May 19, 2023
65. Ben Goldsmith on losing his daughter Iris, a desperate search for meaning and how nature saved him
Our guest for this episode is the passionate environmentalist and financier Ben Goldsmith. A leading figure in the UK’s rewilding movement, as well as a pioneer of green investment, Ben’s focus on our environmental crisis is now entwined with a deep sadness.
In July 2019 he lost, unexpectedly and tragically, his 15-year-old daughter Iris, in an accident on the family farm in Somerset. Paralysed by grief, Ben threw himself into an extraordinary search for answers, attempting to make sense of the tragedy, but also to maintain his deep bond with Iris.
In that search Ben talked to other grieving parents, leaders from a range of religions and faiths, a medium, all leading to a final, astonishing moment of revelation. The result of all this is his new book, God is an Octopus, a brilliant, compelling tribute to Iris and an examination of human nature in the context of the worst kind of crisis, and an explanation of the comfort he and his family found in nature itself. It is, I think, an important book that adds so much to this discussion around the crisis of grief.
An episode filled with emotion, sincerity and reflections on life and death that are as fascinating as they are useful. My thanks to Ben for sharing his story and I hope you find this podcast useful.
Full episode transcript available at: https://www.crisiswhatcrisis.com/podcasts/ben-goldsmith-on-losing-his-daughter-iris-a-desperate-search-for-meaning-and-how-nature-saved-him/
Ben’s Crisis Comforts:
1. Wild swimming. Anywhere I go, I love to swim in wild water. In the sea, swimming in the sea, we all love it, but swimming in rivers, ponds, I find that somehow cleanses me of emotional overload.
2. Walking in nature. I think we need this every day. If I don’t spend a little bit of time in nature, just for a few moments each day I start to feel short of something. I start to feel anxious.
3. Playing with children. Just rolling around on the floor with children and playing games and you know, just losing yourself in play with children, your own or someone else’s, I think is enormously cathartic.
Ben’s book - God Is An Octopus: https://amzn.to/3Iei6ub
Ben’s podcast - Rewilding the World with Ben Goldsmith: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rewilding-the-world-with-ben-goldsmith/id1685196752
The Iris Project - https://theirisproject.org/
Ben’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BenGoldsmith?s=20
Host – Andy Coulson
CWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane Sankey
With special thanks to Global