On 22 April each year, Earth Day is an opportunity to evaluate the state of the planet. As we look for new futures beyond Covid, and as the environmental clock ticks towards midnight, we thought there was no more vital time to invite Chris Packham, one of Britain’s best, boldest and most influential broadcasting and environmental voices, to guest edit a bumper edition of the magazine. Chris doesn’t do things by half. As well as the world’s leading teenage influencer Greta Thunberg and the best spaceman of all, Professor Brian Cox, he has assembled a collection of creators, thinkers, agitators and changemakers who have lit a beacon for change. And importantly, he provides a guide for what we can all do next. It’s a magazine of hope and practical change.
- Greta Thunberg
In an exclusive interview, figurehead of the environmental movement Greta Thunberg tells The Big Issue what needs to happen next. In short: everything. She also ties the work The Big Issue does into the wider social justice movement. “The climate crisis is a social crisis,” she says. “It mostly affects people who are already the most vulnerable. So without having that in mind, without taking that into account, we won’t be able to solve the climate crisis.”
- Chris Packham vs Professor Brian Cox
Two of the great science broadcasters – one who looks up to the stars, the other who focuses on the forest floor – take in the origins of life, the importance of us being the only advanced civilisation known life in the universe, and therefore our responsibility to protect it – and how global governance is the way to save the planet. Unsurprisingly, they are thinking BIG.
- Making the most of COP26
Ahead of November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (aka COP26) in Glasgow, we bring together the youthful idealism of 15-year-old environmental activist Holly Gillibrand and Claire O’Neill – who was COP26 president until Dominic Cummings intervened last year. What are their hopes and expectations ahead of the vital global environmental conference?
- The Birdman of Exeter
Big Issue vendor Richard Todd is back to tell us about how the Self-Isolating Bird Club, set up by Chris Packham, brought solidarity, kindness and friendship during lockdown – and how he raised funds to keep feeding the birds in his hometown.
This is just a selection of features in next week’s magazine. We also celebrate the welcome vendors received when they returned to selling for the first time since Christmas, including amazing messages of support from Stormzy and Marcus Rashford!