Five Interviews, Four Days — more details
Five great interviews in just four days. Here's a bit more detail about our amazing week in England.
The Green Interview crew landed in London and drove to a rented flat in Oxford, where we spent Monday. On Tuesday, we drove to Ludlow, in Shropshire, on the Welsh border, where we met Hugo Spowers of Riversimple car company (www.riversimple.com). Riversimple is a truly revolutionary idea, setting out to build small, light local cars fuelled by hydrogen and driven by electricity. The cars will get the equivalent of 300 miles to the gallon, and emit only water from the tailpipe. And Riversimple won't sell the cars – they'll only lease them. They hope to have them on the market in three English locations in 2014. Not only that, they've developed a radical new business model, giving their technology away over the internet.
On Wednesday, we stayed in Oxford, where we interviewed the incisive and eloquent author and journalist George Monbiot (www.monbiot.com). Monbiot is a trenchant commentator in The Guardian, and an exceedingly brave man who has pursued dangerous assignments in places like Indonesia and the Amazon, but we focussed on his remarkable book Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, a “thought experiment” to see whether Britons could cut their emissions radically while still retaining their comfortable lifestyle. He demonstrated that they could – but he published the book in 2006, when climate issues were higher on the agenda than they are today. What does he think now?
By Thursday we were in Forest Row, Sussex, south of London, to interview Mark Boyle, who has become famous as The Moneyless Man. Convinced that money intrudes between us and the people and the natural processes that we rely on – the people and processes that provide us with food, shelter, clothing and other products – Mark decided he would live for a year without using any money at all. At the end of the year he felt fitter and happier than he had ever felt in his life, so he elected to continue. He has since written two books on moneylessness and established an online community to support it. Learn more at www.justfortheloveofit.org
We drove four hours across southern England on Thursday in order to be in Totnes, Devon, on Friday morning to talk with Rob Hopkins. Rob is the founder and leader of the Transition Network (http://www.transitionnetwork.org/) Transition is an idea that began in 2008 and since then has gone “viral” around the world. At the heart of the Transition movement is the idea of a plan — imagined, designed and implemented by the community — to move away from fossil fuels and into a rich, sustainable, sociable and locally-focussed way of life. The Transition movement has spread to more than 400 towns all over the world.
That same afternoon, in Bodelva, Cornwall, we spoke with Sir Tim Smit, the practical visionary behind The Eden Project (www.edenproject.com). Sir Tim is an imaginative, dynamic and persuasive fellow whose vision and energy have transformed a devastated china clay quarry in rural Cornwall into an enormous educational theme park dedicated to exploring the complete dependence of human beings on plants. Because it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors, the project is also a powerful demonstration of the capacity of art, entertainment and education to rejuvenate the economy of what was once a thoroughly depressed area.
On Saturday morning, I wrote introductions for four of those interviews. That afternoon, we recorded three of those intros.
We'll release these interviews – and others – every three or four weeks over the next few months. We hope you'll find them as inspiring and absorbing to watch as we found them to make.