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Sustainable September: 20 questions with… Stephen Tindale



Stephen Tindale answers 20 questions on life, sustainability and everything.

Stephen Tindale is an associate fellow at the Centre for European Reform and former executive director of Greenpeace. Tindale will be moderating Sustainable September’s Energy Debate taking place at Siemens Crystal in London on September 16. Tickets are available here.

We want the world to be as blue and green tomorrow as it was yesterday. What’s your mission?

To do all I can to help protect the climate. With uncontrolled climate change, the world will be fine – there just won’t be any humans.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A stage actor

How would your friends describe you?

Good company, loyal, willing to admit mistakes

What was your ‘road to Damascus moment’ in terms of sustainability?

I’m afraid it wasn’t that poetic – I decided to leave the Civil Service, and was offered a job by Friends of the Earth.

Who or what inspires you?

My kids. Mozart. Munros.

What really grinds your gears?

Coal. Boris. Arsenal.

Describe your perfect day.

Kids bring me breakfast in bed (yet to happen). I finish the Observer cryptic crossword (sometimes happens). We go to watch Spurs beat Arsenal at White Hart Lane (happens all the time…).

What do you see when you look out your window at home?

Harringay Green Lanes train station.

What do you like spending your money on?

Books. The theatre and concerts. Meals out. Real ale.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Lake District.

What’s your favourite book?

Howards End – Forster

What’s your favourite film?

Don’t have one. I prefer theatre.

You’re made prime minister. What’s the first thing you do?

Introduce carbon rationing for transport.

If you were stuck on a desert island, which famous person would you like to be stuck with and why?

Christine Lagarde, to learn more about why she is such a strong campaigner for action on climate change.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given? And the worst?

Best – study politics, not English

Worst – Tottenham are a good team to support – sure to win the league soon (this was in 1981 when I moved to London. Still waiting…).

What would you like to be doing five years from now?

Running UK energy policy (though I won’t be).

What’s your biggest regret?

Campaigning against nuclear power for two decades before realising that it is necessary as a low-carbon bridge technology.

What one thing would you encourage readers to do to make their life more sustainable?

Go on holiday by train.

What’s the one idea that you think could change the world for the better?

The one action that could change the world for the better would be to shut all coal power stations unless they have carbon capture and storage.  The one principle would be to accept that children are more important than adults, so the future is more important than the present. The one idea – it isn’t possible to appreciate a place properly unless you have approached it by train (or ship).

What’s your favourite quote?

 “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted” – EM Forster

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

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Photo source: Wiki commons 

Further reading:

Tickets on sale for Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Sustainable September events

Siemens Crystal to host Sustainable September Energy debate

20 questions with… Karl Harder

20 questions with… Mark Powell

20 questions with… Jeremy Leggett