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Home  >  Latest News  > Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Neurodiversity Celebration Week

This article is part of our series 'Spotlighting Diversity in Environmentalism'. In this series we'll be celebrating the days and months that raise awareness of diversity in our society, regarding race, gender, sexual orientation amongst many other examples of diversity and inclusion. Celebrating diversity in our society is so important, and we want to highlight those people who have made significant contributions to the environmental cause.

The 18th-22nd of March is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a global initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. It aims to transform how neurodivergent people are perceived and supported while also celebrating the achievements of the neurodiverse community.

Here at CN28 we want to celebrate the neurodiverse people who have made huge contributions to conservation efforts and fighting climate change around the world. This Neurodiversity Celebration Week we’re shining a light on one accomplished neurodiverse naturalist: Chris Packham.

Chris Packham has gained recognition as a naturalist, television presenter, writer, photographer, conservationist, campaigner, and filmmaker. Although he wasn’t officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome* until 2005 when he was in his 40s, Chris Packham believes his love of the natural world is fuelled by his Asperger’s as it allows him to experience nature in a way that neurotypical people do not. He has been quoted saying “I experience the world in hyper-reality. Sensory overload is a constant distraction. I’ve just been for a walk in the woods, and it was very different for me than it would be for you – the sights, the smells, the sounds.”

Chris Packham has opened up about being autistic in two documentaries. The first was in the 2017 documentary ‘Asperger’s and Me’ which was followed up by the 2023 documentary
‘Inside our Autistic Minds.’

As a naturalist, Chris Packham has had many accomplishments including being voted ‘Conservation Hero of the Year’ in 2014 by Birdwatch Magazine and in 2019 he was appointed a CBE in the New Year’s honours list for services to wildlife and nature conservation. He’s also one of the founders of Wild Justice, a not-for-profit group that takes legal challenges against the government and its agencies on behalf of wildlife in the UK.

Lastly, Chris Packham has talked openly about the positive elements of his autism diagnosis calling it a ‘’superpower’’ which allows him to focus on tasks fully until they are complete. When asked if he would cure his autism if he could be responded “If there were a cure for Asperger’s, I don’t know if I’d want it. Humanity has prospered because of people with autistic traits. Without them, we wouldn’t have put man on the Moon or be running software programs.”

Happy Neurodiversity Celebration Week!

*Note: This blog has used the term ‘Asperger’s’ as well as autism as this is how Chris Packham refers to his diagnosis however, we note that Asperger’s is no longer used as a diagnostic term for autism and is considered controversial due to the history of Hans Asperger.