George Monbiot

George Monbiot

Overview
George Joshua Richard Monbiot (born 27 January 1963) is an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 writer, known for his environmental and political activism
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

. He lives in Machynlleth
Machynlleth
Machynlleth is a market town in Powys, Wales. It is in the Dyfi Valley at the intersection of the A487 and the A489 roads.Machynlleth was the seat of Owain Glyndŵr's Welsh Parliament in 1404, and as such claims to be the "ancient capital of Wales". However, it has never held any official...

, Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, writes a weekly column for The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, and is the author of a number of books, including Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain
Captive State
Captive State is a book written by The Guardian contributor and author George Monbiot which examines the growth of corporate power in the UK and the negative impact that this has had on democracy and local communities....

(2000) and Bring on the Apocalypse: Six Arguments for Global Justice (2008). He is the founder of The Land is Ours
The Land is Ours
The Land is Ours is a British land rights campaign advocating access to the land, its resources, and the planning processes.The group was set up in the 1990s by George Monbiot and others....

 campaign, which campaigns peacefully for the right of access to the countryside and its resources in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.
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Quotations

Faced with a choice between the survival of the planet and a new set of matching tableware, most people would choose the tableware.

We are the most fortunate generation that has ever lived. And we are the most fortunate generation that ever will.

Everything has been globalised, except our consent. Democracy alone has been confined to the nation state. It stands at the border, suitcase in hand, without a passport.

No political challenge can be met by shopping.

Encyclopedia
George Joshua Richard Monbiot (born 27 January 1963) is an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 writer, known for his environmental and political activism
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

. He lives in Machynlleth
Machynlleth
Machynlleth is a market town in Powys, Wales. It is in the Dyfi Valley at the intersection of the A487 and the A489 roads.Machynlleth was the seat of Owain Glyndŵr's Welsh Parliament in 1404, and as such claims to be the "ancient capital of Wales". However, it has never held any official...

, Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, writes a weekly column for The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, and is the author of a number of books, including Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain
Captive State
Captive State is a book written by The Guardian contributor and author George Monbiot which examines the growth of corporate power in the UK and the negative impact that this has had on democracy and local communities....

(2000) and Bring on the Apocalypse: Six Arguments for Global Justice (2008). He is the founder of The Land is Ours
The Land is Ours
The Land is Ours is a British land rights campaign advocating access to the land, its resources, and the planning processes.The group was set up in the 1990s by George Monbiot and others....

 campaign, which campaigns peacefully for the right of access to the countryside and its resources in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. In January 2010, Monbiot founded the ArrestBlair.org website which offers a reward to people attempting a peaceful citizen’s arrest of former British prime minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 for alleged crimes against peace.

Early life


George Monbiot grew up in Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in South Oxfordshire, England, about 10 miles downstream and north-east from Reading, 10 miles upstream and west from Maidenhead...

 in South Oxfordshire, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, in a house next to Peppard Common. Politics was a the heart of family life—his father, Raymond Geoffrey Monbiot, is a businessman who headed the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

's trade and industry forum, while his mother, Rosalie—the elder daughter of Conservative MP Roger Gresham Cooke—was a Conservative councillor who led South Oxford district council
South Oxfordshire
South Oxfordshire is a local government district in Oxfordshire, England. Its council is based in Crowmarsh Gifford, just outside Wallingford....

 for a decade. His uncle, Canon Hereward Cooke, was the Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 deputy leader of Norwich City Council between 2002 and 2006. Monbiot was educated at Stowe School
Stowe School
Stowe School is an independent school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. It was founded on 11 May 1923 by J. F. Roxburgh, initially with 99 male pupils. It is a member of the Rugby Group and Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. The school is also a member of the G20 Schools Group...

 in Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan home county in South East England. The county town is Aylesbury, the largest town in the ceremonial county is Milton Keynes and largest town in the non-metropolitan county is High Wycombe....

, an independent school
Independent school (UK)
An independent school is a school that is not financed through the taxation system by local or national government and is instead funded by private sources, predominantly in the form of tuition charges, gifts and long-term charitable endowments, and so is not subject to the conditions imposed by...

, and won an Open Scholarship to Brasenose College, Oxford
Brasenose College, Oxford
Brasenose College, originally Brazen Nose College , is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. As of 2006, it has an estimated financial endowment of £98m...

.

