For a second time I happened to be near Hay-on-Wye in Wales when the Hay Festival was in full swing. For those who haven’t heard of this, it’s a book festival that runs for two weeks in the summer and has an exceptional line-up of speakers.
While perusing the programme I came across a talk by Paul Collier – and having read his best-selling book ‘The Bottom Billion‘ a couple of years ago, I knew I had to hear his speech.
Collier’s talk was about how to reconcile the immediate needs of the world’s burgeoning population with a sustainable environmental future and his new book, The Plundered Planet details how this can be done.
Collier shows how the extreme and contrasting impulses of unchecked profiteering – by individuals, corporations and governments – and backward-looking environmental romanticism have so far thwarted any constructive cooperation. Here he provides an ethical framework on which to agree future policy. And, based on his own ground-breaking research into these issues, he offers realistic and sustainable solutions. The chains of decision-making required are subtle and fragile but, as he argues persuasively, these are policies that governments and corporations around the world urgently need to adopt. Collier demonstrates, above all else, that our economic and environmental interests are not in fact competing; they are mutually dependent and we we will not be able to survive unless we reconcile them now.
I will certainly be reading this book!