Seeing Our Planet Whole: A Cultural and Ethical View of Earth Observation
Thursday 2 March 2017
Thai Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Harry Eyres
Harry Eyres will talk about his new book, Seeing Our Planet Whole: A Cultural and Ethical View of Earth Observation (Springer, 2017), which came out of a collaboration with the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna where he was a part-time senior fellow from 2013-2016.
The book shows how our new-found ability to observe the Earth from “the necessary distance” has wide and profound cultural and ethical implications. It is the outcome of speculations and investigations of human beings in relation to their home planet carried out over millennia. In particular, it reveals a split between the ancient idea of the Earth as nurturing mother and the more recent conception of the Earth as a neutral resource able to be infinitely exploited by humankind. The 1968 Earthrise photograph, showing the beauty and fragility of the Earth, helped spark a worldwide environmental movement; now the comprehensive coverage of global change provided by satellites has the potential to convince us beyond reasonable doubt of the huge alterations being wrought upon the Earth and its climate system as a result of human actions, and of the need to act more responsibly.
Harry Eyres is one of the most eloquent advocates of the worldwide Slow Movement. He holds an MA in English from Trinity College, Cambridge, the Diploma de Estudios Hispanicos from Barcelona University and an MSc in Environmental Assessment and Evaluation from LSE, where he graduated with a Distinction. Having worked for leading newspapers and magazines as a theatre critic, wine writer and poetry editor, in 2004 he created the weekly Slow Lane column in FT Weekend, which ran for eleven years until April 2015. Slow Lane covered cultural and environmental themes and consistently advocated a less consumption-focussed lifestyle. Eyres is also the author of The Beginner’s Guide to Plato’s The Republic (Hodder & Stoughton), the memoir Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet (Bloomsbury: short-listed for the PEN/Ackerley Prize in 2014), and several books on wine.
A free event open to LSE staff and students.