Climate Feedback

Getting creative about climate change

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I had the good fortune this week to take part in some very interesting – and inspiring – initiatives aimed at communicating climate change by merging science with the arts.

The first of these was Tipping Point’s Oxford Conference, which brought together an eclectic mix of over 100 social and natural scientists, authors, journalists and a wide variety of artists from ceramicists to ‘circus theatre makers’.

As someone who spends most waking hours thinking about climate change in a rational way, I found it refreshing – and fun – to come at it from a completely different angle. We had ‘show and tell’ workshops where we discussed objects relating to climate change that hold special personal significance, and ‘coaching’ sessions to think about how our own actions might make a difference. Participants became innovative in the use of improv objects – from eggs to suitcases – in putting together 2-minute productions on climate change.

The Oxford workshop is just one event hosted by TippingPoint, which aims to ‘harness the power of the imagination to help stabilise the climate’ and was originally founded by Diana Liverman, director of Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute with artist David Buckland and its current executive director Peter Gringold.

Buckland’s other brainchild is Cape Farewell, which brings together a similar – if somewhat smaller (and rather illustrious) – mix of people on an annual voyage to the Arctic. This year’s expedition will see over 40 participants – including musicians Laurie Anderson, KT Tunstall and Martha Wainwright – head to Disko Bay on the east coast of Greenland. The team sets sail on 25 September, but they had a launch event in London’s Science Museum on Tuesday evening. I caught up with Buckland and oceanographer Simon Boxall from the UK National Oceanography Centre, Southampton beforehand to get the low down on the biggest – and most ambitious – Cape Farewell trip yet. The full story is over on Nature News.

Olive Heffernan

Image: Ice Texts, 2004-2005, David Buckland

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