Francis Pryor is brilliant!

‘An Evening with Francis Pryor’, at St Peter’s Church in Ely (courtesy of Topping Booksellers). was brilliant!

Francis Pryor at St Peter's Church, Ely

Francis Pryor was funny, interesting, knowledgable, and extremely concerned about the ENVIRONMENTAL crisis. I’m shouting ‘environmental’, because current perception seems to be that the most urgent ‘crisis’ is economic, whereas it is quite obviously the environmental crisis which threatens our very existence and must be addressed above and before everything else. Yes, all of us, whatever our financial situation, are at the mercy of the environment, which we have plundered and polluted to (or perhaps beyond) its limits – NOW is the time to afford it the respect that it deserves, and that it must have, if we are to retain any hope of it continuing to support our existence.

He entertained and informed; he shared with the audience what he discovered through writing ‘The Making of the British Landscape‘, including the dangers of the short-termism which is apparently ingrained in British politics (probably any flavour of politics, for that matter). As far as British politics is concerned, five years (ie a term in Parliament) is long-term. In real life, he says, five years is short-term, 50 years is medium-term and 100 years is long-term. It is the short-termism of politicians that leads to many of the problems we experience in the world, including the environmental, social and economic issues that confront us now.

In response to a question, Francis Pryor talked about how well things work when people understand a range of disciplines, rather than being single-minded in their approach; for example, Thomas Telford, who was an architect, civil engineer, poet and stonemason, and designed over 30 bridges, including Menai Suspension Bridge, among many other achievements. It is this inter-connectedness of skills and knowledge that aids proper understanding of the way our world functions and how to work and live within its limitations, rather than constantly trying to push and push to, and beyond, the absolute limits.

As usual at a Topping event, I was so enthralled by the book and the author, that I bought the book and had it signed. I am very much look forward to reading it.

The Making of the British Landscape

If you are interested in buying a copy of the book, please go to your local independent bookseller. The Local Bookshops website can help you find your nearest independent bookshop, and book events in your area.

NB – While chatting to Robert Topping after the event, he assured us that the publisher promises a visit to Ely in 2011 by Audrey Niffenegger – author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry! Now that is something I am really looking forward to.

🙂

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