On Saturday April 18, Rupert Read and Alastair McIntosh engaged in dialogue about the relationship between Climate Science and Activism. More than 70 people joined in to listen. The video is an example of expansive dialogue wherein complexity thrives and sustains without collapsing into summative and divisive "camps" within the whole of climate campaigning. The result is a model of listening and cooperative exploration that sets a path through transformation. Witness the power of deep consideration engaged by two passionate leaders of cultural shift.
This video has been edited for "zoom-bombs" and is otherwise the full content of the conversation.
Alastair McIntosh is a Scottish writer, broadcaster, and activist on social, environmental and spiritual issues, raised on the Isle of Lewis. A Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology and a Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde, he holds a BSc from the University of Aberdeen, an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in liberation theology and land reform from the University of Ulster. His books include Hell & High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition on the cultural and spiritual dimensions of climate change, Rekindling Community on the spiritual basis of inter-relationship, and Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power on land reform and environmental protection—the latter described as “world changing” by George Monbiot, “life changing” by the Bishop of Liverpool and “truly mental” by Thom Yorke of Radiohead. For the past 8 years he and his wife, Vérène Nicolas, have lived in Govan, where he is a founding director of the GalGael Trust for the regeneration of people and place. A Quaker, he lectures around the world at institutions including WWF International, the World Council of Churches, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the UK Defence Academy (on nonviolence). His driving passion is to explore the deep roots of what it can mean to become fully human, and use such insights to address the pressing problems of our times.
Rupert Read (born 1966) is an academic and a Green Party campaigner and a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion. Read is currently a reader in philosophy at the University of East Anglia where he has been awarded – as Principal Investigator – Arts and Humanities Research Council funding for two projects on "natural capital". His other major recent academic focus has been on the "Precautionary Principle" having contributed substantially to work co-authored with Nassim Nicholas Taleb on applying the principle to questions of genetic modification of organisms. In further work, Read has theorised the utility of the precautionary principle in a wide range of areas, including: climate change, the environment, as well as financial and technology sectors. Read's application of the precautionary principle in climate and environmental affairs underlies many of his talks and presentations, notably including "Shed a Light – This civilisation is finished: so what is to be done?" which was given at Churchill College, Cambridge and has gained success on YouTube with over 100,000 views.
In June 2018, Read triggered a BBC policy shift by publicly refusing to debate a climate change denier. This led to new policy that meant the BBC would no longer present climate change deniers' views as a counterbalance to scientific standpoints. In October 2018, Read declared his support for Extinction Rebellion. Acting as Extinction Rebellion's spokesperson, he gave a number of interviews on national news programmes during the Rebellion's London protests in April 2019. Read was part of the five members of the group invited to meet with Environment Secretary Michael Gove to discuss their demands. The following day the UK Parliament declared a "climate change emergency,"part of Extinction Rebellion's demands.
Read commented regularly through the Eastern Daily Press "One World Column" for five years. In his regular appearances in the local and national press, he speaks on sustainable transport, green economics, and social justice. He was formerly chair of the Green House thinktank, a former Green Party spokesperson for transport and former East of England party co-ordinator.