In 1960, I became a professor at Durham University in England. I taught botany to undergraduates and led research teams at Masters, Ph.D., and postdoctoral levels. Between 1969 and 1996, I was a TV personality. The BBC, rapidly followed by ITV, gave me free rein to inform the world about botany, natural history, and the environment.
My media popularity brought me many accolades: I was only the second person to have his photo on the cover of Nature. (Beaten to this position by Charles Darwin, no less!) The caption? “Science is Fun.”
Back in those days, it was. I regularly got my research papers published in Nature, that august journal.
I also was invited to become trustee, president, vice president, or patron of over 30 organizations, including: WWF, Wildlife Trusts, YHA, Population Concern, Marine Conservation Society, Coral Cay Conservation, Galapagos Conservation Trust, Plantlife, and BTCV. I was also bestowed with media and conservation awards from around the world, including the Dutch Order of the Golden Ark, BAFTA’s Richard Dimbleby Award, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for Underwater Research.
Then the global warming rot set in.
Two media colleagues, Julian Pettifer and Robin Page, were publicly sacked by the BBC — in essence, because they could no longer be viewed as non-biased in their opinions.
I can only only assume that, to them, I also fell into that category — because from that point on my career on TV came to an abrupt end. Despite my resume of approximately 400 TV shows.
Since that time onwards, anyone who sticks their head out for the anti-wind power or anti-global warming arguments has been subject to vilification, never scientific debate.
But I am proud to carry on, sticking my head out for both.