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Why Harry Hart was important to us

March 11, 2011

We are sorry to hear that Harry Hart has died. He passed away at his home in Suffolk aged 80.

Harry has been a big influence on FREdome and this is why.  

As the founder of the charity Green Deserts (superseded by Global-Eco), Harry was in regular email communication with Greg Peachey, the founder of FREdome, and influenced a number of his supporters with his views on “World Recovery”. He articulated strong arguments against the accepted view of “growth” which hinges on giving more people more money to consume (and waste) more industrial and agricultural products in the face of dwindling world resources.

The following quotes are taken directly from his writings to us.

Before establishing Global Eco in the 1970’s, Harry was a cameraman who lived an excessive lifestyle. He shot 2,000 documentary and other films and travelled the world many times over.

He felt that this experience had given him a “multiple exposure” to human life. He was present at a significant event in world history – the first British atomic bomb test at Monte Bello island, northern Australia where he was exposed to nuclear radiation.

He was also behind the camera for a UK documentary feature, “One Man’s Hunger”, dir. Bill Morton 1963, on starving people in northern India. The impact was so great that Harry said after, “I could not believe that I belonged to a society that let this happen to other human beings.”

In 2007 at the age of 77, Harry wrote this:

“Having worked with famous people all my life I have no desire to be one or to be rich – that’s for others. All I hope to do is to communicate the joint understandings of so many good people as widely as possible and as quickly as possible. That means re-funding Global Eco after thirty five years of voluntary self-funding for world recovery. One never thought it would take this long.”

Shortly after this I was inspired to help Greg Peachey find a way for FREdome to help Harry Hart revive the ideas of his stalled movement Global Eco. We arranged for him to speak at the Watford Chamber of Commerce – a well connected business forum. He rose to the occasion spectacularly and kept the room hanging on his every word.

But Harry’s problem was that he was such a tremendous sceptic. He never wanted to sell out to anyone, especially corporations, and he saw a lot of bad things on the horizon. Describing himself as a “Catastrophist” He said:   

 “I see such an enormous variety of possible hazards facing us, other than those not envisaged, any of which might strike any day.” 

This made him very suspicious of people’s motives when they showed interest in his research archive – he really wanted to retain control. Harry also was a Cassandra. With the intensity of a religious zealot he predicted the financial crisis of 2008 and also a massive food crisis to come. It was easy to ignore his predictions but his fateful words no longer sound ridiculous:  there are signs that his second prediction may come true.

 Sadly for Harry, he departed this world before any of his work could be finished, but since his death we have been greatly encouraged to hear from scientific enquirers like Craig Embleton of the Green Frontier. Craig met Harry and was directly inspired by his views, and has since produced ground breaking work in the field of environmental architecture. 

We have invited Craig to join the advisory board of the OASIS Carbon Cycling solution and look forward to his contributions to our risk analysis for desert afforestation. 

Harry Hart had the eye of the natural philosopher:  he observed the world around him and applied practical talent and logical thought processes with an innate moral drive to find solutions to the problems he saw. Unlike scientists trained within a single discipline, he looked beyond the boundaries to see new patterns and truths emerging from our shrinking world.  

At last these ideas are being listened to. We have support from numerous distinguished scientists and are making headway in the real world of funding opportunities that lie within the forward-thinking elements of the EU and, perhaps, the growing scientific expertise of some Arab nations.

Our own politicians and elected government continue to ignore us  – despite FREdome’s huge reputation for helping to build the “Big Society” !  We have engaged youth, business, and diverse faith groups in a quest for mutually agreeable solutions to society’s problems – starting in our own backyard, Watford.  Our founder’s endless attempts to establish dialogue with different departments have so far been rejected, but he is keeping a close record of their responses.  

Of the media, only free spirits at the BBC have shown interest in presenting “out of the box” solutions and we kindly thank Susan Watts of Newsnight for her tribute to Harry, and a mention of our work on her blog.

Here are some media excerpts

Harry Hart on BBC Anglia
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7670636.stm

Harry featured on newsnight

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/susanwatts/2008/10/all_of_a_sudden_algae_is_every.html

A video by my husband, Sherief Hassan, showing a visit to Harry by some  children, arranged by FREdome in 2008.

 http://vimeo.com/20915250

Our deepest condolences to his family and close friends. 

Suzanne Watts

Volunteer Communications Officer of the FREdome Visionary Trust, Hertfordshire

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