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The Natural History Museum today announces its range of engagement activity throughout COP26:
In Glasgow: The Museum is collaborating with The New York Times Climate Hub – a physical and virtual space where influential leaders and thinkers join forces with the wider community to debate, discuss and discover actionable climate strategies
In Glasgow: The Museum is also partnering with its Ambassador David de Rothschild and his organisation Voice for Nature to run an event space within The New York Times Climate Hub giving visitors another opportunity to connect with the Museum’s solutions-focused science and a stellar line-up of activists, explorers, artists and business leaders
Digitally: The news section of the Museum’s website will host a live blog, reporting on the key developments from COP26 as they happen with additional deep dives into some of the big issues
In London: Visitors can see the free display, Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It which explores the critical issues facing our planet and how we need to work together to shape our future.
Throughout all of this engagement, the Natural History Museum will emphasise that biodiversity loss is just as potentially catastrophic for people and the planet as climate change – and that the solutions are linked. The Museum has created the Biodiversity Trends Explorer to help negotiators at COP26 and COP15 compare the state of local ecosystem biodiversity among countries. It also lets them compare the impacts of different economic futures on nature in developed and developing countries over the coming decade
Director of the Natural History Museum Doug Gurr says: “Our mission is to create advocates for the planet whether they are policy makers or business leaders, school students or families. So, it is fantastic to be joining forces with The New York Times and Voice for Nature to engage decision makers and delegates on the ground in Glasgow with the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss - whilst also keeping our digital audiences up to speed and providing a dedicated space for these themes in London through Our Broken Planet exhibition.”
Ecologist, environmentalist, adventurer and Natural History Museum Ambassador David de Rothschild says: “When we’re willing to slow down, listen and learn, Nature reveals all. She engages our hearts, moves our emotions and inspires our spirit. She not only provides us with the questions but she also shows us the answers.
“So, it’s with this deep appreciation and mutual respect for Nature and all living systems that The Nature Bar was born as a true collaboration between the Voice for Nature Collective and the Natural History Museum.”
The New York Times Climate Hub is a nine-day physical and digital event featuring live journalism and thought leadership around action on climate change. Some of the Museum’s 300 world-leading scientists with expertise spanning biodiversity loss, deep sea biodiversity, green agriculture and sourcing the minerals and metals needed for the green economy, will be taking part in panel discussions with influential leaders and thinkers to debate, discuss and discover actionable strategies to tackle the planetary emergency. These sessions will also be live streamed on The New York Times Climate Hub digital channels – a feed of this will be broadcast for visitors to the Museum to see in the Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It display in London.
Natural History Museum Director Doug Gurr will take part in a discussion about how storytelling can help engage people with climate change. The Museum’s ambitious Urban Nature Project’s national learning programme, Explore: Urban Nature - which empowers young people to become advocates for the planet by taking action through science - will also provide an interactive workshop for teachers. They will introduce a hands-on approach to increasing teacher knowledge and confidence in the scientific background and process of urban nature research, as well as best practices in outdoor learning to support the curriculum.
The Museum is also partnering with its Ambassador David de Rothschild and his organisation Voice for Nature to run an event space within the New York Times Climate Hub from 4-7 November. The Nature Bar will give visitors to the Hub another opportunity to connect with the Museum’s solutions-focused science and provide a platform for a diverse range of high-profile speakers spanning environmental science, activism, conservation and big business. These include:
Dr Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund
Dr Sylvia Earle, marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer
Enric Sala, conservationist
Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute and author
Prof Yadvindar Malhi, Professor of Ecosystem Science and Natural History Museum Trustee
Co-Founder & CEO of Planet Will Marshall
Young environmental activists Clover Hogan and Phoebe Hanson of Force of Nature
Polar Explores Myrtle Simpson, Martin Hartley and Will Steger
Ocean Advocate and Endurance Swimmer Lewis Pugh
The panel discussions will be interspersed with quizzes and film screenings and the evening events include:
DJ, Music Producer and Environmental Toxicologist Jayda G in conversation with youth activists Daphne Frias and the Museum’s biodiversity researcher Dr Adriana De Palma - followed by a set from Jayda G
A climate quiz hosted by Stuart Murdoch, lead singer and songwriter of Belle and Sebastian and the Museum’s Dr Erica McAllister
A night of spoken word, focused on giving nature a voice - featuring author and artist Oliver Jeffers and documentary maker, indigenous rights advocate and explorer Bruce Parry.
