Jules Pretty

Author and Professor of Environment and Society

Featured Works

New: Sea Sagas of the North published by Hawthorn Press

In the dark times, will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing, about the dark times
.” [Berthold Brecht, 1939]

Notices on books: what people say

Sea Sagas of the North: Travels and Tales at Warming Waters (2022)

“Wonderful. Such a bold and wide-sweeping work.” Julia Blackburn, author of Time Song: Searching for Doggerland

“Stunning, an exceptional text; a deep sense of place and myth.” Rachel Lichtenstein, author of Estuary, On Brick Lane, Diamond Street

“An astonishing achievement. I relished the crackle of the language, the word play, the strange music of unfamiliar words. Magnificent.” Richard Mabey

“Rare and audacious, genuinely brave. A book of sounds and rhythms that points to a new genre, a wonderful achievement and a joy to read.” Geoff Wells, Director, Rural Communities Australia

The East Country: winner of East Anglian book awards book of the year (2018)

“A literary lullaby…with whispered, timely echoes of Leopold’s land ethic” Nick Crane

“Deeply felt and open-hearted” Ken Worpole

“Mystical, a song of praise for a world that is vanishing” Astrid Ogilvie

The Edge of Extinction

“Hyper-alert to landscape and people… his writing tingles” New Scientist

“Beautifully written…a wealth of ecological and cultural wisdom emerges” Times Higher Magazine

“Offers clues for moderns about how to live the good life” Geographical Magazine

This Luminous Coast: winner of the New Angle Prize for Literature (2013), runner-up Writer’s Guild of GB non-fiction book of the year (2011)

“A vivid, loving, wise, but troubled portrait of one of the richest but least known regions of Britain” Richard Mabey

“A message in a bottle, to the future when, perhaps, the land itself to which the stories refer will be gone” Jay Griffiths

“A fine, wise book of foot-travel through the local and into the universal” Robert Macfarlane

“Beautifully written, charting identity: where we belong, how we find, create and inherit a sense of home.. nourishing and inspirational” Madeleine Bunting

My Work


Stories, sagas, place: tales of place and identity; tales of hope

Nature and health, green exercise and low carbon good life

Sustainability in agricultural and food systems

Consumption patterns, the climate crisis, the good life and well-being

Blue-green regeneration at the coast and seaside, on islands, at sea; evidence of renewal and regeneration.


I am Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex, and Director of the Centre for Public and Policy Engagement.

I am host of the podcast Louder Than Words and the film shorts series Brighter Futures.

I am President of the Essex Wildlife Trust, Fellow of WWF-UK, Chair of the External Advisory Board for the Sustainable Intensification Lab at Kansas State University, Fellow of the Evergreening Alliance.

Socials & externals

You can follow social media postings on story and sagas, climate crisis, the good life, and on nature and wellbeing @julespretty1

I am in the World Top 0.1% of Highly-Cited Authors.

I am Chair of the Essex Climate Action Commission (ECAC), and Chair of the Essex Renewal Project.

I give regular talks on the climate crisis, on hope and kindness, on stories, on the journey to zero carbon, drawing on my two most recent books, Sea Sagas of the North and The Low-Carbon Good Life

About Jules Pretty

I am based at the borders of the counties of Suffolk and Essex in eastern England, and live in the village of Nayland.

My sole-authored books include Sea Sagas of the North (2022), The East Country (2017), The Edge of Extinction (2014), This Luminous Coast (2011), The Earth Only Endures (2007), Agri-Culture (2002) and Regenerating Agriculture (1995). The Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture (2018) was co-written with Zareen Bharucha, Ecocultures (2014) co-edited with Zareen Bharucha and Steffen Bohm, and Nature and Culture (2011) co-edited with Sarah Pilgrm. One new book is forthcoming for 2023: The Low-Carbon Good Life.

I am Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, former Deputy-Chair of the government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, and served on advisory committees for BBSRC and the Royal Society.

I presented the BBC Radio 4 series Ploughing Eden, was contributor and writer for the BBC TV Correspondent programme The Magic Bean, and panellist in 2007 for Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. I am host of the podcast Louder Than Words and the film series Brighter Futures.

I received a 1997 award from the Indian Ecological Society, was appointed A D White Professor-at-Large by Cornell University (2001-07), and am Chief & Founding Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. I was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture, an honorary degree from Ohio State University in 2009, and the British Science Association Presidential Medal (Agriculture and Food) in 2015.

Get in Touch

Centre for Public and Policy Engagement & School of Life Sciences
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ

If you would like copies of papers or articles, please do send a message (using this form, DM or write directly by email), and I will send pdfs back by email.

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