Philip Stott, a Lancastrian, is Emeritus Professor of Biogeography, University of London, where he taught at SOAS. He has researched on the construction of 'environmental knowledge' for over 30 years. For 18 years he was Editor of Journal of Biogeography, and his books include Global Environmental Change (with Peter Moore and Bill Chaloner), Political Ecology: Science, Myth and Power (ed. with Sean Sullivan), and Royal Siamese Maps (with Santanee Phasuk). Philip broadcasts on radio and TV, and writes for the press. He is married to the historian Anne Stott, has two children, and has a great interest in master works on paper. He has published a series of music books for children, and written a Clarinet Concerto. He blogs at Global Warming Politics.
Why do you blog? > To ensure that the mainstream media cannot exclude critical voices which deserve to be heard.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Predicting accurately the manic-depressive character of international conferences on 'global warming'.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > The death of the author, i.e. the ad hominem criticism, or praise, of things that I have never said, never done, and never believed.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Go for quality and content, avoiding personal abuse, poor spelling, poor grammar, and gratuitous obscenities.
What are you reading at the moment? > King's Counsellor. Abdication and War: The Diaries of Sir Alan Lascelles, ed. by Duff Hart-Davis, and The Innocent by Magdalen Nabb.
Who are your cultural heroes? > James Lees-Milne, for helping to preserve so many of our great houses; Carlos Kleiber, the finest conductor of his age.
What is your favourite poem? > Emily Dickinson, Poem 70, "'Arcturus' is his other name – ", c. 1859.
What is your favourite song? > If classical, Schubert, but if not: Laura Cantrell singing 'When the Roses Bloom Again' and 'Mountain Fern'.
Who is your favourite composer? > Virtually impossible to select one, but if pressed: J. S. Bach.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Nuclear energy (now strongly in favour).
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Liberty with responsibility and tolerance.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Any closed system of thought.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) - demonstrates the necessary combination of observation and imagination in forming ideas that change our paradigms.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Men are nearly always willing to believe what they wish.' (Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico)
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > A less theological approach to 'global warming' and the environment.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Rogue states.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Neither better nor worse, just different, although, taking a Benthamite, utilitarian viewpoint, the best is yet to come (not entirely coherent, I know).
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Don't let the bastards get you down (especially banks, utilities and telecom companies).
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > Yes.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Kindliness.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Treating those in a less privileged position than yourself badly.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To protect the innocent.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Ecotoffs and trustafarians.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Attending large, noisy parties with a stand-up buffet.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > You said we had to give short answers.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Ann Street, Edinburgh.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to be a prima ballerina (sex change also required, I fear).
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Orchestral conductor and composer.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > Liverpool.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > That there really is a God who would exact justice for the poor and the oppressed of this world, even if it meant me going down with the exploiters and the oppressors. I hope I would be allowed into a higher circle of Hell.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Have a nice apartment in Fitzrovia.
What animal would you most like to be? > A fox (unless Dave re-instates hunting).
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]