Conservationist, wildlife filmmaker and TV presenter
What books did you read in 2022?
Owning a kindle has happily given me access to books 24/7, despite living in the wilds of north Kenya. This year I’ve devoured everything from the mycelial masterpiece
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our World, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake that explains in exquisite detail how fungal networks connect all living things, to Mindf *ck by Christopher Wylie, an exposé on Cambridge Analytica’s morallybankrupt role in the ‘Russian’ plot to break the world.
Along the way, Tara Westover’s courageous journey, breaking out of her deeply conservative Mormon family to get Educated, opened my eyes to the widening chasm between evangelical America’s cognitive template and where we need to be in the modern world.
The Madness Of Crowds by Douglas Murray, I found to be a profoundly helpful insight on the hysteria of cancel culture, and What Is The What: The
Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, is a deeply moving collaboration between one of the ‘Lost Boys’ of Sudan and writer Dave Eggers that captures the authentic voice of a nomadic culture caught up in war and tragedy.
My favourite book of all was The Overstory by Richard Powers. It’s a novel about our relationship with trees that changes how you see the world – truly one of the greats that you dream about for months after. Next on my list is An Immense World; How Animal Senses Reveal the World Around Us by Ed Yong, that my husband has just finished and thinks is hugely important. I’ve also just bought Greta Thunberg’s The Climate Book – that already has me hooked.
What was the best box set or TV series that you watched in 2022?
We discovered the thrilling sci-fi series The Expanse earlier this year, based on the wonderful books by author James S.A. Corey. It’s set in a future where humans have colonised the Solar System to mine the asteroid belt for precious metals, and Earth is in a state of cold war with a colony on Mars.
Then one meets the Belters – a community of asteroid miners, speaking an almost incomprehensible patois, with long, thin bodies adapted for less gravity – who are fed up of being exploited by those further down the gravity well, so rebellion is brewing. Meanwhile, a new alien technology appears through a worm hole and the human race is faced with an existential crisis. Superb stuff with infinite storylines.
What was your highlight of 2022?
In March, I joined about 70 family members in Wengen, Switzerland, to scatter the ashes of a beloved matriarch, Sheena Hilleary (neé Macintosh), who died just before the Covid shutdown. She was a champion skier who competed in the 1948 winter Olympics.
As a novice on the slopes, it was one of the most exhilarating, challenging things I’ve attempted. A wonderful coming together of the clans too, after extended isolation, both enormously fortifying and nourishing of the soul.
Aspirations for 2023?
Do everything I can to heal the Planet.