Opinion

Chris Packham: ‘We are ALL in deep, deep shit’

The television presenter and environmental activist is the guest editor of this week’s Big Issue magazine and he is asking us all to focus on the biggest issue of all: the climate crisis

Chris Packham Big Issue

Big Issue guest editor Chris Packham wants us all to act on the climate crisis. Illustration: Matthew Brazier

I love The Big Issue, always have, it’s one of the ‘brands’ that tries to keep Britain ‘great’. That’s why I’m so honoured to have been able to help shape this issue of The Big Issue to focus on the biggest issue of all. Ever.

For me, this magazine is a constant reminder that inequality, and sometimes ignorance and intolerance, remain an inescapable insult to our intelligence and our all-too-insular lives. But the reality is simple… we are ALL in deep, deep shit, and any little privilege you might find comfort in now will be gone tomorrow unless we all act to make a difference, a difference there is still time to make. Just.

The pale blue dot from NASA
Blue pale dot NASA JP-Caltech
Can you spot the pale blue dot? Photos from the Voyager 1 space probe put our place in the universe in perspective, says Chris Packham. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In 1977 Nasa launched the Voyager 1 space probe, and after speeding away from earth at 40,000 mph, on February 14 1990, from a record distance of about 3.7 billion miles, it took the photograph of our Earth – the pale blue dot. Of the frame here, which comprises of 640,000 pixels, it takes up only 0.12 of a pixel, it’s tiny, suspended in space, hanging on a sunbeam. It’s a grain of sand in the infinite universe, it’s our planet, our home, the only one we’ve got. We’re not going to find another, there is no lifeboat waiting for humanity, this is it, our grain of sand, our one and only world and it’s in trouble. Crisis.

We have become frightened of fear. But fear is an important emotion, it’s a motivator, it gets things done and we have to get things done. So please join me in being frightened of the problems we face, they are truly terrifying. But critically, as all our contributors reveal, we have real hope, for the simple reason that we have so many of the solutions at our fingertips.

We have the scientists, the politicians, the agitators to make us think, we have the artists and communicators to show us the beauty that we stand to lose and we have the youth poised to make a difference. And at their disposal the abilities to recover, repair, restore, to rebuild, rewild and reintroduce, all tried and tested and proven to make the natural world, our world, a better place. We can fix this. You can fix this. You.

And to make that easy, the magazine is full of simple steps you can take to make a difference, right here, right now. Please act. Our planet needs us and it needs you more than ever. Ever.

Also in this week’s bumper 64-page Big Issue magazine, guest-edited by Chris Packham:

  • An exclusive interview with the figurehead of the environmental movement Greta Thunberg. She tells The Big Issue what needs to happen next
  • 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 and how global governance is the way to save the planet
  • 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.

And much more!

Get your copy of The Big Issue from your local vendor in England and Wales right now. Vendors in Scotland are still unable to return to their pitches due to Covid-19 restrictions. You can still support vendors through The Big Issue Shop or subscribe to get the magazine every week. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

Support your local Big Issue vendor

If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Keir Starmer's government is bringing power to local communities. We need that in social security
keir starmer and mayors
Ruth Patrick, Hayley Bennett and John Hudson

Keir Starmer's government is bringing power to local communities. We need that in social security

Why can no government ever plan for the future?
John Bird

Why can no government ever plan for the future?

Brits are the happiest they've been in a year. Here's why
Paul McNamee

Brits are the happiest they've been in a year. Here's why

What is the meaning of home? It's complicated...
A rendering of what a converted flat could look like in the year 2049
Sonia Solicari

What is the meaning of home? It's complicated...

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know