The following scientists from the Museum will be appearing at events within the New York Times Climate Hub programme, the Nature Bar and at other COP26 events taking place in Glasgow:
Dr Anne Jungblut, microbiologist, phycologist, and polar scientist – she travels to the arctic to measure climate change through collecting tiny organisms called cyanobacteria and compares them to historic 100-year-old samples found in blue-green algae collected by the likes of Captain Scott. These British Arctic Expedition specimens are also helping her study how viruses play a key role in these extreme ecosystems. Her microbiology research is also helping to both find better ways for more sustainable agriculture using beneficial microorganisms and regeneration of legacy mine sites
Professor Andy Purvis and Dr Adriana De Palma, biodiversity researchers whose ground-breaking work is establishing land impacts on biodiversity loss around the world and predicting future losses under different scenarios
Professor Richard Herrington, Head of Earth Sciences - expert in sustainably sourcing the materials needed to transition to a green economy
Dr Adrian Glover, deep sea and polar biologist – expert in ocean biodiversity whose research includes determining the potential environmental impacts of deep-sea mining in the central Pacific Ocean and examining the impacts of climate change in the Antarctic
Dr Alexa Varah, Ecologist who is looking to agroforestry to explore how we resolve the conflict between food production, biodiversity and climate change in the face of land-use competition and a growing population
Dr Silvia Pressel, researcher helping find solutions to food security/sustainable farming – she studies plant-fungus symbioses – mutually beneficial partnerships that could reduce the need for agrochemicals - in particular chemical fertilisers
Dr Sandy Knapp, Head of Plants Division, researcher studying wild crop relatives of tomatoes and potatoes. This data allows plant breeders to find characteristics in wild plants that could help our crop species survive environmental changes and new pest epidemics
Dr Erica McAlister, Senior Curator of flies, author of the Secret Life of Flies and The Inside Out of Flies and champion of the tinier forms of life upon which this planet depends
Dr Blanca Huertas, Senior Curator and expert in butterfly taxonomy and conservation. Advocate of the importance of data in biological collections for the conservation of species and habitats. She has conducted large international initiatives in South America leading to the declaration of protected areas, training and capacity building there. Currently conducting climate change studies in tropical landscapes using museum collections
Dr Gothamie Weerakon, Senior Curator of Lichens and Slime Moulds, she travels to the Himalayan mountains and other locations across Asia to monitor how the climate is changing due to human-related activities and using lichens as bioindicators to monitor increasing high nitrogen concentration in the atmosphere.
The Museum will also be engaging its large, diverse and international audience with COP26 via its digital platforms. Cutting through all the noise, a live blog embedded in the Museum’s website Discover section will report on the key developments and include a mix of short written news reports and updates, tweets and imagery from both Museum staff and conference attendees. Whilst the team will be covering all the key scientific and political stories; they will also be exploring the more human side of the COP, including eco-anxiety, climate justice, youth protests and more.
London: Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It
This free display explores how humans have transformed the natural world. Through over 40 objects chosen by Museum scientists, we reveal the consequences of our actions and examine some of the solutions that could help 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 themes of Our Broken Planet are covered in detail on the Anthropocene section of our website and the year-long activity has included major digital events from UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Mark Carney delivering the Museum’s Annual Science Lecture to actress and activist Jane Fonda, and lead convener of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines Mitzi Jonelle Tan taking part in a Climate Activism event.
Journalists requiring a press pass access to The New York Times Climate Hub will need to apply for accreditation by Wednesday 17th October at https://climatehub.nytimes.com/mediacenter
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.
The New York Times Company is a trusted source of quality, independent journalism whose mission is to seek the truth and help people understand the world. With more than 7 million subscriptions across a diverse array of print and digital products — from news to Cooking to Games — The Times has evolved from a local and regional news leader into a diversified media company with curious readers, listeners and viewers around the globe. Follow news about the company at NYTCo.com.
At Voice for Nature Collective, we promote a more positive relationship between humanity and the natural world. We collaborate with those whose bold ideas push beyond the confines of conventional thinking to have real and measurable social, cultural and environmental impact on the planet. Our projects push beyond the traditional Nature narratives promoting and actioning positive environmental change towards global sustainability.