Crispin Tickell Articles, essays, lectures and other writings
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The future

2013-08-01
Challenges to the human future: prospects and hazards - The Kennedy Lecture 2008. Delivered at the New Generation Society, York University, 31 January 2008.
2013-05-02
Vulnerable Earth: hits from space and other disasters - A lecture at the University of St Andrews, 2 May 2013.
2012-11-20
The human future - a lecture to the Areces Foundation Symposium on Lynn Margulis. Madrid, 12 / 13 November 2012.
2012-01-24
Out of the box and Into the future - A lecture to the Peterhouse Politics Society, Peterhouse College, Cambridge: 24 January 2012.
2011-09-05
Thinking differently - A lecture to the British Psychological Society conference on "Crisis and Consciousness" at St Anne's College, Oxford, 2 September 2011. "We all know how difficult it is to think differently. Partly through nature and even more through nurture, our brains work on the basis of ideas and patterns of behaviour drawn from the society in which we live. To change them is inevitably painful, and can even be antisocial. No wonder that we all suffer from the disease of what has been called conceptual sclerosis ... "
2011-07-24
The human future - a speech to the Mensa Conference on Population, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, 24 July 2011.
2011-03-13
Societal responses to the Anthropocene - published in the Theme Issue of the Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society, 13 March 2011: "The Anthropocene: a new epoch of geological time?". "The idea that humans could so transform the land surface, seas and atmosphere of the Earth to establish a new geological epoch in their own name is startling in itself, and would have amazed earlier generations. Yet, since the beginning of the industrial revolution some 250 years ago, humans have profoundly affected the Earth and all life on it. The consequences are becoming more evident every day, but in the longer term remain almost unknowable ... "
2011-03-05
Gaia or Medea? The choice is ours - a review of Here On Earth: A New Beginning by Tim Flannery: Allen Lane, 2011: 316 pp., £14.99. Published in the Financial Times, Saturday 5 March 2011.
2011-01-19
Humans: a reflection - an address to a private gathering, 19 January 2011.
2010-10-24
Natural disasters through the ages - a lecture given as part of the Mary Anning Weekend at Lyme Regis, 24 October 2010. "We tend to classify most sudden change as disastrous ... But without disasters we would not be here. The history of living organisms, so far as we know it from the fossil evidence, shows a pattern of relative evolutionary stability, punctuated by relatively sudden departures of some species and the arrivals of others. Few ecosystems or species last more than a few million years. Extinctions are an essential element in evolution."
2010-09-16
Environment, Islam and the future - lecture to the British Science Festival, Birmingham, 16 September 2010. "It may be uncomfortable for many today, but western Europe was regarded in the Islamic world as a barbaric outlier of civilization - poor, primitive, corrupt and credulous. The introduction of Islamic ideas and technology, drawing on civilization elsewhere, from Greece to China, was a propeller of the European renaissance in the 14th and 15th centuries ... "
2010-05-01
Alive: the human future - speech on the occasion of the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, 1 May 2010.
2010-04-20
Tomorrow's Kent: keeping the lights on - Speech to the Bay Trust, St Margaret's Bay, Kent, at the Pines Calyx Conference Centre, 20 April 2010.
2010-01-14
The future of cities: hazards and environmental change - the Stevenson Lecture Theatre, at the British Museum, 14 January 2010. "We all suffer from the disease of what has been called conceptual sclerosis. Little is more difficult than learning to think differently, above all when problems go to the roots of the conventional wisdom. Old ideas haunt us like ghosts. It is time now to turn to the future of our species in a world which is changing before our eyes ... "
2009-12-11
Mexico and Latin American Climate Protection Programs operated by the Climate Institute. These include the Sir Crispin Tickell Climate Observatory, the world's highest climate observatory (15,000 ft/4500 m) atop Sierra Negra in Pico de Orizaba National Park in the State of Puebla; the Tickell Observatory Education and Outreach Center in Flor del Bosque, an environmental education park in Puebla; and the Tickell Interactive Network of education and outreach centers.
2009-10-29
The theory of evolution: 150 years afterwards (extended version) - a Distinguished Lecture given by the author at the Institute for Catalan Studies, Barcelona, on 29 October 2008. "The robustness of Gaia over 3,600 million years is both impressive and reassuring. She has survived the great extinctions from outside the Earth, and the great catastrophes from within it. This has required a remarkable resilience whereby physical and biological mechanisms have adapted to new circumstances. Regarding humans, we are no more than a small, be it immodest, part of Gaia. Only in the last tick of the clock of geological time did humans make their appearance, and only in the last fraction of it did they make any impact on the Earth system as a whole ... "
2007-09-24
Vulnerable earth (2) - the Miguel Aleman Foundation Lecture by Crispin Tickell, delivered in Mexico DF, 24 September 2007.