Career


After graduating, he joined the BBC Natural History Unit
BBC Natural History Unit
The BBC Natural History Unit is a department of the BBC dedicated to making television and radio programmes with a natural history or wildlife theme, especially nature documentaries...

 as a radio producer, making natural history and environmental programmes. He transferred to the BBC's World Service
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

, where he worked briefly as a current affairs producer and presenter, before leaving to research and write his first book.

Working as an investigative journalist, he travelled in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, and East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

. His activities led to his being made persona non grata
Persona non grata
Persona non grata , literally meaning "an unwelcome person", is a legal term used in diplomacy that indicates a proscription against a person entering the country...

in several countries and being sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

in Indonesia.
In these places, he was also shot at, beaten up by military police, shipwrecked and stung into a poisoned coma by hornets. He came back to work in Britain after being pronounced clinically dead in Lodwar
Lodwar
Lodwar is the largest town in northwestern Kenya, located west of Lake Turkana on the A1 road. Its main industries are basket weaving and tourism. The Loima Hills lie to its west. Lodwar is the capital of Turkana District...

 General Hospital in north-western Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, having contracted cerebral malaria.

In Britain, he joined the roads protest movement and was often called to give press interviews. He was denounced as "nothing but a bandwagoner" and a "media tart" by groups such as Green Anarchist
Green Anarchist
The magazine Green Anarchist was for a while the principal voice in the UK advocating green anarchism, an explicit fusion of libertarian socialist and ecological thinking.-Early years:...

 and Class War
Class War
Class War is a UK class struggle based group and newspaper originally set up by Ian Bone and others in 1983. It subsequently mutated various forms, becoming specifically anarchist....

. He was attacked by security guards, who allegedly drove a metal spike through his foot, smashing the middle metatarsal bone. His injuries left him in hospital. Sir Crispin Tickell
Crispin Tickell
Sir Crispin Tickell, GCMG, KCVO, MA , DSc , FRSGS , FRIBA , FZS, FRI , FCIWEM is a British diplomat, environmentalist, and academic.-Background:...

, a former British diplomat at the United Nations, who was then Warden at Green College, Oxford
Green College, Oxford
Green College was a graduate college of the University of Oxford in England. It was centred around an architecturally appealing 18th century building: the Radcliffe Observatory, which is modelled after the ancient "Tower of the Winds" in Athens....

, made the young protester a fellow, so that he had an office to organise his campaign from. He was an active member of the Pure Genius!!
Guerrilla gardening
Guerrilla gardening is gardening on another person's land without permission. It encompasses a very diverse range of people and motivations, from the enthusiastic gardener who spills over their legal boundaries to the highly political gardener who seeks to provoke change through direct action. It...

 campaign and co-founded The Land is Ours
The Land is Ours
The Land is Ours is a British land rights campaign advocating access to the land, its resources, and the planning processes.The group was set up in the 1990s by George Monbiot and others....

, which has occupied land all over the country. Its first notable success was in 1997, when it occupied thirteen acre
Acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

s (five hectare
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

s) of prime real estate on the river in London upon which owners Diageo
Diageo
Diageo plc is a global alcoholic beverages company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest producer of spirits and a major producer of beer and wine....

 intended to build a superstore. The protesters beat Diageo in court, built an "eco-village" and held on to the land for six months.

Among his best-known articles are his critique of David Bellamy
David Bellamy
David James Bellamy OBE is a British author, broadcaster, environmental campaigner and botanist. He has lived in County Durham since 1960.-Career:...

's climate science, his description of an encounter with a police torturer in Brazil, his attack on libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 interpretations of genetics, his discussion of the ethics of outsourcing
Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else.-Overview:The term outsourcing is used inconsistently but usually involves the contracting out of a business function - commonly one previously performed in-house - to an external provider...

, and his attack on the politics of Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof
Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his...

 and Bono
Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

. In January 2011, in response to widespread claims that he is a millionaire, Monbiot took the unusual step of publishing an account of his assets. In the interests of transparency, explained Monbiot that he earned £77,400 a year, gross, from publishing contracts and rents, and urged other journalists to follow suit.

He has held visiting fellowships or professorships at the universities of Oxford (environmental policy), Bristol
University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...

 (philosophy), Keele (politics), Oxford Brookes
Oxford Brookes University
Oxford Brookes University is a new university in Oxford, England. It was named to honour the school's founding principal, John Brookes. It has been ranked as the best new university by the Sunday Times University Guide 10 years in a row...

