Seed Speakers


Jonathon Porritt
Upstanding, not Bystanding!
What we now know is that if the time isn’t NOW, it’s almost certainly never. Without getting carried away about it, there are more ‘straws in the wind’ indicating the potential for radical change on climate, biodiversity and other big issues, than ever before. But the politics, in so many countries, is still against us.

Mary Portas
Retail expert, business woman, government advisor and the BBC’s ‘Queen of Shops’ – comes to The Seed Festival to discuss her life, her career, and her new book Work Like a Woman and why she believes that feminine values will be the key to success in the future. Values like empathy, collaboration and kindness not always associated with leadership or economic growth, but a way of working that is imperative to building a more responsible and sustainable business world.

Bruce Parry
Tribal Insights – Power and revolution

Did you know that for 90% of our time on the planet, humankind lived as equals without hierarchy?
Bruce Parry has lived with tribal people the world over and has much to share. In this talk Bruce will reveal what it is like to live with people who exist in a world without leaders, shaman or even competition.  He will tell us of the tools such people use to maintain societal balance, and most significantly, how they came to create this type of society in the first place. This is a story of how to disarm power on a universal scale. It is a rekindling of the narrative that once held us all in balance, and how it could return once again.

Gillian Burke – BBC
Signs of Hope & Change
We are beginning to accept the many ways in which our species is changing life on earth and we stand at an unprecedented point in human history, with the awareness to shape how the next chapter will unfold.  With stories of conservation successes & behaviour change, hope & action, Gillian shares why she remains defiantly optimistic (on most days).

A biologist with an eye and an ear for drama and storytelling, Gillian hosts alongside Chris Packham BBC Winterwatch, Springwatch and Autumnwatch; yet has worked from Researcher to Producer/Director on several Animal Planet and Discovery Channel series. She is passionate about sharing her love of the natural world through film, and is a particular champion of the animals most people love to loathe like the Ultimate Guide to Spiders & Ants for Discovery Channel; to King Cobra! & Anaconda! and one of the highest grossing IMAX films to date, Bugs!  Gillian is the patron of the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and an active volunteer of the Marine Strandings Network where she frequently attends call-outs for stranded marine mammals and seabirds.

Dr Tom Steward
Is a 100% renewable future possible?”
Dr Tom Steward heads up the policy team at Good Energy, a clean energy supplier focused on tackling climate change through transforming the UK’s energy system.

Jon Young
8 Shields (USA)
Jon is a nature connection mentor, naturalist, wildlife tracker, peacemaker, author, workshop leader, consultant, sought after public speaker and storyteller. As a leader in the field of nature-based community building over 30 years, Jon’s research into the impact and significance of nature on human intelligence and development has influenced tens of thousands of people worldwide.

Ed Gillespie
Rebel for Life: How we transformed the world in just 12 years
In 2030 we must have halved the world’s carbon emissions, be well on the way to ‘net zero’ and dramatically halted the potentially irreversible destruction of the web of life. Let’s pretend we made that happen. What did we do in that short crazy time, how did we do it and what did it feel like? Ed explores his timeless adage ‘if you want to subvert the dominant paradigm, you need to have more fun than they are…and let them know while you’re doing it’ and looks back from the future to describe the rollercoaster ride of ‘The Climate Emergency Years’

Dr Gail Bradbrook
Co-founder of Extinction Rebellion –  If Not You, Who? 

The social movement launched in October 2018 which rapidly spread across the UK and internationally. It is based on the idea of telling the truth about the extent of the ecological crisis and asking people to act accordingly. The movement focusses on mass civil disobedience, rapid decarbonisation and  lowering of consumption and the establishment of a Citizen Assembly as a response to the democratic deficit. Gail has previously been involved in Transition Stroud, Tax Justice Network, Compassionate Revolution and Street School Economics. She has worked for a charity focused on digital inclusion and has a PhD in molecular biophysics.

Craig Bennett
Climate Change – The Solutions

Public awareness and concern about climate change is at an all-time high but climate despair will get us no-where. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear that there’s still time to stop runaway climate change, but only if we start scaling up the solutions and fast. In this talk, Craig Bennett will present Friends of the Earth’s proposal for a National Climate Emergency Plan focusing on 6 key areas of society, and the action that needs to be taken by Governments, business and individuals to get us out of this mess.

Maddy Harland
Learning from Nature: restoring ecosystems large and small
Nature is under assault but we can fight back, working to restore ecosystems and regenerate our damaged lands. Experience projects that have started this healing process, restoring the water cycle and replenishing carbon in the soil. Whether you farm, garden, or care for our environment, we can all be climate activists.

