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What if Climate Change was Purple?

Wednesday, 29 August 2019


What if Climate Change was Purple? is a new project that will bring artists and scientists together to create artworks that inspire climate action.

Delivered by charity Track Zero, with support from both Victoria University of Wellington professor James Renwick, using part of the money he received as recipient of the Prime Minister's Science Communication Prize earlier this year, and the University.

Professor Renwick, a prolific public speaker on climate change and whose research has been used to inform the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), believes crossing boundaries between science and art is vital to connecting with people to avert dangerous consequences of global warming.

He said, "Different forms of artistic expression can play a major role by telling a story that will engage people, connecting with them emotionally, giving them agency to act. The science tells us that every tenth of a degree of warming adds to the risks that undermine our way of life. One degree of warming is already giving us more intense extremes, but going beyond two degrees would bring about very damaging consequences.”

He added, “To halt the warming at no more than 1.5°C, we must act now and give it everything we’ve got. We must halve global emissions of carbon dioxide by 2030, and get to zero by 2050, but by sharing ideas, working together, and telling stories about the future we want to see, we can do it.”

Professor Grant Guilford, Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington, said, “Solving the climate crisis is the challenge of our time. Victoria University of Wellington is committed to playing its part by working to reduce emissions and become carbon-zero.” He noted, “The University is also pleased to support Professor Renwick and Track Zero to help engage with New Zealanders on climate action, to fast-forward the conversation and the race for solutions.”

Actions to remain below 1.5°C of global temperature rise requires profound cultural transformations.

Former Director of New Zealand Festival and Auckland Arts Festival, and Track Zero Board member, Carla van Zon, believes there is a tremendous knowledge and desire by artists to creatively engage with different audiences and a desire by scientists to grapple with communicating the evidence and the immensity of the problems we’re facing right now.

Van Zon said, “Every experience in the arts makes a difference in our society. A powerful way to inspire people to act on the climate crisis is by bringing artists and scientists together, outside political affiliation, and into an environment that allows them to share their knowledge and to research ideas to create new art works. The arts help to build entry points that empower people to feel they can act.”

She added, “Every tenth of a degree of warming matters. What if Climate Change was Purple? aims to add to the momentum needed to limit climate warming to below 1.5C degrees and help build resilient communities here in Aotearoa. Acting together now, we can make a big difference.”


About ‘What if Climate Change was Purple?’
For information, visit www.trackzero.nz An open call for applications to take part in the project, What if Climate Change was Purple?’ is extended to artists and scientists resident in New Zealand. Applications close Friday 4th October 2019, at 5pm.

About Track Zero
A new creative enterprise and charity, Track Zero, aims to deliver platforms, working with artists, scientists and other sectors, to inspire transformative climate change action. Our work covers: supporting artistic expression, including new work, events, forums and festivals; new collaborations between artists and scientists, think tanks, progressive business, government and communities; arts embedded in climate and social research, and; applied research.

ENDS//

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