Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall biography

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall BWHugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is widely known as a writer, broadcaster and campaigner for his uncompromising commitment to real food. His series for Channel 4, most recently River Cottage VEG Every Day, have earned him a huge popular following.  The accompanying book of the same name was published by Bloomsbury in September 2011.

His first book in the River Cottage series, THE RIVER COTTAGE COOKBOOK, scooped the top food writing awards, including the Glenfiddich Trophy and the André Simon Food Book of the Year. His next book, THE RIVER COTTAGE YEAR, was a passionate polemic for shopping, cooking and eating in tune with the seasons. THE RIVER COTTAGE MEAT BOOK aimed to help cooks understand meat better, and invited readers to join the campaign to improve quality and welfare in the production of British meat. In recognition of this he again won both the André Simon prize and the Glenfiddich Trophy. THE RIVER COTTAGE FAMILY COOKBOOK won the Guild of Food Writers Award for Cookery Book of the Year. With THE RIVER COTTAGE FISH BOOK Hugh once again won the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year award, was shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers Award for Cookery Book of the Year, and won the Michael Smith Award. 

Hugh and his team of food experts operate out of River Cottage HQ, a 17th century farmhouse, converted barns and 60-odd acres of land. HQ is now a venue for courses and events expounding the River Cottage food philosophy, and celebrating the very best local, seasonal food. Hugh’s website,, is an important forum for discussing food issues of every kind.

Satish Kumar biography

Satish Kumar BWSatish Kumar is an internationally renowned speaker on ecological and spiritual issues. When he was only nine years old, Satish renounced the world and joined the wandering brotherhood of Jain monks. He left the monastic order and became a campaigner for land reform, working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a peaceful world into reality, before undertaking an 8,000 mile peace pilgrimage, walking from India to America without any money, through deserts, mountains, storms and snow.   

Since 1973 he has been Editor at Resurgence magazine and his books include No Destination; You Are Therefore I Am; Spiritual Compass;  Earth Pilgrim.

Satish teaches, lectures and runs workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorates in Education (2000), Literature (2001) and in 2009 an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Exeter.

Satish has regularly contributed to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and has appeared as a guest on Desert Island Discs. He featured in BBC2’s Natural World Series – Earth Pilgrim: A Spiritual Journey into the Landscape of Dartmoor. Satish is a Vice President at the RSPCA.

Scilla Elworthy biography

Scilla Elworthy BWScilla Elworthy PhD founded Peace Direct in 2002 to fund, promote and learn from peace-builders in conflict area; awarded “Best New Charity” at the Charity Awards 2005. Previously she founded the Oxford Research Groupin 1982 to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics. It is for this work that she was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize in 2003 and nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

She helped found the Market Theatre in South Africa in 1976, long before it was legal for multi-racial performances to take place, and has since worked with playwrights and directors, including David Edgar and Max Stafford Clark, to engage the public in political theatre. From 2005 Scilla was adviser to Peter Gabriel, Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson in setting up ‘The Elders’ initiative.

Scilla is a member of the World Future Council, and the International Task Force on Preventative Diplomacy. She has designed the Leadership Course in Conflict Transformation for the Said Business School, Oxford University, and is the co-founder of ‘The Pilgrimage’ – a 24 hour course that enables participants to make major shifts in consciousness and perception. Scilla is the author of numerous books and director of programmes for the World Peace Festival  Berlin August 2011.

Chris Anderson biography

Chris Anderson BWAfter a career in journalism, and publishing Chris Anderson became the Curator of the TED conference in 2002 and has developed it into a global platform for disseminating ideas worth spreading.