 (planning), and East London
University of East London
The University of East London is a university located in the London Borough of Newham, East London, England, based at two campuses in Stratford and Docklands areas...

 (environmental science).

Monbiot lived in Oxford, UK, for many years, but in 2007 moved with his wife, writer and campaigner Angharad Penrhyn Jones, and daughter Hanna to a low emissions house in the mid-Wales market town of Machynlleth. The couple split up shortly thereafter.

Climate change


Monbiot believes that drastic action coupled with strong political will is needed to combat global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

. Monbiot has written that climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 is the "moral question of the 21st century" and that there is an urgent need for a raft of emergency actions he believes will stop climate change, including: setting targets on greenhouse emissions using the latest science; issuing every citizen with a 'personal carbon ration'; new building regulations with houses built to German passivhaus standards; banning incandescent light bulb
Incandescent light bulb
The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe makes light by heating a metal filament wire to a high temperature until it glows. The hot filament is protected from air by a glass bulb that is filled with inert gas or evacuated. In a halogen lamp, a chemical process...

s, patio heaters, garden floodlights, and other inefficient technologies and wasteful applications; constructing large offshore wind farms; replacing the national gas grid with a hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 pipe network; a new national coach network to make journeys using public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 faster than using a car; all petrol stations to supply leasable electric car batteries with stations equipped with a crane service to replace depleted batteries; scrap road-building and road-widening programmes, redirecting their budgets to tackle climate change; reduce UK airport capacity by 90%; closing down all out-of-town superstores and replacing them with warehouses and a delivery system.

Monbiot says the campaign against climate change is 'unlike almost all the public protests' that came before it:
It is a campaign not for abundance but for austerity. It is a campaign not for more freedom but for less. Strangest of all, it is a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.


Monbiot also thinks that economic recession can be a good thing for the planet:
"Is it not time to recognise that we have reached the promised land, and should seek to stay there? Why would we want to leave this place in order to explore the blackened waste of consumer frenzy followed by ecological collapse? Surely the rational policy for the governments of the rich world is now to keep growth rates as close to zero as possible?" While he does recognize that recession can cause hardship, he points out that economic growth can cause hardship as well. For example, the increase in sales of jet skis would count as economic growth, but they would also cause hardships such as water pollution and noise pollution.

Monbiot purchased a used diesel Renault Clio
Renault Clio
The Renault Clio is a supermini car produced by the French automobile manufacturer Renault. Originally launched in 1990, it is currently in its third generation...

 after moving to a small town in mid-Wales in 2007. He has travelled through Canada and the United States, campaigning on climate change and promoting his book. He contends that this travel was justifiable as it sought to boost the case for much greater carbon cuts there.

He is the patron
Patrón
Patrón is a luxury brand of tequila produced in Mexico and sold in hand-blown, individually numbered bottles.Made entirely from Blue Agave "piñas" , Patrón comes in five varieties: Silver, Añejo, Reposado, Gran Patrón Platinum and Gran Patrón Burdeos. Patrón also sells a tequila-coffee blend known...

 of the UK student campaign network People & Planet
People & Planet
People & Planet is a network of student campaign groups in the UK. It claims to be "the largest student campaigning organization in the country campaigning to alleviate world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment."-Organization:...

 and appears in the film The Age of Stupid
The Age of Stupid
The Age of Stupid is a 2009 British film by Franny Armstrong, director of McLibel and Drowned Out, and founder of 10:10, and first-time producer Lizzie Gillett...

in animated form, in which he says "The very fact that the crisis is taking place within our generation, it's happening right now, means that we are tremendously powerful people. So this position of despair and "I can't do anything" and "there's no point" is completely illogical, it's exactly the opposite".

Monbiot attended the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, was held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 7 December and 18 December. The conference included the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate...

 held in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

.

Monbiot once expressed deep antipathy to the nuclear industry. He finally rejected his later neutral position regarding nuclear power in March 2011. Although he "still loathe[s] the liars who run the nuclear industry", Monbiot now advocates its use, having been convinced of its relative safety by what he considers the limited effects of the 2011 Japan tsunami
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, or the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately east...

 on nuclear reactors in the region. Subsequently, he has harshly condemned the anti-nuclear movement, writing that it "has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health ... made [claims] ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged and wildly wrong." He singled out Helen Caldicott
Helen Caldicott
Helen Mary Caldicott is an Australian physician, author, and anti-nuclear advocate who has founded several associations dedicated to opposing the use of nuclear power, depleted uranium munitions, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons proliferation, war and military action in general. She hosts a...

 for, he wrote, making unsourced and inaccurate claims, dismissing contrary evidence as part of a cover-up, and overstating the death toll from the Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl disaster
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine , which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities in Moscow...

 by a factor of more than 140.

