Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: The Fragile Planet

This series brings together environment specialists, scientists and activists to ask: how can we avert disaster and protect our planet?

Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: The Fragile Planet

About Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: The Fragile Planet

‘Around the year 2030… we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilization as we know it’: a stark warning delivered by 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg. This series brings together environment specialists, scientists and activists to ask: how can we avert disaster? We also take time to celebrate the wonders of the natural world with writers, including Erling Kagge, Kathleen Jamie, Robert Macfarlane and Amanda Thomson; and the WWF supports events offering some positive stories about what’s already being done to protect our planet, with authors discussing the oceans, climate justice and everyday activism.

Fred Pearce
Sunday 11 August 11:00 - 12:00
As an author and journalist exploring science and environmental issues for two decades, Fred Pearce knows how individual countries are reacting to various threats to the planet’s longevity. His concern today, as in his new book When The Rivers Run Dry, revolves around the Earth’s water resources, with some 7.5 billion mouths fighting over an unevenly distributed supply. What can be done about our drying world? Chaired by Sheena McDonald.

From Carbon's Casualties to Climate Solutions
Sunday 11 August 19:30 - 21:00
Since 2015, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Josh Haner has documented the realities of climate change across the globe. His photo series Carbon’s Casualties explores the many consequences of a warming world, offering the space to consider solutions. Join us for a special discussion with Haner, acclaimed Australian novelist and campaigner Tim Winton and Laura Watts, whose Energy at the End of World offers a way forward through Orkney’s role as a centre for energy innovation. In collaboration with Beyond Borders.

Alex Rogers
Monday 12 August 11:00 - 12:00
A pioneer in marine biology and consultant on BBC’s Blue Planet II, Alex Rogers is understandably concerned about the world’s oceans. The impact of human activity upon the ecosystems of the oceans may still be fully uncovered, but in the meantime Rogers is keen to offer a message of optimism. He explores the work being done to reverse our worst excesses in his book The Deep. Come and hear what he has to say in converstaion with Sheena McDonald.

Steve Jones
Tuesday 13 August 15:45 - 16:45
We can’t guarantee the sun will shine on Edinburgh this August, but Steve Jones joins us to explore just how crucial our nearest star is to life on Earth. Here Comes the Sun is the UCL emeritus professor's most personal book yet: as well as exploring the ways astronomy and cancer prevention are connected to the sun, he explains how his own specialism has evolved over decades to be of huge importance to society, in discussion with Allan Little.

David Gange & Amanda Thomson
Friday 16 August 16:00 - 17:00
For The Frayed Atlantic Edge, historian David Gange took a kayak journey through nature and language along Britain's coasts from Shetland to Cornwall. Along the way, he will certainly have used some of the words in Amanda Thomson’s gorgeous A Scots Dictionary of Nature. The artist’s first book is a paean to our ways with words about the world. Join them on a tour of natural and linguistic splendour.

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
Monday 19 August 16:00 - 17:00
Here’s a quote to conjure with from Professor E O Wilson: ‘If invertebrates were to disappear, I doubt that the human species could live more than a few months’. Award-winning Norwegian professor of Life Sciences, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson was taken by that notion too, and investigated our ecosystem, discovering that it is indeed very fragile. Joined by palaeontologist Steve Brusatte, she has some tips to keep humanity afloat, as presented in her new book Extraordinary Insects.

Inspire a Generation with Science Books
Thursday 22 August 18:30 - 19:30
Global warming, plastic pollution and species extinction are hot topics but what do these scary terms mean to children? Can we inspire them to take an environmental interest early on? Join eco-science teacher Sarah Eames and authors Nicola Davies and Gill Lewis to discuss how science books for kids can connect them to nature, inspiring them to protect the planet. Presented in partnership with the Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize.

Robert Macfarlane
Thursday 22 August 18:45 - 19:45
Robert Macfarlane’s quietly profound nature writing has captured the minds of millions with its lyrical prose and connection of landscape to emotion, stories and myths. After 2017’s stellar The Lost Words, he’s heading to the unknown realms beneath our feet. Join him today for a wander through the Underland, a place of natural majesty and mystery; a vault for humanity's most treasured possessions and troubling secrets. In conversation with Gavin Francis.

Mary Robinson
Sunday 25 August 11:45 - 12:45
While the realities of climate change are not always visible, the realisation that our grandchildren will live in troubled times can catalyse action. After becoming a grandmother, former Irish president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson travelled the world to learn about the fight back. In Climate Justice, she describes the people working to overcome the threat. Today she shares her hopeful account in conversation with Ruth Wishart.

Mike Berners-Lee
Sunday 25 August 14:00 - 15:00
Warnings of looming environmental catastrophe rain down on us with increasing frequency, and only the most ardent climate change sceptics deny we live at a crucial point for the Earth's future. Join sustainability expert Mike Berners-Lee in conversation with Adam Rutherford, as he cuts through the noise with practical advice on how we can avoid calamity, drawn from his book There is No Planet B, a ‘Handbook for the Make or Break Years’.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: The Fragile Planet are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.

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Revolutions, Rebellions and Revelations: Scottish History seen through Edinburgh’s Collections
Revolutions, Rebellions and Revelations: Scottish History seen through Edinburgh’s Collections
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This talk will take you through the key moments of Edinburgh’s history from the National Covenant of 1638 to the suppression of the Highlands after the defeat of the Jacobite Rebellion in 1746.
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Through candid conversations with advocates of “business as usual”, director Florian Opitz reveals the absurdities behind our current system and asks if it may be time for a radical re-think.
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Medical Herbalist Wendy Kelly will reveal the secret herbal medicine chest already in your kitchen in this fascinating talk at Cockenzie House and Gardens on 25th September!
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