Ben Okri Joins Letters to the Earth Climate Campaign

The Booker Prize winner performs his letter in a video with his family, ahead of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26). “It’s time,” he said, “to show that we human beings can be a great force for good on this planet.”
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Ben Okri, Mirabella Okri, and Charlotte Jarvis. Credit: Tania Hoser-min.

Ben Okri, Mirabella Okri, and Charlotte Jarvis. Credit: Tania Hoser-min.

Booker Prize winner Ben Okri has joined the latest campaign by Letters to the Earth, a creative project calling attention to climate and ecological issues in the world. Since 2019, people have submitted letters in support of the cause; the letters were published by HarperCollins as a book, introduced by the British actress Emma Thompson and featuring the Japanese artist Yoko Ono.

Okri’s submission is titled “The Age of Catastrophes,” and he performs it in a near four-minute video shot at Shakespeare’s Globe in London and directed by Kay Michael. Okri’s family joins him in the video. His partner Charlotte Jarvis, a professional dancer, performs an adaptation from her and Okri’s forthcoming dance-poetry performance “Starting from First Position.” Their 5-year-old daughter Mirabella also reads her own letter.

Letters to the Earth at Shakespeare’s Globe is an important part of a pivotal moment to help shake the deep sleep condition that we have about right now,” Okri said in a statement. “It is meant as a powerful cultural global awakening, of conscience and of activism. I am doing this with my family, especially with my 5-year-old daughter, because I believe we have passed a point beyond which we can no longer be silent. It’s time to rouse our spirits and to shake our hearts. Time to show that we human beings can be a great force for good on this planet.”

The Nigerian writer’s video is the second in a series of short films being released, ahead of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26), from October 31 to November 12, where the campaign will reach its peak. Other notable personalities featured in the videos include designer Dame Vivienne, actress Freya Mavor, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists SOS From the Kids, and Bevis Watts, the CEO of Triodos UK.

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All letters received will be massively distributed, performed, and read at events during the COP26 conference. Until November 12, people are invited to write and share their own letters and messages by video, on social media.

Share your “Letter to the Earth” HERE.

Emmanuel Esomnofu
Emmanuel Esomnofu is a staff writer at Open Country Mag. He is a culture journalist and has written extensively on Nigerian music and on several moving parts of popular culture. His writing appears online in Native Mag, Okay Africa, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, and elsewhere. He was published in print in The Muse, the oldest student journal in West Africa. In December 2020, he worked on "Fuji: A Opera" as a copywriter, creating informative and exciting stories from Fuji's rich history.

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