19/07/20 - RADIO: The Food Programme: Food and Mood: how eating affects your mental healthOne silver lining of lockdown is that it has brought talk of mental health, particularly depression, into the general conversation. And what is becoming increasingly evident is the role that food has in warding off depression and anxiety. Professor Felice Jacka is the leading expert in the link between mental health and nutrition and is the president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. She discusses the wealth of research which demonstrates the link between diet and the growth of the hippocampus. Many people found that cooking helped boost their mood in lockdown - evident from the shortages of baking ingredients on our shelves. Writer and comedian Katy Brand tells Sheila that she finds cooking gives her a sense of control and helps alleviate stress. Kimberley Wilson is unusual among chartered psychologists because she also holds a masters degree in nutrition. When her clients come to her with depression and anxiety one of the first things she does is talk to them about what they eat. She thinks that although we have readily accepted the idea that we need to eat good food to look after other organs in our body, we are reluctant to see the connection to our brain’s health. So if food is proved to be central to improving our mental health, how come GPs are unlikely to talk to you about it? Sheila talks to Dr Rupy Aujla, from the Doctor’s Kitchen, about why good nutrition is too often overlooked in the medical profession. And Romy Gill discusses mental health struggles with fellow chefs Ellis Barrie and Anna Haugh. Chefs spend all day cooking for other people but all too often fail to feed themselves good food. In lockdown chefs have had a moment to reflect on the pressure of a professional kitchen and the impact this has on their mental health.
10/05/20- RADIO: A Point of View: On Risk(9 mins) AL Kennedy ponders why we're bad at assessing risks. "We prioritize them according to emotion and information," she says, "but our emotions cloud our judgement and our information may be patchy, absent or misleading." She argues that one risk though is incontrovertible - the risk to the planet - and we need to find a way to ensure its survival.
13/04/20 - RADIO: Start the Week - Nature worship (42 mins) On Easter Monday, Andrew Marr talks to the psychiatrist and keen gardener Sue Stuart-Smith on our love for nature. In The Well-Gardened Mind: Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World, she blends neuroscience, psychoanalysis and real-life stories. She reveals the remarkable effects that gardens and the great outdoors can have on us. William Wordsworth was the great poet of the British countryside, celebrated for his descriptions of daffodils and the passing of the river above Tintern Abbey. But in a new biography, Radical Wordsworth: The Poet Who Changed the World, Sir Jonathan Bate shows how Wordsworth also made nature something challenging and even terrifying. The poet drew on shocking revolutionary ideas from the continent, including pantheistic atheism: the worship of nature.
28/03/20 - RADIO: Ramblings - Herefordshire Interfaith Group on the Malverns (28 mins) Clare Balding walks across a section of The Malverns, from Hollybush car park towards British Camp, with members of the Herefordshire Interfaith Group. In a world that feels increasingly divided, this group draws together Muslims, Quakers, Buddhists, Bahá’ís, Methodists and more. It's a leisurely stroll, with many pauses to reflect and share readings on the themes of Pilgrimage and Nature. Note: when we walked this route, in early March 2020, it was affected by flooding in the lower lying sections. In this series, Clare has walked with people and groups of many faiths and none to discover how being in the natural world can affect our inner lives.
15/05/19 - RADIO: Costing the Earth - Eco Anxiety (30 mins) Is the future of the planet making you depressed? Do you feel paralysed, unable to imagine the happiness of future generations? As global governments fail to respond to the existential crisis of climate change it’s understandable that some people seem unable to conjure up a sense of hope, understandable that dozens of young British women have joined the Birthstrike movement, refusing to bring more children into the world. Verity Sharp meets the eco-anxious and asks if they are ill or simply more perceptive than the rest of us.
24/04/19 - RADIO: Future Proofing: The Apocalypse (45 mins) Will 21st century technology avert or accelerate the Apocalypse? Humanity has always featured stories and fears about the end of the world. But never before have we possessed such power to influence the dangers, manage the risks or cause such existential disaster. Presenters Timandra Harkness and Leo Johnson travel to NASA’s Los Angeles laboratory, and the site of the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl to understand the risks of disaster that face us in the next century. They discover how artificial intelligence might accelerate the demise of humankind, whilst also offering us a pathway to survival and redemption. And they learn how titanium wafers containing the entire library of human achievement and knowledge could safeguard our civilisation in the farthest corners of the universe.
