November 2016 is a big month for climate change action around the world. The Paris agreement comes into full effect on 4 November – this sees 195 countries agreeing to take action to prevent the globe from warming more than 2 degrees, and to aim for 1.5 degrees. This has been ratified by 97 countries that produce over 55% of the world’s emissions. While Australia has signed the agreement, it has not yet officially ratified it. On 7 November, the next global conference of parties, COP22, begins in Marrakesh, where world leaders will negotiate the next steps.
With this on our minds, we thought we’d take a moment to look at some of the exciting ways that the arts are making a difference. On a global scale, arts organisations are tackling climate change in a number of different ways, including:
Cape Farewell, a UK-based arts organisation headed by artist David Buckland. Their activities range from expeditions to the arctic with artists like Martha Wainwright and Jarvis Cocker, to co-creating last year’s ArtCOP21 festival and the recent Milking Parlour installation in Bristol. Check out their up and coming Utopia festival in early 2017.
Image of David Buckland at Cape Farewell from Flickr.
MELD, a global organisation operating out of Greece, pairs prominent scientists with prominent artists together to work in partnerships on creating new artworks. Look out for the Climate Change Hip Hop Opera, a collaboration between scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig and Australian artist Shaun Gladwell, which is currently in development.
Climarte, Australia’s own arts and climate change organisation, recently released a book of the works in their 2015 festival. The next festival, to be held in Melbourne in April-May 2017, will be launching soon. Watch this space!
On the local scale, too, there are countless performances, installations, theatre pieces, and artworks doing exciting work in Perth.
We’ve had Aimee Smith’s Wintering showing the fragility of our arctic landscapes in 2013; Emily Parsons-Lord bringing the taste of air into the picture with Different Kinds of Air, developed for Proximity Festival 2014; and work about climate change appearing in Co3’s debut performance re:Loaded last year.
And this year right here in Perth Cultural Centre we’ve had Radical Ecologies at PICA; a climate change circus visiting from Melbourne as part of Summer Nights 2016 with Perhaps There Is Hope Yet; Grr Nights’ Illuminations with artworks powered by their audiences; and of course TANK which was part of the current August-December 2016 season.
With the ability to engage with people and culture in a way that policy cannot, there is much to be said about the power that art has to change the world.
Image of Cape Farewell from Flickr.