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Climate and environment activist Greta Thunberg today visited the Natural History Museum in London where she explored its exhibition dedicated to the planetary emergency - Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It and and met the beetle which was named in her honour in 2019 - Nelloptodes gretae.
Director of the Natural History Museum Doug Gurr says: “Our mission is to create advocates for the planet, so it was an honour to welcome Greta, one of the world’s most iconic advocates, and show her the Our Broken Planet exhibition: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It.”
Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It
This free to visit display explores how humans have transformed the natural world. Through over 40 objects chosen by Museum scientists, it reveals the consequences of our actions and examines some of the solutions that could mend our broken planet. It explores themes such as the food we eat, the products we use and the energy we consume. Underpinned by our scientific research it’s also deeply rooted in the possibility of addressing our relationship with the natural world.
The display, which is open until April 2022, is part of a year-long season of activity which is aiming to kick-start a public debate with visitors to the Museum galleries and its vast global audience online about why and how our relationship with the natural world needs to change. It is supported by in-depth content on the Museum’s Anthropocene hub on the Museum’s website – which had more than 16 million visits last year – 48% of which took place outside the UK.
The Our Broken Planet digital events programme has included a range of engaging and high-profile speakers from UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Mark Carney delivering the Museum’s Annual Science Lecture to Jane Fonda, and lead convener of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines Mitzi Jonelle Tan taking part in an event, United Against the Climate Crisis, dedicated to climate activism.
The next event is Gender Equality in a Planetary Emergency with Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor of Freetown Sierra Leone, and Professor Anjali Goswami, Research Leader in Life Sciences at the Natural History Museum. Together they will discuss the need for centring gender equality in global climate responses, reflect on the progress made in COP26 and explain why elevating women's rights may be the single greatest action to tackle the planetary emergency.
The Greta Beetle
This new species of beetle was officially named in honour of Greta Thunberg in 2019. Nelloptodes gretae, which is less than 1mm long, belongs to the Ptiliidae family of beetles which includes some of the smallest insects in the world.
The beetle was first collected in samples of soil and leaf litter from Nairobi, Kenya by Dr William C. Block in the 19 60s. Dr Block’s collection was donated to the Natural History Museum, London in 1978. Dr. Michael Darby, a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum, who named the beetle, said: “I chose this name as I am immensely impressed with the work of this young campaigner and wanted to acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues.”
The beetle was found by Dr Darby whilst studying in the Natural History Museum's Spirit Collection, which houses over 22 million animal specimens.
Dr Max Barclay, Senior Curator in Charge, Coleoptera at the Natural History Museum, said: “There are likely hundreds of exciting new species still to be discovered around the world as well as in the vast collections of the Natural History Museum. The name of this beetle is particularly poignant since it is likely that undiscovered species are being lost all the time, before scientists have even named them, because of biodiversity loss - so it was appropriate to name one of the newest discoveries after someone who has worked so hard to champion the natural world and protect vulnerable species".
Natural History Media contact: Tel: 0779 969 0151 Email: email@example.com
Notes to Editors
Images available to download here.
About the Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most-visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.
It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.
The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.
The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year; our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.