20/09/16 - RADIO: Anatomy of Rest: The Quest for Rest (42 mins x 3) Rest sounds like a straightforward topic. We think we know what it is. Until you start to look closely and then it's not so simple. Over the last two years Claudia Hammond has been working at the Wellcome Collection in London as part of a team called Hubbub - a group including psychologists, artists, poets, neuroscientists, musicians, historians and sociologists - all coming together to examine the topic of rest. In the first of three programmes Claudia attempts to define rest. Is it the absence of work? Does it have to mean doing nothing? Claudia discusses the concept of rest with a historian, a composer, a poet and an English literature scholar.
2/09/16 - RADIO: Oliver Burkeman Is Busy: The Busyness Paradox (15 mins x 5) There's a ritual of the modern workplace - one you've heard and most likely indulged in yourself. It's the call and response we go through when you ask a workmate how they're doing: "Busy!" "So busy." "mentally busy." It is pretty obviously a boast disguised as a complaint. And our simultaneously grim and half chuckled reply comes as a kind of congratulation: "Ha, better than the opposite." When did we start doing that? As if he didn't have enough to do Oliver Burkeman explores this epidemic of busyness to reveal that it may not be what it at first seems.
27/05/15 - RADIO: Thinking Allowed: Happiness Industry; Wellness Syndrome (28 mins) The Happiness Industry: Laurie Taylor talks to Will Davies, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London, who asks why policy makers have become increasingly focused on measuring happiness. Also, 'wellness syndrome': Andre Spicer, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at City University, argues that visions of positive social change have been replaced by a focus on individual well-being. They're joined by Laura Hyman, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Portsmouth.
01/10/14 - RADIO: The Educators (8 x 30mins) Sarah Montague interviews the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education.
06/07/14 - RADIO: Sir Michael Marmot on Desert Island Discs (30 mins) Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Director of the Institute of Health Equality at University College London, Sir Michael specialises in what are known as the social determinants of health: how where we are in the wealth and status pecking order directly influences our chances of illness, disease and lifespan. Why is it, for example, that in 2014 in the same British city the average life expectancy for a man in one post code will be 82 but just a few miles away it's 54? His work has influenced politicians around the globe.
05/03/13 - RADIO: You & Yours on Parenting (55 mins) Overly-intrusive and babying parents are leaving children unable to cope with later life, according to an advisor to David Cameron. An endless treadmill of organised activities means many never learn to fend for themselves and parents' desires to see their children excel mean many are avoiding the 'difficult stuff' and failing to set limits.
What does it mean to be human?
Join celebrated anthropologist Wade Davis, the National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, who has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity”. He tracks indigenous cultures, each unique for the preservation of their customs in the face of modernization. As he investigates these people heading towards an uncertain future, Davis highlights a fundamental question: what does it mean to be human?
VIDEO: The Wayfinders of Polynesia (45 mins)
Over the past decade, many of us have been alarmed to learn of the rapidly accelerating extinction of our planet's diverse flora and fauna. But how many of us know that our human cultural diversity is also going extinct at a shocking rate? Biologists estimate that 18% of mammals and 11% of birds are threatened, while botanists anticipate a loss of 8% of flora. Meanwhile, of the 7,000 languages in the world today, fully 50% will dissapear in our lifetime.
"Cultural survival is not about preservation, sequestering indigenous peoples in enclaves like some sort of zoological specimens. Change itself does note destroy a culture. All societies are constantly evolving. Indeed a culture survives when it has enough confidence in its past and enough say in its future to maintain its spirit and essence through all the changes it will inevitably undergo. "
VIDEO: The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (1h 46mins)
The worldwide web of belief and ritual
Anthropologist Wade Davis muses on the worldwide web of belief and ritual that makes us human. He shares breathtaking photos and stories of the Elder Brothers, a group of Sierra Nevada indians whose spiritual practice holds the world in balance.