2009年12月25日

Conveying the campaign message

The arts and advertising can galvanise public and political will in tackling global warming.

But sheared concern for human health is a better motivator than polar bears,finds Sabjay Khanna



This August at Beijing's Temple of Earth an installation of 100 ice sculpturs of children melted in the heat.

It repressented the billion lives that will be lost in Asia because of water shortages coused by climate change.

The artwork ― commissioned by Greenpeace to launch the TckTckTck campaign for 'bold climate action' ― is one of many cultural events aiming to sway political negotiators in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Changr Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen in December.


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### DataBace ###
nature Vol.461 1019-1162 Issue no.7267 22 Octover 2009
Editorials p.1027 :"Climate of compromise"
Destination Copenhagen :「コペンハーゲン会議の行方
News p.1034 / Time running out for climate for climate talks
News Feature p.1042 / When the Ice melts
News Feature p.1048 / Counting carbon in the Amazon
Opinion p.1054 / India pushes for common responsibility ; Technological partnerships
Opinion p.1055 / China expects leadership from rich nations
Opinion p.1056 / Copenhagen needs a strong lead negotiator
; A whole solutionClever tacticsNo regrets
Books & Arts p.1058-1059 / Q&A : The science of persuasion


"Arts and cultural experiences may be the most effective and poweful ways to communicate the impacts of climate change to a significant portion of the population," says atmospheric scientist David Battisti of the University of Washington in Seattle.


Indeed, many climate campaigns are using arts approaches within a raft of other publicawareness strategies.

Artists, writers and musicians are also commenting independently on the potentially grave consequences if governments do not agree to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.


But for climate campaigners to be inflential, amid the realopolitik of governments and the din of society, their point must reach and be adopted by a wide audience.

Sperading a culture-based message is one of many tools used by the public-relations and advertising industry, which calls on decades of psychological and sociological research to understand how people's attitudes fromand change.

Historically, such efforts have been directed towards building political following or promoting governmental and business interests and products.

Today, the same techniques of persuasion could hold the key to increasing climate-change awareness and ameliorating the cognitive impact of decades of advertising.


Artists, skilled in conveying ideas through the senses, can have an influental role in shaping public opinion about climate change.

When engaging with the arts, "people expect to be in the realm of their emotions and of mystery and metaphor, and this is fertile ground for planting seeds of change", notes mezzo-soprano and theatre producer Miranda Loud, who founded the multimedia arts group Rialto Arts near Boston, Massachusetts.

Loud's award-winning production Buccaneers of Buzz highlights the devastating effects of climate change on bees.


The cross-fertilization of ideas between artists and climate scientists is being fostered by international projects auch as Cape Farewell.

Set up in 2001 by the artist David Buckland as a non-profit organization and partly funded by universities, the project runs interdisciplinary expeditions to the Arctic and South America.

Participants have included novelists Vikram Seth and Ian McEwan, as well as musicians Leslie Feist and Laurie Anderson.

The fruis of such efforts might not aways be immediate, but can reach many : for example, McEwan's next book, due out next year, will centre on climate change.


Iconic photographs of polar bears clinging to ice floes have elicited widespread public sympathy, yet few people have been moved enough to alter their behaviour to become more 'green' Environmental photographer Mattias Klum thinks that artists should do more to unfluence the public : "Art is a tool that isnt used enough to effect change, "he maintains.

During COP15, Klum will wnveil The Testament of Tebaran, a photographic exhibition that illustrates the effect of deforestation on carbon dioxide levels.


When it comes to persuasuasion, film is an effective format that can be widely distributed.

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (2006) reached an audience of millions and helped earn him a Novel peace prize.

Several documentaries released in the past year reflect oun what stand to lose through inaction on climate change.

Home (2009) , by noted aerial phtographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, evokes sadness at the gradual destrution of familiar landscapes and lifestyles.

Director Franny Armstrong's Age of Stupid (2009) examines the despondency felt by people in 2055 when they look back and wonder why their predecessors didn't protect the planet from climate change when it was still possible.


This massage of urgency is harnessed by the TckTckTck campaign, backed by organizations including Amnesty International, Oxfan, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Global Humanitarian Forum led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Time literally ticks away on the campaign's online clock as it counts down to the start of COP15.

The campaign's song, released this month, is a version of the 1987 hit 'Beds are Burning' by Australian band Midnight Oil, who have rewritten and recorded it with more than 60 artists and celebrities including Duran Duran, Lily Allen, Bob Geldof and Youssou N' Dour.

Midnight Oil's front man Peter Garrett is now Australia's environment minister.


This cultural clamour for radical action could stikk get shouted down by those who are lobbying equally vociferrously ― and with infinitely greater financial backing ― to keep the status quo.

James Hoggan, public-relations strategist and author of Climate Cover-Up (Greystone, 2009), claims that well-orchestrated, big-budget efforts have stoked unfounded controversy : "It's beyond David and Goliath," he says


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