Debate with Ian Plimer


Monbiot harshly criticised the book Heaven and Earth
Heaven and Earth (book)
Heaven and Earth: Global Warming – The Missing Science is a popular science book published in 2009 and written by Australian geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and mining company director Ian Plimer...

by climate change skeptic Ian Plimer
Ian Plimer
Ian Rutherford Plimer is an Australian geologist, academic, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide, and a director of four mining companies...

, saying that "Since its publication in Australia it has been ridiculed for a hilarious series of schoolboy errors, and its fudging and manipulation of the data". Plimer challenged Monbiot to a public debate on the issues covered in the book. Monbiot agreed on the condition that Plimer first answer a series of written questions for publication on the website of The Guardian, so there would be a factual basis to the discussion. Plimer refused and Monbiot labeled Plimer a "grandstander" with a "broad yellow streak" who has nowhere answered the accusations of serious errors in his Heaven and Earth book, and accused him of trying to "drown out the precise refutations published by his book's reviewers". Plimer then reversed his decision, and agreed to answer written questions in return for a live debate. Monbiot's response on receiving Plimer's contribution was one of disappointment, on the grounds that Plimer's response "so far consists not of answers, but of questions addressed to me." Monbiot told Plimer that he is not qualified to answer Plimer's questions (although Gavin Schmidt
Gavin Schmidt
Gavin A. Schmidt is a climatologist and climate modeler at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. He works on the variability of the ocean circulation and climate, using general circulation models . He has also worked on ways to reconcile paleo-data with models...

 of NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 did answer them). On September 2, 2009, Monbiot published another column in The Guardian asking: "Is Ian Plimer ever going to answer my questions?" and suggested that Plimer was evading the questions by using the Chewbacca defense
Chewbacca defense
The Chewbacca defense is a legal strategy used in episode 27 of South Park, "Chef Aid", which premiered on October 7, 1998, as the fourteenth episode of the second season. The aim of the argument is deliberately to confuse the jury by making use of the fallacy known as ignoratio elenchi, or a red...

. A debate was subsequently held on 15 December, while Monbiot was in Copenhagen, on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

's Lateline
Lateline
Lateline is an Australian television news and current affairs program produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, airing weeknights at on ABC1. The program has developed a reputation for head-to-head debates on current issues and political interviews. Lateline is followed by its sister...

 programme, moderated by Tony Jones
Tony Jones (news journalist)
Anthony William Jones, known as Tony Jones, is a Walkley Award-winning Australian television journalist.-Early life:Jones attended Newington College and the University of Sydney as a resident of St Paul's College.-Career:...

.

Attempted arrest of John Bolton


Monbiot made an unsuccessful attempt to carry out a citizen's arrest
Citizen's arrest
A citizen's arrest is an arrest made by a person who is not acting as a sworn law-enforcement official. In common law jurisdictions, the practice dates back to medieval Britain and the English common law, in which sheriffs encouraged ordinary citizens to help apprehend law breakers.Despite the...

 of John Bolton
John R. Bolton
John Robert Bolton is an American lawyer and diplomat who has served in several Republican presidential administrations. He served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 on a recess appointment...

, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, when the latter attended the Hay Festival
Hay Festival
The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is an annual literature festival held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales for ten days from May to June. Devised by Norman and Peter Florence in 1988, the festival was described by Bill Clinton in 2001 as "The Woodstock of the mind"...

 to give a talk on international relations in May 2008. Monbiot argued that Bolton was one of the instigators of the Iraq War, of which Monbiot was an opponent.

Political parties


He was involved initially with the Respect
RESPECT The Unity Coalition
Respect is a socialist political party in England and Wales founded in 2004. Its name is a contrived acronym standing for Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environmentalism, Community and Trade Unionism.-Policies:...

 political party, but he broke with the organisation when it chose to run candidates against the Green Party in the 2004 election to the European Parliament.
In an interview with the British political blog Third Estate in September 2009, Monbiot expressed his support for the policies of Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

, saying "I have finally found the party that I feel very comfortable with. That’s not to say I feel uncomfortable with the Green Party, on the whole I support it, but I feel even more comfortable with Plaid.”

