By Sangeeta Waldron — Prince Charles and his special adviser to his International Sustainability Unit, Tony Juniper, have joined forces with Dr. Emily Shuckburgh, OBE, a leading polar scientist, to co-author Climate Change (A Ladybird Expert Book), the first in a new series aimed at adults. I interviewed Tony Juniper and Emily Shuckburgh about this book, on working with Prince Charles, 'fake news' about climate change, and about the new US President.
SW: What gave you the idea of writing a book like this?
TJ: The idea for the book came after the Prince spoke at the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris in 2015, where Sir Nicholas Soames, a close friend, suggested the Prince write a basic guide to this complex subject. The Prince discussed the idea with me and asked how can this be done? I mentioned it to my wife who suggested the Ladybird Series, and it was such a good idea. So, we explored it with Ladybird who was enthusiastic.
The Prince and I thought that we needed a professional scientist to work with us, and I knew Emily Shuckburgh. Between the three of us, we made the unique team of authors for this book.
It was important for us for the book to stand up to scrutiny. That’s why this 5,000 word-book has been peer-reviewed by the Royal Meteorological Society.
SW: How do three people write a book?
ES: We collectively decided on the key messages that we wanted to convey and then got a framework in place. It was quite obvious what areas fell into my expertise and what fell into Tony’s remit. We put a first draft together, and then from there, all three authors were heavily involved both in the text and the pictures.
TJ: We were inspired by the vintage Ladybird 1960’s pictures. The Prince also had many of his own views, which are reflected in the book. The three of us came up with an artist’s brief. The images have made the book instantly engaging: the book’s cover shows the East Sussex town of Uckfield, replicating a photograph of the devastating flooding in October 2000.
SW: Do you think this book will be a good response to ‘fake news’ about climate change? Research shows there is a lot of misinformation about this issue.
ES: One of the things that all three of us were clear about was conveying quite complex information in an easy to understand way, so that people can read the book and make up their own minds. They are not being told by somebody else and can independently draw their own conclusions, so maybe it is a response to ‘fake news’.
There is also a website where people can look at and download the actual data that is in the book. There are diagrams in the book that set out the state of the world.
SW: Are we in danger of going backwards with the climate change progress made in the last 10 years with the new US President? If you had a meeting with President Trump what would you want to tell him?
TJ & ES: (without any prompting or hesitation): Read the book!
TJ: Have a chat with some of America’s fastest-growing companies and listen less to those who have already gone out of business. Listen less to the dinosaurs and listen to those who are growing, who embracing new product lines and who are embracing new technologies. These are going to be the future of the US economy. It is not going to be coal or oil.
Photo Credit: Ladybird Books