Highlighting the need for conservation: the power of Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams - Rhino Suit- SRI - Science Communication

In early March, the 13th Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture was presented by the New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman, who spoke on the enduring and timeless nature of Adams’ work.

In his opening address, Gaiman said, “I would classify Douglas as a genius because he saw things differently and he was capable of communicating the way he saw things and once you saw things the way he saw them, it was almost impossible to see them the way you used to see them again.”

Best known for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Adams was an author, comic radio dramatist, amateur musician and conservation enthusiast. He became a founder patron of Save the Rhino International (SRI) in 1994 and was a dedicated spokesperson for SRI right up until his death at the age of 49 in 2001. Since 2003, the SRI has held the annual Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture to highlight Adams’ work and help raise money for rhino conservation projects.

The legacy of Douglas Adams is the ability to not only entrance generations with out-of-this-world stories, but also highlight the need for wildlife conservation. Something we need in a time where wildlife crime is “pervasive across the world and ultimately undermines the functioning of ecosystems that we (the human species) depend on for life”.

During the lecture, Gaiman noted that, “In Last Chance to See, [Douglas Adams] deployed both his power as a celebrity and an author to describe things happening to this planet and more specifically to some of the life forms we are in the process of rendering extinct. He got involved.”

The proceeds of the event were shared between the two charities closest to Adams’ heart – Save the Rhino, of which he was a founder patron, and the Environmental Investigation Agency.

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