Paul Haynes in conversation with James Atkins
Climate change policy is certainly an issue that receives attention – the search term generates more than half a million hits; however, a similar search for “Manchester United” generates nearly 100 million, and they are only 1 of the 92 professional football clubs in England. This statistic seems to support my prejudice that football supporters (like myself – Wolverhampton Wanderers in case you wondered) are involved with their club in ways that very few issues can match. If climate change apathy is the problem (and the blog title gives a clue about my view), the question is could we learn anything about the enthusiasm and engagement of football fans. It turns out that someone else (a Manchester United fan no less) has already thought about this and written a book about football fans, for football fans that also examines climate change policy issues. The novel, which I’m reading at the moment, is a well observed and comical story about individuals with a passion for football, and another with a passion for addressing climate change, and how they learn from each other. I caught up with the author, James Atkins, to ask him about the motives for writing his book:
Climate Change for Football Fans is an attempt to talk about climate change policy, a dull subject, in a more palatable way: a chocolate digestive in a world of Lincolns. In the last ten years working in emissions trading I have thought a lot about environmental problems and climate change and what governments and individuals can do about them. I have also written about this in articles and in my blog The Bustard. Then a friend suggested that I compile the blog entries into a book in order to expand the readership. Not wanting to repeat what had already been written I started reading around the topic.
I found that books and reports on climate change policy are an uphill struggle. Few books on climate change are readable or enjoyable, despite it being an extremely important topic. So I tried to find a way of making the book more entertaining. This was partly through putting dialogue and humour in it, and partly through introducing the loose parallel of another subject.
The book is a series of conversations between Joe, a Burnley lad who is football mad, and Professor Igor who's obsessed with climate change.