Jonathon Porritt, or to give him his full moniker Sir Jonathon Espie Porritt, 2nd Baronet, CBE, is the witty, politically astute, well-read and persuasively eloquent doyen of environmental campaigners in the UK. Having him as your keynote speaker or environment and circular economy speaker gives your event authority and credibility.
Born in 1950 and educated at Eton and Magdalen College Oxford, his father Arthur took the bronze medal in the 1924 Olympic 100 metre race immortalised by the film Chariots Of Fire. Jonathon’s contribution to British national life, however, has not been a sprint but a lifetime’s committed work.
Trained as a barrister, Jonathon Porritt switched to teaching English, but his true concerns as an environmentalist soon began to take shape. In the 1970s and early 1980s he became a figure of national note, as he helped steer the emerging Ecology Party from being perceived as a cranks’ ghetto with a few hundred members to having a significant voice in UK politics with over three thousand. In 1984 he published his first book, Seeing Green: The Politics of Ecology Explained, hailed 30 years on by one reviewer as “prophetic”. A year later in 1985, the Ecology Party became the Green Party.
Jonathon Porritt’s other huge achievement was his directorship of the organisation Friends Of The Earth in Britain, between 1984 and 1990. When he stepped down, the modest organisation he had inherited boasted a quarter of a million members and had a truly global campaigning outlook.
His influence on environmental matters worldwide remains enormous. He was a significant figure at the seminal United Nations Earth Summit in Rio of 1992 where many of today’s global ecological goals and concerns were first hammered out. He remains active in issues such as sustainable development, water conservation, population control, forestry conservation and climate change/global warming, to name but a few. A respected and widely-published authority in his field, he acts as an advisor to many bodies on environmental matters – including Prince Charles.
Modest and courteous, Jonathon Porritt is an impressive figure for anyone looking for a guest environmental, climate change, sustainability or circular economy speaker.