Humans aren’t wired for connecting immediate pleasure (unprotected sex, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes) with some ethereal medium-term risk. As a result, ‘public health campaigns’ rarely work. Meanwhile, we make decisions far less based on ‘fact’ than on ’emotion’. When did you ever see a chocolate ad telling you about the ingredients? This may be why we have failed to convince public or politicians alike to take action on climate change. Hugh will discuss such issues from his personal work in the climate change field over 20 years, giving examples of what he has tried- and why most of what he has done has failed.
Hugh is ICU Professor at University College London, with a Nature papers describing the first gene for human fitness. He has been involved in environment/health issues for 20 years, and chairs the Wellcome Trust/Lancet Countdown on Climate and Health. He’s a father of two, a mountaineer and a fading ultra-marathon runner, and the author of two childrens’ books and a thriller (out Aug 2019). He also hols the world record in underwater piano playing.