Award-winning author and activist Neil Gaiman, creator of the critically acclaimed The Sandman comic book series, also dreams of a better world. Gaiman will join The Climate Connection: Conversation for Change, a free online event on June 3 exploring the climate emergency, which will kick off the British Council’s The Climate Connection campaign.
“We will draw on our expertise in education, the arts, and cultural exchange, to support people everywhere to find innovative solutions to the biggest global emergency we face,” said British Council Interim Chief Executive Kate Ewart-Biggs in a press statement.
Neil Gaiman on climate change
Gaiman shared the event on his official Twitter account, inviting the public to join the conversation on climate change in the leadup to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which the UK is hosting in Glasgow in November.
Gaiman has been vocal in expressing his concerns about climate change throughout the years, including joining fellow artists and activists in signing an open letter last year to world leaders demanding that they take action towards the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
His first novel “Good Omens”, which he co-wrote with the late Terry Pratchett in 1990 and was adapted into a TV series that streamed on Amazon Prime Video on 2019, seemed more relevant than ever with its themes of war and climate change.
“‘The peculiarity of making Good Omens now, 30 years later… it feels more apt than it did then,’ Neil Gaiman told Mashable. ‘Somebody said to me, So what did you have to update in terms of Armageddon? And I was like, Nothing.”
The Climate Connection: Conversation for Change will feature COP26 President Alok Sharma. The guests and expert panelists include:
- Stevie Spring, Chairman of the British Council
- Ahmed Yassin, the co-founder of Banlastics Youth Initiative in Egypt, advocating environmental values and awareness around the use of plastic in Alexandria
- Alison Tickell, founder of Julie’s Bicycle, a leading organization bridging sustainability with arts and culture
- Rishika Das Roy, a British Council Future Leaders Connect alumna and current Technical Policy Consultant at Oxford Policy Management, based in India
- Christopher Graham, teacher, educator and writer, founder of ELT Footprint, a 2020 ELTon winner
The panel will be moderated by Graihagh Jackson, presenter of the BBC podcast and radio show “The Climate Question”. It will be in English, with live captions.
Sharing ideas and perspectives
Through The Climate Connection, the British Council brings together people from around the world to share their ideas and perspectives on climate change, and to look for solutions through global conversations, art and science showcases, university scholarships, funding, research, and training opportunities.
Apart from the campaign and regular programs, the British Council contributes to environmental protection and climate change solutions by exploring how they can deliver their everyday work sustainably.
‘We recognize that our activities impact the environment. We are committed to managing and minimizing that impact,” said British Council in the Philippines Country Director Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio.
“In the Philippines, we work from home as much as we can especially during this time and we travel only when it is absolutely necessary. Our examiners now facilitate IELTS speaking tests for test takers across the Philippines via video conferencing, while we also encourage taking IELTS on computer rather than IELTS on paper. At the office, we reduce our energy, water consumption and waste. When procuring, we take into account environmental and sustainability factors,” she said.
The Climate Connection campaign includes other initiatives such as:
- 17 Creative Commissions from the UK and 28 countries. These projects explore solutions to climate migration, plastic pollution, coastal erosion, deforestation, biodiversity loss, air pollution, wildfire, and melting glaciers through art, science and digital technology. The Philippines’ Komiket together with the UK’s Lakes Arts Festivals and Creative Concern was chosen for their digital comic anthology “10 years to save the world” to inspire climate change action in young people.
- Green Careers support young people to build successful careers that help the planet through advice on education opportunities and routes to green jobs. A webinar was held earlier this year featuring Newton PhD alumnus Jhud Mikhail Aberilla from the University of the Philippines Diliman. He is working on sustainable production and consumption, with a focus on developing communities.
- FameLab Climate Change Communicators is a competition and training program for early career researchers, scientists, and advocates for climate action. This will be launched in June.