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Young People And Artists Express Their Views About Climate Change Through A Camera Lens.

‘Our Place. Our Climate. Our World: Through the Eye of the Lens’ is a nation-wide Aotearoa artist-led photographic project about climate change for young people.

Track Zero Founder, Sarah Meads said, “Artists and scientists can work together in a highly creative environment to help young people grapple with complex concepts, express their ideas and feel they can make a difference.” She added, “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to team up with major arts festivals, professional photographers, expert climate scientists, young people and their local communities to raise awareness about the urgent need to protect our environment.”

In each location, young people aged 10-14 years are taking part in workshops led by some of New Zealand’s most exciting professional photographers and top climate scientists. A selection of photographs taken by the young artists and photographers are exhibited in each festival programme and in an online exhibition on Track Zero’s website. The projects build on one another, culminating in a major, free outdoor photographic exhibition in the Greater Wellington region and a parallel online exhibition that includes work from the entire series.

Former Director of New Zealand Festival and Auckland Arts Festival, and Track Zero Board member, Dr Carla van Zon, said, “Through the eyes of young people we see the world anew, with fresh eyes and we see what is precious to them. Young people are concerned about climate change and this is a way they can express their feelings about our place and our environment.”

Track Zero has teamed up with the Festival of Colour arts and ideas festival 2021 to deliver the first project, ‘Through the Eye of the Lens – Wānaka’, with expert Earth Systems and Climate Scientist Dr Tim Naish and award-winning photographers: Auckland-based Raymond Sagapolutele and Tarras-local Camilla Rutherford. The outdoor and online photographic exhibition will launch at the Festival’s Opening Ceremony on 11 April 2021.

Climate Change Commissioner and Victoria University Professor, James Renwick, is a Science Advisor to the project and believes it is vital to support young people, who are our future leaders, to express their ideas about climate change and the future they want.

Renwick said, "The power of telling climate stories through a camera lens is that it engages our imagination and connects with people on an emotional level. We must act now and give it everything we’ve got to halt global warming at no more than 1.5C.” He added, “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. By sharing ideas, working together, and telling stories about the future we want to see, we can do it.”

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