Mike Berners-Lee is a university lecturer, author, leading sustainability expert and scientific advisor to companies seeking to reduce their climate footprint. In the dark year of 2020, he is more optimistic than he has been in a long time.
"The virus has shown that we can make changes to an extent that many of us thought was impossible, since we have always lived a certain way. But now we have proven that of course we can change," he said in an interview recently.
"We can decide how we live, and it can be different from how we live today. So it is an exciting time when anything is possible."
Bananas are good
As the son of two prominent British mathematicians and the brother of the man who invented the internet (yes, it's true!), his surname was already well-known in the UK. Mike became internationally renowned in his own right around 10 years ago when he published the book "How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything", which was reissued in 2020. In the book, he calculates the climate impact of everyday objects and activities - from what we eat, to Bitcoin, Twitter, email and space travel. He explains what makes the biggest difference (planes, heating, swimming pools) and what has the least impact (bananas are good).
The art of living better
The book "There Is No Planet B" (2019) can be described as a handbook on how humanity can live better on earth. It holds several surprises and differs from most books on climate change - here too there is a good deal of hope for us humans. What kind of society is required for us to achieve the goal of zero emissions? Refreshingly enough, this is not presented as a technical problem to be solved, but rather discusses the attitudes we must have to be able to reduce emissions and enable the entire global population to live decent lives.
In January, you can hear Mike Berners-Lee at SKAGEN's New Year's Conference. He will talk about the attitudes needed for us to succeed - including becoming better at working together, human rights and truthfulness.