First held in August 2019 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 1.5 Degrees Live! was a 50-hour mass reading of the most important report on climate change ever released. It was read by over 140 people from all walks of live – from politicians to sports personalities to activists. It has since been read at the Scottish Parliament in Hollyrood, and at Westminster Abbey; it is currently programmed as part of the Adelaide Fringe and formed part of the Climate Change Competition – The Grand Challenge at the Shylock Association of Theatrical University Center of Venice in October 2019.
1.5 Degrees Live! is an attempt to generate engagement and discussion around the most important document that you’ve never read.
1.5 Degrees Live! Christchurch will follow the same format, taking place over a seven-day period during January/February 2020. Timed to coincide with the 2020 Buskers Festival it will capitalise on the festival’s foot traffic and engaged public. We are looking at sites on the Gallery Forecourt.
The readings will take place in a modified open sided shipping container, and we will activate the surrounding space as a place to gather, talk and take action. The container provides space for branding and decorations, and we will make this as visually attractive and appealing as possible, including working with local artists or schools. We expect to provide space for gathering, discussion, seating and refreshments. We will be bringing a diverse range or interesting and influential speakers to the Gallery to talk during the week.
In 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change set out for the first time the pace and depth of change required in order to combat the existential crisis humankind now finds itself in. The report was quickly distilled down to one key takeaway message by the media – we have twelve years to do something. And it quickly became mired in politics and inertia.
The report states that ‘Embedded in the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees is the opportunity for intentional societal transformation.’ 1.5 Degrees Live! aims to encourage as many people as possible to engage in shaping this societal transformation through the democratisation of this report. It helps us to hold decision and policy makers to account by allowing us to say ‘We have read the science. Have you?’
We urgently need to take control of the narrative around climate change, and resist efforts to continue portraying it as a political choice. The 2018 IPCC report has largely been distilled down to one key takeaway message by the media – we have twelve years to do something. 1.5 Degrees Live brings people together to bear witness to, discuss and share this incredibly complex and important document.
We will be approaching readers from across the political and social spectrum and by activating the potential of the site for people to gather and actively participate in the event, this project will contribute to cementing the Gallery’s identity as a key public space in Ōtautahi.
We are running out of time and the city needs to get behind the public in its need and desire for change. Both CCC and its affiliated organisation ECAN agrees that this is an emergency. It is all our jobs to address this issue.
If not us, then who?
1.5 Degrees Live! was created by Katie Smith and Paddy Dunne, with a large team of volunteers. 1.5 Degrees Live! Christchurch will be managed by a team of volunteers, and draw upon the expertise of a number of key local professionals. The local organisers are Ryan Reynolds, co-founder of Gap Filler who brings a huge amount of experience in activating spaces, and David Simpson, who brings experience as a writer and communicator to the project. We’re also working with Lizzie Davidson of Brown Bread for communications, and Leon White for design. The original organisers of the project, Katie Smith and Paddy Dunne are relatives of David’s and we have full access to all their invaluable experience in running the project.