Reading & Links


(Links have been moved to a separate page)

Most Recently added are first in each section

A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future, by David Attenborough, 2020, Witness Books, Penguin. As a young man he travelled what seemed to be an untouched natural world – but the loss of our planet’s wild places and its biodiversity was happening all around him. It is about how we came to make our greatest mistake – and in his vision for the future how, if we act now, we can yet put it right. A positive book!

Feral, by George Monbiot, 2013 (Allen Lane, Penguin Press) You may associate Monbiot with radical opinions in the Guardian or on TV discussion programmes, but his background is in zoology. In 2013 he was living in rural north Wales, and realised the bare mountains were once covered by a temperate rain forest with wolves and bears as the top predators. In Feral he shows how, by restoring and rewilding our damaged ecosystems on land and at sea, we can bring wonder back into our lives. 

CFO Rural services 2020 Survey Report. Community First Oxfordshire carried out the first Oxfordshire Rural Services Survey with rural parishes, towns and peripheral urban communities. It was designed to gather information on services and facilities in these communities and questions on strengths and challenges. The survey was carried out in February 2020, before the Covid-19 crisis hit us.
Read and download the report

Scroll down for videos

“Six Degrees. Our future on a hotter planet” Mark Lynas Harper Perennial, 2007. Mark’s book was so sensational in 2007 that it featured in the Sunday Times colour magazine, with a 4 page spread of colour mock ups of what the Earth might look at different degrees of warming. He lives in Oxfordshire, and in 2009 he came to Blewbury to give a talk about his views. There was some controversy as some of our local scientists disagreed with his optimistic views concerning nuclear power.

“Weather” Jenny Offill, Bloomsbury, 2020. This is a brand new third NOVEL by its American author that is both funny, concerning and a reflection of what it is like to live in Trump’s America! It is a strange book – described in a Guardian Review:

“Storms of My Grandchildren” James Hansen, Bloomsbury, 2009. This is available as a FREE pdf at, or if you prefer a paper copy, I bought a secondhand copy on Amazon! James Hansen was Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies from 1981 to 2013 and is often called the “father of global warming”. James Hansen’s climate predictions have come to pass again and again, beginning in the 1980’s when he first warned Congress about global warming. This book was published in 2009 just before the Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP 15). Hansen’s predictions for the future of his grandchildren are as true today as they were then, but he is still optimistic that we can put it right if we act in time.

“The Future we choose”, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, Manilla Press, 2020. She was the UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change and he was senior political strategist for the Paris Agreement (COP 21). Read this one before COP 26 in Glasgow next year.

“Wilding” by Isabella Tree, Picador 2018. The return to nature of a Sussex Farm. This book is a best seller, winning awards in 2019. Perhaps one to dip into rather than read in one go. But I now understand why large scale wilding is important

“How bad are bananas?” by Mike Berners-Lee, Profile books, 2010. The carbon footprint of everything from a pint of tap water (0.14g CO2e*, 1000 times less than bottled water!) …  to having a child that lives for 80 years (373 tonnes CO2e on average) to the world’s data centres in 2010 (130 million tonnes CO2e, with a prediction for 2020 of 340 million tonnes CO2e). It includes a very useful chapter on making choices about food, with information about different countries, industries etc. It helps to make clear which large scale actions are important for our climate and also helps us to make decisions about what to eat, what to buy or not buy. 
*CO2e means equivalent to the release of this weight of Carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere.

“Heat” by George Monbiot, Allen Lee, 2006. Subtitled “How to stop the planet burning” One of the first widely read books to acknowledge climate change was happening, and it had the potential to destroy the conditions that allows human life, and to ask if it could be stopped. An explosive and inspiring book.

“A guide to Gaia” by Michael Allaby, Optima, 1989. Remember James Lovelock? Gaia is still a controversial idea, but it is worth reading about it, even if only in Nature magazine, which celebrated his 100th birthday in 2019 with this article: James Lovelock at 100: the Gaia saga continues which is “a reassessment of the independent scientist’s groundbreaking body of writing”. And he is still writing: “Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence” was published in 2019 by Allen Lane.


TED talks

TED Talks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes”

Why I must speak out about climate change: JAMES HANSEN
18 minutes 7th March 2012

HTTPS://BIT.LY/3BD6NJO Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement since 1981 in the science of, and debate over, global climate change. At that time he was Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. In doing this he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.

Why climate change is a threat to human rights: Mary robinson
21:43 minutes, may 2015 Climate change is unfair. While rich countries can fight against rising oceans and dying farm fields, poor people around the world are already having their lives upended — and their human rights threatened — by killer storms, starvation and the loss of their own lands. Mary Robinson asks us to join the movement for worldwide climate justice. Mary Robinson was president of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002.

Other videos

Sustainable Future: Ways to make our planet greener

Sustainable Future is one of the REEL Playlists made by BBC Global News. The Sustainable Future Playlist includes “The world’s fastest sinking city” This is Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. The Indonesian President has vowed to build a new administrative capital on the once jungle-covered island of Borneo. The promise is of a sustainable smart city, but there are fears it will be another environmental disaster.

Also “The city giving away tiny houses” (Portland, Oregon) , “How to stop Cows producing Methane”, etc. (Once you have reached one video you see the full list)

More soon!