George Monbiot studied zoology at Oxford, but his real education began when he travelled to Brazil in his twenties and joined the resistance movement defending the land of peasant farmers. Since then he has spent his career as a journalist and environmentalist, working with others to defend the natural world he loves. His celebrated Guardian columns are syndicated all over the world.
Monbiot is the author of the bestselling books Captive State, The Age of Consent, Bring on the Apocalypse, Heat and Feral, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. Among the many prizes he has won is the UN Global 500 award for outstanding environmental achievement, presented to him by Nelson Mandela.
George Monbiot author of Heat, answers our questions.
What inspired you to write Heat and when did you first think of it?
In May 2005, I was asked in a public meeting what this country would look like after our carbon emissions had been cut by 80%. I had no idea what the answer was, and I wanted to find out.
What changes have you made to the way you live your life since thinking about climate change?
I got rid of my car, stopped shopping at supermarkets, started buying my electricity from a "green" supplier and took on five allotments, to try to grow all my own fruit and vegetables.
How do you get around town?
What do you tend to spend your time doing when you aren't working?
Mostly growing fruit and vegetables! But also kayaking, playing ultimate frisbee and looking after my daughter, who'll be six months old when this book is published.
You have five allotments - what do you grow on them?
I have almost 40 fruit trees, most of them old apple varieties such as the Pitmaston Pineapple, Ribston Pippin, Reverend W. Wilkes, Ashmead's Kernel and Miller's Seedling, but also plums, cherries, medlars, quinces and figs. There are about 150 feet of fruit bushes, then vegetable beds where I grow beans, sweetcorn, squashes, beetroot, onions, potatoes, carrots, salsify, spinach, pak choi, mizuna, rocket, purslane, dill, coriander, basil, lettuces, radishes, Chinese mustard, broccoli, kale, landcress, tomatoes, cucumbers and lots of slugs.
Which other authors and books have influenced your writing?
My favourite authors are Tom Paine, John Clare, Jaroslav Harsek, Gogol, Balzac, John Gray, Eric Schlosser and Adam Thorpe. But aside from the technical books and reports, the biggest influences on Heat were Faust and Dr Faustus.
If there is one thing you would like people to take away from Heat what would it be?
A determination to turn climate change into this country's biggest political campaign.