Search this site

The People's Planet: Herbert Girardet and Mark Edwards

Increased human numbers, technological change, and economic and urban growth are changing the relationship between people and planet. In one century, human populations have increased fourfold from 1.5 to six billion people. Urban populations have increased tenfold from 300 million to 3 billion people. And worldwide resource use has increased 50 fold. By 2030, two thirds of humanity will live and work in urban areas, while most of the rest will increasingly depend on them for their economic survival.

Based on the CNN TV series, The People's Planet, by Herbert Girardet the course will investigate how the impacts of contemporary humanity and its lifestyles on the planet's ecosystems can be reduced through:

1 better approaches to environmental education
2 changes in individual consumption patterns
3 the growth of new approaches to business
4 new systems of urban management
5 changes in government policies, particularly on taxation and subsidies.

The workshop will begin on Monday, September 24th and end on the morning of Monday, October 1.
The course fee covers accommodation from Monday 24th September through Sunday 30th September.
Meals are covered starting with dinner on Monday 24th September through lunch on Monday 1 October.

The course will begin with an illustrated talk, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, by Mark Edwards. Mark's slides are the result of many years of photographing environments and societies. They paint a picture of environmental issues all over the world. The course will continue through lectures, discussion groups and guided walks through the surrounding countryside.

The course and discussion groups will ask participants to ponder on a series of important questions: Do we really understand the environmental problems well enough to take action? Are they more complex than they initially appear? Governments and organizations have been confronting environmental issues for many year yet many of them continue to worsen. Is it now time for action or for taking stock?

Several of Herbert Girardet's award winning films will also be available in the evenings for viewing. Participants will also have the opportunity to view and discuss his newest documentaries before they are released to the general public.

A special attraction of this course will be Pari's annual festival the Sagra della Salsiccia with feasting, dancing and singing on the Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Mark Edwards
Mark is one of the most widely published editorial photographers in the world. His pictures from more than 100 countries illustrate the planet's environmental crisis, as well as the many positive things which people are doing in response. He is also co-author, with David Bohm, of Changing Consciousness, a book that examines the role of human consciousness in the context of environmental and social crises. His contribution to the environmental movement has been recognized by the United Nations, which added his name to the prestigious Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1990, and by the Royal Geographical Society which awarded him the Cherry Kearton Medal at the Earth Summit in 1992. Mark also runs Still Pictures, one of the largest environmental photo libraries in the world.

Herbert Girardet BSc, Econ, LSE
Herbert is a consultant urban ecologist, writer and filmmaker. In recent years his main focus has been urban sustainability, and particularly research on London's metabolism and ecological footprint. In 1994 he produced Metropolis, a documentary on London's metabolism, for Channel 4. In 1995 he wrote Getting London in Shape for 2000, for London First, a report which pioneered sustainable development concepts for London. He is a trustee of the Sustainable London Trust, and with John Jopling, was co-author of the report Creating a Sustainable London, 1998. In spring/ summer 2000 he was co-curator of London Living City, a major exhibition on initiatives to create a sustainable London, for RIBA. Future versions of this exhibition are at a planning stage.

Since 1975 he has worked continuously on many aspects of sustainable development. At the Rio Earth Summit, 1992, he received a UN Global 500 Award For Outstanding Environmental Achievements. He was a consultant to Habitat II, the UN City Summit, Istanbul, 1996. He continues to work closely with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) which staged Habitat II.

Since 1995 Herbert is also visiting professor for environmental planning at Middlesex University, London. In 2000 he became an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He is chairman of the Schumacher Society, UK, and a member of the executive committee of UNED-UK. He is also writes frequently for the international press andcontributes to conferences world-wide.

Herbert is author and co-author of seven books - including Blueprint for a Green Planet, 1987, the first book on green consumerism, published in 12 languages; Earthrise, How we can Heal out Injured Planet, written for the Rio Earth Summit, 1992; and The Gaia Atlas of Cities, New Perspectives on Sustainable Urban Living, 1992 and 1996, translated into 4 languages; and Making Cities Work, 1996, commissioned for Habitat II. In 1999 he wrote a short book, Creating Sustainable Cities; and the eco-design text for the UK government's Urban Taskforce Report.

Herbert is also a TV writer and producer. In 1885-6 he was initiator and researcher of Far From Paradise, a seven-part series on the history of human impact on the earth, for the BBC and international co-producers. He co-authored the book accompanying the series. In 1987 he produced three prize winning documentaries on the impacts on the Amazon forest, Jungle Pharmacy, Halting the Fires and The Altamira Gathering, for Channel 4. In 1999 he produced 28 three-minute films called Deadline 2000, on the environment & the new millennium, for Channel 4.

Herbert has just completed work as series editorial consultant on a six-part international TV series, The People's Planet, for CNN and NHK, Tokyo, which is intended as a scene setter for the next UN Earth Summit in 2002. It was filmed in 24 countries on 5 continents. It is the first international TV series since 1992 to provide on overview of the relationship between people and planet, and on world-wide initiatives on sustainable development. The series was developed by Herbert in close co-operation with the Worldwatch Institute, Washington. The six films are on consumerism, cities, food, nature, energy and global justice. Herbert is also the main interviewee in the film on cities, which is particularly concerned with creating a sustainable relationship between cities and the biosphere. Herbert is now starting work on writing the book to accompany the TV series.

To register for this workshop


Contact F. David Peat