George Monbiot somehow filled in the blindspot most moderns have toward land. He's articulate and a popular author. Yet even he is not fully appreciated by his admirers, moderns who do unknowingly suffer the blindspot. However, if this video reaches tens of millions of viewers, as have other videos of his, then a critical mass may at last see the critical role of absentee ownership. And advance the reforms that will geonomize society.
Monbiot delivered the 40th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lecture on October 25th. Titled, "Private Sufficiency, Public Luxury: Land is the Key to the Transformation of Society", the talk was followed by a question period hosted by Jodie Evans and joined by Greg Watson.
As a young man George Monbiot travelled to Indonesia with the photographer Adrian Arbib. After forging a travel pass, they spent six months in West Papua. They threw ourselves into and out of trouble. At one point they had to walk and canoe for four weeks from the central highlands to the south coast. They became lost in the forest for several days and ate insects and rats to stay alive. George was stung almost to death by hornets. They also had some close brushes with the occupying Indonesian army. The story they uncovered--and their adventures along the way--are related in his first book, Poisoned Arrows, which did quite well.
Monbiot became closely involved with a peasant movement in Maranhão Brazil, which led to a beating by gunmen working with the military police. He then followed the evicted peasants across the Amazon to the gold mines of Roraima, where he saw the devastating impacts of their attempts at survival, on both the forests and the Yanomami people. Masquerading as a shipping agent, Monbiot traced mahogany being stolen from indigenous and biological reserves to Britain: in one case to the furniture restoration department at Buckingham Palace.
In the summer of 1994, while contesting the road being built through the flank of Solsbury Hill, Monbiot was hospitalised by two thugs in yellow tabards, who impaled his foot on a fencing spike. He was one of 11 people admitted to accident and emergency in the local hospital that day as a result of beatings by the security guards.
Monbiot gave a TED talk on rewilding, part of which was turned by the film makers Sustainable Human into a short video, How Wolves Change Rivers. It has been watched 40 million times on YouTube. Monbiot co-presented a short film called Nature Now with Greta Thunberg, directed by Tom Mustill. It has been watched over 60 million times on various platforms, and has won a wide range of prizes, including two Webbys.
More information on the Schumacher Center for a New Economics can be found at www.centerforneweconomics.org. If you enjoyed this free lecture titled "Private Sufficiency, Public Luxury: Land is the Key to the Transformation of Society", please consider a donation.
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JEFFERY J. SMITH published The Geonomist, which won a California GreenLight Award, has appeared in both the popular press (e.g.,TruthOut) and academic journals (e.g., USC's “Planning and Markets”), been interviewed on radio and TV, lobbied officials, testified before the Russian Duma, conducted research (e.g., for Portland's mass transit agency), and recruited activists and academics to Progress.org. A member of the International Society for Ecological Economics and of Mensa, he lives in Mexico. Jeffery formerly was Chief Editor at Progress.org.