Mac Macartney
The Childrens Fire

Mac is an international speaker, writer and change-maker. Mentored by indigenous people over many years, he has acquired profound and original insights into questions preoccupying many contemporary leaders. Mac seeks to inspire the emergence of the leader in each of us, the leader who will take courageous action for a better world. Championing A New Story of Sustainability lies at the heart of this.

Kit Beazley
Triodos Bank

Kit was UK head of finance at Triodos, one of the world’s leading sustainable banks, for over 10 years. He has most recently been preparing the bank for changes related to Brexit. An expert in ethical finance, he is a trustee at the Finance Innovation Lab and passionate about providing support for charities and organisations tackling the challenges of climate change, poverty and social injustice.

More on Triodos

Ian Redmond OBE
Animal Gardeners of the Forest – how primates and elephants help stop climate change.  

Forests play a central role in efforts to prevent dangerous climate change, and yet deforestation continues apace. Even where the trees are left standing, we hunt the animals therein. In the tropics, most tree species depend on animals to disperse their seeds.  Birds, bats, monkeys, apes and elephants eat fruit, then deposit the seeds in their droppings – first rate organic fertiliser – far from the parent plant.  If we want healthy forests in the future, we must protect the Gardeners of the Forest today.

Rachel Huxley
The work of C40cities

C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supporting cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change.

Alison Tickell
The Creative Climate Movement: An Overview

As the founder and CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, Alison Tickwell believes that we are facing an enormous task. We need a political and corporate consensus, backed by public will, to stand up to climate change. The power of the voice (giving a platform to muted climate scientists), the debate around the Paris Agreement, the evidenced apex performance of renewable energy and clean technologies and the growing youth, cultural and city perspective are changing the game. Climate change is back on the agenda.

Rob Hopkins
Founder of the Transition Movement
Make Britain Imaginative Again
Rob will introduce his forthcoming book which explores the importance of imagination, and why it is that at a time that demands us to be at our most imaginative, we instead find ourselves in a time of such imaginative poverty. He will explore the power of ‘what if’ stories, rich with examples of imagination taking power. You will leave with your imagination reignited, recharged and refocused.

Matthew Taylor – The RSA
Deliberative Democracy

Around the world liberal democracies are suffering from the 3Ps of polarisation, populism and pessimism. We need a system reset. Renewing the legitimacy and effectiveness of Government is vital. One of the best ways to do that would be to learn from good practice around the world and expand the use of deliberative democracy.

Dame Fiona Reynolds
The Fight for Beauty
Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Fiona was the Director-General of the National Trust until November 2012.
Fiona will argue that beauty matters to us all, yet we have lost sight of its importance in our rush for material gain. And as we face ever more challenges, beauty can and must help us to find a better future

Roman Krznaric 
How Can We Be Good Ancestors?
Public philosopher and empathy expert Roman Krznaric gives a sneak preview of his forthcoming book on long-term thinking. How can we overcome the pathological short-termism of the modern world – in politics, business and cultural life – so we can meet the long-term challenges of the coming century, from the global ecological crisis to growing wealth inequality and the risks of new technologies? Roman argues that we must end our colonial domination of the future, rethink our attitudes towards legacy, and shift to a new age of the Good Ancestor. 

Bibi van der Zee
Animal farming and climate change
The contribution that animal farming makes to climate change is finally centre stage, after years of obfuscation and denial. Why has it taken so long? And what do we do about it?

Shaun Chamberlin
The Sequel to Economic Growth – A Future Worth Rebelling For
Shaun authored the Transition movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline, and has served as both chair of the Ecological Land Co-op and a director of Global Justice Now.  He is the editor of David Fleming’s posthumous Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy, and executive producer of 2019 film The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?

Albert Bates
Biochar Master Class

Explorer of alternative futures, examining all aspects of biochar to reverse climate change. This includes a variety of production methods and equipment, varied purpose conditioning and applications of feed supplements and fertilizer in concrete, plasters, paints, fibres, plastics and 3D printing. Known as an Emergency Planetary Technician, Albert is the founder and president of Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology.

Dr Andy Letcher
Sacred Activism: Spirituality at a time of Crisis
Many people feel that a crisis of spirituality lies behind the current ecological catastrophe. What’s the role of religion in shaping today’s problems and what part might spirituality play in remedying them? What would it mean to become ‘sacred activists’? 
Dr Andy Letcher, senior lecturer at Schumacher College specializing in the field of Ecology and Spirituality

Mike Berners Lee
There is No Planet B
Climate change is a global problem – but what steps can we take to address it in our own lives? Sustainability expert Mike Berners-Lee takes a big-picture look at the environmental and economic challenges ahead, and offers a practical course of action to help humanity thrive on our only planet.

Sue Pritchard
RSA’s Director of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission
Sue is shaping a vision for a new sustainable future as the UK exits the EU. The Commission addresses issues including climate breakdown, biodiversity crash, public health and wellbeing, and regenerating rural economies and communities.