The Stars

Steven Spielberg called Pete Postlethwaite "the best actor in the world", of which Postlethwaite says: "I'm sure what Spielberg actually said was, 'The thing about Pete is that he thinks he's the best actor in the world.'"

Searching for oil off the coast of America is like "being a sports star or in some kind of battle", says lifelong Shell employee Alvin DuVernay. They drill three miles down, suck up some mud and give it to paleontologist Al. He examines the microscropic fossils, "deconstructs time itself" and advises where to drill next. The best bit is when the oil starts flowing and "smells so much like money it's just beautiful".

Jeh was born into one of India's richest and most powerful business families. He believes that "everyone has a higher purpose" and that his is to "end poverty in our country in my lifetime".

23-year-old wannabe medical student Layefa Malemi wants "to live like an American" with "flashy cars and comfortable houses, drinking clean water and eating good food". But she lives in complete poverty in a tiny village in the Niger Delta, with no electricity, drinking water or toilets.

For French mountain guide Fernand Pareau it was "truly love at first sight" when he set eyes on the ancient glaciers of the Chamonix valley. He has since climbed the world-famous Mont Blanc peak more than 150 times, including "two years ago, for my 79th birthday". But over his long lifetime Fernand has seen his beloved glaciers melt by more than 150 metres.

Jamila and Adnan were only 5 and 6 when their home was destroyed by a missile on the second day of the Iraq war. They fled the house before the missile struck, but their elder brother, Malik, was badly burned and their father killed. "Our dad was the best one in all Iraq", says Adnan, "But the Americans came and killed him. We found him dead in the morning."

Windfarm developer Piers Guy doesn't see wind energy as the magic bullet that will save the world from climate change. But he does think that, especially for a windy country like England, turbines are the "foot soldiers, the pioneers" of a more intelligent energy system based on massively reducing energy use.