In The Cry of the Bittern, a 30-part serial on BBC Radio 4, pollution threatens the East Anglian habitat of the bittern. The play's protagonists include two Cambridge graduates, Laura McLaren who works for the Environment Agency and Dean Finch, who works for a development company. There is also an environmental activist, Alex Sawyer and a young girl, Sophie, who suffers from a mystery illness.
The Cry of the Bittern was written by Tim Jackson Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey. In 1999, he also led the Economics Steering Group of the Sustainable Development Commission.
Quoting Jackson from a Guardian interview,
'The essence of drama really is conflict. Therefore in some ways I can explore the essence of the development-versus-environment conservation dilemma in some ways more effectively in drama and possibly reach more people than I can as a scientist ... Being able to straddle the divide between art and science gives me at least an overview of the world which prevents me falling into simplistic solutions to environmental problems and from reverting to technical formalism on the scientific side. Straddling the divide between art and science is essential to being able to come up with reasonable solutions for a development which might be humane and environmentally sustainable in the future.'