Chris was born in rural Pakistan, and grew up in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where his father worked as a missionary eye surgeon. He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Philosophy and Politics, and then entered journalism. In 1985 he formed a tiny start-up to launch a computer magazine. Its success led to more launches, and his company Future Publishing grew rapidly under the slogan “media with passion.” Chris expanded to the United States in 1994, where he built Imagine Media, publisher of Business 2.0 magazine, and creator of the popular games website IGN. The combined companies eventually spawned more than 100 monthly magazines, employing 2,000 people. They allowed Chris to create a private nonprofit foundation, the Sapling Foundation, devoted to leveraging the power of ideas. Sapling acquired the TED Conference in 2001, and Chris then left his businesses to focus on growing TED. Under his stewardship TED has broadened its scope to include not only technology, entertainment and design but also science, politics, business, the arts and global issues. In 2006 TED began free distribution of its talks on the the web.


Number nine in our series, and continuing the theme of lending and borrowing.

Streetbank is simpler than Ecomodo and Bid & Borrow, featured in my last post. This may well be a benefit. There are no lending circles; you get to see people within one mile of you, and all their things. There is no mention of ‘confidence’ or charging for items, but then maybe we need to trust people more and get away from money-based transactions. And when you register, it is a condition that you add one thing that you would be prepared to help with, lend or give away; you can’t get away with not participating.

Both a lender and a borrower be *

I’ve written about Freecycle and LETS in earlier posts. Now, continuing with the series on sharing stuff and working together, I want to introduce you to Ecomodo.

Ecomodo lets you “lend and borrow each other’s everyday objects, skills and spaces with confidence.” They’ve thought carefully about the “with confidence”: the borrower and the item are rated after each transaction; lenders can request security deposits; and the site offers insurance. You can create a ‘lending circle’ in your neighbourhood, so it is closely tied to real world communities. For example, Exmouth Town had a public lending circle. Update 20 March 2015: Ecomodo has now closed.

Bid & Borrow is very similar to Ecomodo, but I think less user-friendly. Again, you can create a ‘sharing network’ in your neighbourhood, and on both sites you can post a wanted ad. Companies can advertise their goods for hire, but I think this detracts, and Bid & Borrow’s local search doesn’t work well. But still, there might be something you need here that isn’t on Ecomodo. Update 21 March 2016: It appears that Bid & Borrow is no more.

* Shakespeare didn’t always get it right.

Sharing a lift

There will be about 460 people travelling to TEDxExeter in April, including speakers, performers, sponsors, delegates, volunteers and the organising team. There’s not much in the way of parking, but it’s quite possible that some will be starting from places close-by or en route.

I think we’ve reached the seventh in our series of posts on forming connections and working together for sustainability.

Liftshare is the website behind, and helps people to travel more sustainably by sharing their journey. You can share a car on any journey you make, from the daily travel to work or the school run, to a one-off journey to a festival. You can even search for people to share a journey by taxi, bike or on foot.

Why not share your journey to TEDxExeter, and share your hopes for the day on the way there, and what most uplifted you on the way back?

My featured TED2012 talk…

… is Susan Cain: The power of introverts. “In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.”

Being interconnected with others is important, but so is being connected within our selves, and solitude is the vital soil in which this grows. It will be important to take the time to reflect on what we hear at TEDxExeter, whether on the day or after. I was hoping that we might be able to find a room where delegates could withdraw for some quiet space, but it doesn’t look as though there will be one available. Instead, the Exeter University campus does have some lovely green space just 2 minutes from the Northcott Theatre, so (weather-permitting) both introverts and extraverts could take a reflective walk.


Susan Cain: The power of introverts

I’ll do it, but only if you do it too

The sixth post in our series, again on forming connections and working together.

PledgeBank allows users to set up pledges and then encourages other people to sign up to them. A pledge is a statement of the form ‘I will do something, if a certain number of people will help me do it’. The creator of the pledge then publicises their pledge and encourages people to sign up. We can’t be sure people will bother to carry out the pledge, but “We believe that if a person possesses a slight desire to do something, and then we help connect them to a bunch of people who also want to do the same thing, then that first person is much more likely to act.” The site provides guidance to help make your original pledge a success, and you can get a special version of PledgeBank for your organisation. Example of a successful pledge: “I will give £10 towards a tree planting project in Kenya but only if 200 other people will do the same.”