2007-03-30
Energy challenges: the next thousand years - Dinner Keynote Speech at the Energy Challenges international conference, Seattle, 30 March 2007. "Looking forward a thousand years may be difficult, if not impossible, but at least none of us will be here to see whether any of our guesses are right or wrong. Two thousand years ago it might have been possible to guess something of the world a thousand years later; but a thousand years ago it would have been impossible to guess what the world looks like today ... "
2007-01-26
Better next time - Review of The Meaning of the 21st Century - a vital blueprint for ensuring our future, by James Martin. Published 26 January 2007 in the Times Literary Supplement.
2006-09-18
Vulnerable Earth - The Robert C. Barnard Environmental Lecture 2006. Delivered to the AAAS, Washington DC, 18 September 2006. "Our whole being is within a wafer-thin atmosphere surrounding the surface of a planet as it turns in space at exactly the right distance from the Sun for life. We are tiny parts of a system of life whose complexity passes, and always will pass, human understanding ... "
2006-01-27
Humans: past, present and future - Chancellor's Lecture at the University of Kent, Canterbury: Friday 27 January 2006.
2005-03-16
Marine futures - Address to the Foresight Marine Panel Workshop on Future Marine Risks and Opportunities. The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology, 16 March 2005. "Oceans occupy over 70 percent of the surface of the Earth, and are in many respects less understood than the surface of the Moon. They are the source of all life, and in different ways all life depends on them. They are part of the single self-regulating system, comprised of physical, chemical, biological and even human elements, which makes up the Earth we know. In the most profound sense, their health is our health ... "
2005-02-03
Sustainability, global institutions and the human prospect - address to Address to the Millichap Peace Fund Quaker Group. Hereford, 3rd February 2005. "On the one hand we have the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank which are all institutions with real mechanisms for influencing government policy ... By contrast the 200 or more environmental agreements are dispersed and poorly coordinated, with different hierarchies of reference and accountability."
2004-11-04
Environment on the edge - The UNEP / World Conservation Monitoring Centre Lecture, 4 November 2004.
2004-09-15
Earth beware: climate change, sustainability, and the human prospect - Lecture to the Department of Earth Sciences' "Earth Aware" Conference. The Open University, 15 September 2004.
2004-02-11
The future of humanity - the Bodington Lecture, University of Leeds, 11 February 2004. "There have been some 30 urban civilizations over the last few thousand years. All eventually crashed. Why? The reasons range from damage to the environmental base on which they rested to the mounting costs in human, economic and organizational terms of maintaining them: in short their complexity ... ".
2003-08-23
Imagine... - a review of The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order, by George Monbiot. Published in the Financial Times, August 23 2003. "This book is a polemic as well as a manifesto. It is an omelet of curate's eggs, some very good, some less good, all strong tasting and well presented. It should make people think; and as the author well says, if we do not like his ideas, then think of better ones. He believes that leaving things as they are is not a serious option. He makes his case."
2003-03-31
Water: the big issue for the 21st Century - a talk to the Oxford International Biomedical Centre, Magdalen College School, Oxford. 2003-03-31
2002-09-09
The future: prospects, hazards and opportunities - lecture to the BAAS Annual Conference at the University of Leicester. "Implicit in much human thinking is the idea of progress; but it is wiser to talk about continuity of change. In terms of both human society and evolution generally, there are processes of improvement and degradation, of greater and lesser complexity, of new departures and endings, none with certain directions..."
2002-00-00
Whither the future - review of "The Future of Life" by Edward O Wilson, and "Future Evolution - an illuminated history of life to come" by Peter Ward. Financial Times.
2002-00-00
Redesigning humans - review of "Redesigning humans - Choosing our Children's Genes", by Gregory Stock. "Whether the technology required is ten years or more away or will ever exist, there can be little doubt that in spite of all the hazards and complexities, it is moving in that direction. Even if it were banned in one country, it would probably be developed in another..."
2001-00-00
Human frontiers, environments and disease - review of "Human frontiers, environments and disease", by Tony McMichael. Financial Times.
2000-08-12
The future of governance - lecture delivered to Forum for the Future's "Humanity 3000" Symposium in Seattle.
2000-00-00
Visions of the 21st Century - a view to the future at the turn of the Millennium. "In so far as we can peer a hundred years ahead, we can wish our successors well, and hope that they will enjoy more of an equilibrium than is possible in our own unsustainable and crowded but creative society... I suspect that they will look back on us as a messy, short-sighted, wasteful, crude, and aggressive lot. Let us hope they are not the same."
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