards, who drove a metal spike through his foot, smashing the middle bone. He helped to found The Land is Ours, which has occupied land all over the country, including 13 acres of prime real estate in Wandsworth belonging to the Guinness corporation and destined for a giant superstore. The protesters beat Guinness in court, built an eco-village and held onto the land for six months.

He has held visiting fellowships or professorships at the universities of Oxford (environmental policy), Bristol (philosophy), Keele (politics), Oxford Brookes (planning) and East London (environmental science). He has honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews and the University of Essex and an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University.

In 1995 Nelson Mandela presented him with a United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement. He has also won the Lloyds National Screenwriting Prize for his screenplay The Norwegian, a Sony Award for radio production, the Sir Peter Kent Award and the OneWorld National Press Award.