In April 2010, he was a signatory on an open letter of support for the Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

, published in The Guardian.

Indigenous rights


Monbiot has been associated with the cause of indigenous rights, and has sought to denounce threats to tribal people, at the face of corporate interests. He contributed to the 2009 book We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, which explores the culture of peoples around the world, portraying both its diversity and the threats it faces. Other contributors included Western writers Laurens van der Post
Laurens van der Post
Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, CBE was a 20th century Afrikaner author of many books, farmer, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Prince Charles, godfather of Prince William, educator, journalist, humanitarian, philosopher, explorer, and...

, Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist and ethnologist, and has been called, along with James George Frazer, the "father of modern anthropology"....

, and indigenous writers Davi Kopenawa Yanomami
Davi Kopenawa Yanomami
Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, name also written Davi Kobenawä Yanomamö is a shaman and Portuguese-speaking spokesperson of the Yanomami Indians in Brazil...

 and Roy Sesana
Roy Sesana
Roy Sesana is a Bushman activist who works together with the First People of the Kalahari for the rights of his tribe.-Biography:Sesana lives in New Xade in the central Kalahari and works as a traditional medicine man...

. The royalties from the sale of the book go to the indigenous rights organization Survival International
Survival International
Survival International is a human rights organisation formed in 1969 that campaigns for the rights of indigenous tribal peoples and uncontacted peoples, seeking to help them to determine their own future. Their campaigns generally focus on tribal peoples' fight to keep their ancestral lands,...

.

Published works


Monbiot's first book was Poisoned Arrows (1989), a work of investigative travel journalism exposing what he calls the "devastating effects" of the partially World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

-funded transmigration program
Transmigration program
The transmigration program was an initiative of the Dutch colonial government, and later continued by Indonesian government to move landless people from densely populated areas of Indonesia to less populous areas of the country...

 on the peoples and tribes of Papua and West Papua in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. It was followed by Amazon Watershed (1991) which documented expulsions of Brazilian peasant farmers from their land and followed them thousands of miles across the forest to the territory of the Yanomami Indians, and showed how timber sold in Britain was being stolen from indigenous and biological reserves in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. His third book, No Man's Land: An Investigative Journey Through Kenya and Tanzania (1994), documented the seizure of land and cattle from nomadic people in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 and the Tanzania, by – among other forces – game parks and safari tourism.

In 2000, he published Captive State
Captive State
Captive State is a book written by The Guardian contributor and author George Monbiot which examines the growth of corporate power in the UK and the negative impact that this has had on democracy and local communities....

: The Corporate Takeover of Britain
. The book examines the role of corporate power within the United Kingdom, on both a local and national level, and argues that corporate involvement in politics is a serious threat to democracy. Subjects discussed in the book include the building of the Skye Bridge
Skye Bridge
The Skye Bridge is a road bridge over Loch Alsh, connecting mainland Highland with the Isle of Skye, Scotland. It forms part of the A87. The bridge is located at around , with one pillar standing on the island of Eilean Bàn....

, corporate involvement in the National Health Service
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

, the role of business in university research and the conditions which influence the granting of planning permission
Planning permission
Planning permission or planning consent is the permission required in the United Kingdom in order to be allowed to build on land, or change the use of land or buildings. Within the UK the occupier of any land or building will need title to that land or building , but will also need "planning...

.

His fifth book, The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order, was published in 2003. The book is an attempt to set out a positive manifesto for change for the global justice movement
Global Justice Movement
The Global Justice Movement is a network or constellation of globalized social movements opposing what is often known as the “corporate globalization” and promoting equal distribution of economic resources.-Movement of movements:...

. Monbiot criticises anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 and Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

, arguing that any possible solution to the world's inequalities must be rooted in a democratic parliamentary system. The four main changes to global governance
Global governance
Global governance or world governance is the political interaction of transnational actors aimed at solving problems that affect more than one state or region when there is no power of enforcing compliance. The modern question of world governance exists in the context of globalization...

 which Monbiot argues for are a democratically elected world parliament
United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is a proposed addition to the United Nations System that would allow for participation of member nations' legislators and, eventually, direct election of United Nations parliament members by citizens worldwide...

 which would pass resolutions on international issues; a democratised United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 to replace the unelected UN Security Council; the proposed International Clearing Union
International Clearing Union
The International Clearing Union was one of the institutions proposed to be set up at the 1944 United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire by British economist John Maynard Keynes...

 which would automatically discharge trade deficits and prevent the accumulation of debt; and a fair trade
Fair trade
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards...

 organisation which would regulate world trade
International trade
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product...

 in a way that protects the economies of poorer countries.

