Next Meeting: “What has nature ever done for us?” by Tony Juniper

Our next Green-Thinkers bookclub is on 5th December at 6.30pm to discuss Tony Juniper’s “What has nature ever done for us?”. The book is a fantastic insight into our fundamental, but poorly understood, life-support systems; and it is timely for communities, businesses, and governments around the world.

We will be asking questions such as:

  • What benefits does nature provide to you, and your region / organisation?
  • Can, and should, a price be put on nature?
  • What do you see as the greatest threat to the effective functioning of ecosystems? and what are the potential consequences if they break-down?
  • And dare I ask – if traditional conservation has largely failed to protect iconic endangered species, can biodiversity offsetting ever be a good thing?

 Gareth Kane recently brought to my attention the latest advertisement from Toys-R-Us depicting a bus full of bored school-children on a field-trip to a forest; but when the trip was diverted to a shop full of plastic toys they were allegedly ecstatic. If we believe nature has intrinsic health and educational value – have we lost the battle? and how can we turn this around? As an alternative see this infographic about the value of tree from Natural Capital Forum, and also the family from Nottinghamshire who set their children a challenge of completing 100 different outdoor activities in a year – Nottingham Post.

Date: 5th Dec 2013, Time: 6.30, Location: Newcastle at the Bridge Hotel. Price: (£5 / £3 concessions) includes sandwiches and chips!

Please email to book, if you have not already done so.

Kind Regards,

Marek Bidwell

“Small is Beautiful” – 5th Sept 2013

We enjoyed a lively discussion on 5th September about ‘Small is Beautiful’. Views about the book varied from insightful, spiritual and measured, to angry and contradictory. There was a general view that Schumacher was ahead of his time – writing in 1973 about issues such as economic externalities, ecosystem services, and bio-mimicry (although not necessarily using these terms). It would be fascinating if we could get his views 30 years on.Continue reading ““Small is Beautiful” – 5th Sept 2013″

Account of discussion on ‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Tim Jackson (6th June 2013)

Our discussion last week on ‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Tim Jackson was both expansive and at times involved, yet it felt a bit like trying to catch a wet frog blindfolded. To some extent this metaphor extends to what many thought of the book, it clearly sets out how the present economic system is unsustainable, unless growth can be completely decoupled from carbon emissions, gives a vision of what a more sustainable economy might look like, but is less specific on how to move from one to the other. This is not a criticism of the author because there are no quick fix solutions to solving the most pressing problems humans face.Continue reading “Account of discussion on ‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Tim Jackson (6th June 2013)”

Book Review: Ecological Intelligence by Dan Goleman

Review by Kit England

When I stumbled across this book I was intrigued. For those not familiar with the Author, Daniel Goleman is a journalist traditionally associated with psychology. He is most commonly known for ‘Emotional Intelligence’, and ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence’ – two books in the early 90’s which provided new perspectives on management and careers by exploring our ‘two  minds’, the rational and the emotional.  These insights – that the brain is not only governed by our ‘rational’ abilities, but also by emotional skills such as empathy, impulses, and social competence, – helped millions leverage these traits.Continue reading “Book Review: Ecological Intelligence by Dan Goleman”

‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Tim Jackson – Bookclub debate on 6th June 2013

Prosperity without Growth

Green-Thinkers is reading is the bold and provocative ‘Prosperity without Growth‘ by Tim Jackson this spring.

You are invited to our second bookclub that will take place at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ on 6th June 2013 at 6.30pm. To book email by 29th May, and pay £5 on the door which includes room hire, chips and a sandwich (£3 for concessions).

This book will be an interesting contrast to our previous read by Mark Lynas. Jackson begins with the same premise that we are living beyond ecological limits but he goes on to say that ‘a world in which things simply go on (growing) as usual is inconceivable’ and that to achieve necessary carbon reduction targets the carbon content of each dollar has to be 130 times lower by 2050 than the average today. He also argues that beyond a certain point continued economic growth doesn’t advance human happiness, and that we are locked into an ‘iron cage’ of consumerism that is hell-bent on disaster. Later in the book he to proposes various ideas for what more sustainable economic structures might look like.

Do you agree with Jackson that the current economic structures are unsustainable and need reform? or do you side with George Osborne that the environment is a barrier to growth and there should be greater deregulation? What would a global economy look like that valued people as well as GDP? Would it be liberal or domineering? What does this mean to your community or organisation?

If these questions interest you then pick up a copy of Jackson’s book and join our next stimulating debate. As a taster you can watch Jackson’s TED Talk at

Prof Jackson was also at Newcastle in Nov 2011 to give public lecture on the book, so this is a great opportunity to follow up on that stimulating event. See Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) website here.

Please also forward this invitation onto anyone you know who may be interested.

Boundaries, Biodiversity, and Beer!

An account of the inaugural Green-Thinkers Bookclub

I thoroughly enjoyed our first Green-Thinkers debate and the little grey cells were certainly stimulated. Having selected a contemporary book ‘The God Species’ by Mark Lynas that challenges some ‘scared green cows’  there was plenty to discuss taking us past the official going home time, and then afterwards downstairs in the bar for a more informal chat. Perhaps it was the beer and chips that stimulated the thinking!Continue reading “Boundaries, Biodiversity, and Beer!”

Invitation to Green-Thinkers Bookclub

Green-Thinkers logo
Green-Thinkers logo

 ‘read, think, challenge, debate, refine, connect, inspire…’

So the world didn’t end in 2012 and we are facing a future of 8 billion people, over 2 degrees of warming, scarcer resources, and fragmented ecosystems. However humans are an ingenious and creative species so individuals, communities, businesses and governments should be capable of tackling these issues head on, and create a fairer and more sustainable future. What do you think the future holds? join the debate, join us at Green-Thinkers Bookclub either online or at our first meeting.

Continue reading “Invitation to Green-Thinkers Bookclub”

Suggestions wanted for books to discuss at Green-Thinkers bookclub?

We are looking for contemporary sustainability books covering a range of topics that would appeal to non-specialists. Topics may include peak food, the fracking  debate, population growth, climate change, green cities, sustainable design, and sustainable capitalism. All suggestions welcome.

Welcome to Green-Thinkers

The world didn’t end yesterday so we need to seriously think about a more sustainable future, so raise a glass to the launch of Green-Thinkers bookclubs and discussion groups.

I hope that the groups will be a place where people from all, cultures, walks of life and professions can share intelligent discussion and take the ideas back to transform their neighborhoods, organisations, and societies. We have Linkedin and Facebook groups, please feel free to join even if you can’t make it to the meetings to keep up to date with developments.

Watch this space for more information coming soon.