The book also discusses ways in which these ideas may be put into practice. He posits that the United States and Western European states are heavily dependent on the existence of this debt, and that when faced with a choice between releasing the developing world from debt and the collapse of the global economy, their internal economic interests will dictate that they opt for the "soft landing" option. However, Monbiot emphasises that he does not present the manifesto as a "final or definitive" answer to global inequalities but intends that it should open debate and stresses that those who reject it must offer their own solutions. He argues that ultimately the global justice movement "must seek [...] to provide a coherent programme of alternatives to the concentrated power of the dictatorship of vested interests."

Monbiot's next book, Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning, published in 2006, focuses on the issue of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

. He points out that the public-opinion campaign to cast doubt on the reality of climate change is funded by fossil-fuel companies (primarily Exxon-Mobil), and traces the "network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific bodies" campaigning to discredit climate science to origins in a campaign by tobacco companies to create a facade of science to cast doubt on the link between cigarette smoking and disease. He argues that a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions is necessary in developed countries in order to prevent disastrous changes to the climate. He then sets out to demonstrate how such a reduction could be achieved within the United Kingdom, without a significant fall in living standards, through changes in housing, power supply and transport.

Honours


He has honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews and the University of Essex, and an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University.

In 1995, Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 presented him with a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement.
He has also won the Lloyds National Screenwriting Prize for his screenplay The Norwegian, a Sony Award for radio production, the Sir Peter Kent
Peter Kent
Peter Kent, PC, MP is a Conservative member of parliament for the riding of Thornhill, and the current Minister of the Environment in the 28th Canadian Ministry.Previously, he was Deputy Editor of Global Television, a Canadian TV network...

 Award and the OneWorld National Press Award. In November 2007 his book Heat was awarded the Premio Mazotti, an Italian book prize. But he was denied the money given with the prize because he refused to travel to Venice to collect it in person, arguing that it was not a good enough reason to justify flying.

Books


  • Poisoned Arrows: An Investigative Journey Through Indonesia (1989, Abacus) ISBN 0-7181-3153-3
  • Amazon Watershed (1991, Abacus) ISBN 0-7181-3428-1
  • Mahogany Is Murder: Mahogany Extraction from Indian Reserves in Brazil (1992) ISBN 1-85750-160-8
  • No Man's Land: An Investigative Journey Through Kenya and Tanzania (1994, Picador) ISBN 0-333-60163-7
  • Captive State
    Captive State
    Captive State is a book written by The Guardian contributor and author George Monbiot which examines the growth of corporate power in the UK and the negative impact that this has had on democracy and local communities....

    : The Corporate Takeover of Britain
    (2000, Macmillan) ISBN 0-333-90164-9
  • Anti-capitalism: A Guide to the Movement (2001, Bookmarks) ISBN 1-898876-78-9 contributor
  • Europe Inc.: Regional and Global Restructuring and the Rise of Corporate Power (2003, Pluto Press) foreword by George Monbiot, ISBN 0-7453-2163-1
  • The Age of Consent (2003, Flamingo) ISBN 0-00-715042-3
  • Manifesto for a New World Order (2004, The New Press
    The New Press
    The New Press is a not-for-profit, United States-based publishing house that operates in the public interest. It was established in 1990 as an alternative to large commercial publishers, and is supported financially by various foundations, groups and corporations including the Ford Foundation, the...

    ) ISBN 1-56584-908-6
  • Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning (September 2006, Allen Lane) ISBN 0-7139-9923-3 U.S. edition (April 2007,South End Press
    South End Press
    South End Press is a non-profit book publisher run on a model of participatory economics. It was founded in 1977 by Michael Albert, Lydia Sargent, John Schall, Pat Walker, Juliet Schor, Mary Lea, Joe Bowring, and Dave Millikan, among others, in Boston's South End...

    ) ISBN 978-0-89608-779-8
  • Bring on the Apocalypse: Six Arguments for Global Justice (March 2008, Atlantic Books) ISBN 978-1843546566


External links