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1.5 Degrees Live! Christchurch


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.

Twitter @1point5degrees1

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?’

Why here?

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.

Christchurch, New Zealand

We are very excited to see our friends Dave and Ryan in Christchurch preparing to take on the challenge of 1.5 Degrees Live! in January 2020.

“Event organiser Davy Simpson said taking an “enormous, overwhelming” document and making it accessible was the first step in encouraging change.

GapFiller's Ryan Reynolds is working with Davy Simpson to organise the reading.
GapFiller’s Ryan Reynolds is working with Davy Simpson to organise the reading.

Having the broadest rage of personalities possible would show the “depth of public feeling” and show there “is no way of not engaging with this”, he said. Organisers were in the process of trying to fill speaking spots with well-known personalities, with two authors from the report already confirmed, he said.

Anyone wanting to sign up should do so through the 1.5 Degrees Live Christchurch Facebook page, or donate to the PledgeMe.

Simpson, who is working with Gap Filler’s Ryan Reynolds, hoped to generate a sense of ownership of the document and encourage people to learn what it said and normalise discussions around the need for social transformation.”

Here is the link to the great piece in Stuff.NZ all about them!


Concorso Cambiamenti Climatici – The Grand Challenge, Venice

1.5 Degrees Live! have been honoured in the past couple of weeks to have been included in the Concorso Cambiamenti Climatici – The Grand Challenge, organised by Bianca Nardon in Venice.

From their website (

The Shylock Association of Theatrical University Center of Venice announces the Seventh Edition of the International Communication and Creativity Competition “Climate Change – The Grand Challenge” .

The initiative aims to enhance the works and projects that propose an effective message on the topic of climate change and on the environmental and social aspects connected to it.

The competition underlines the urgency of the adaptation and mitigation actions dictated by the international scientific community and by the United Nations with the World Conference of Paris in 2015, by the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ° C – SR15 of 2018, by the consequent global appeals and from the evidence of natural phenomena detected at a global level.

Final event

On 29 November 2019 a public meeting will be held in Venice, for the presentation of the selected works, with the participation of Luca Mercalli , president of the Italian Meteorological Society and with known representatives of the cultural world, selected for their attention to the environmental theme.

The competition is sponsored by:

  • UNESCO Italian National Commission
  • Ministry of the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea
  • CMCC – Euro-Mediterranean Center on climate change
  • WWF Italy
  • Legambiente
  • ISDE Italia – Doctors for the environment

With the collaboration of:

We were honoured to be a part of this event and to have our films shown.



Report on Scottish Parliament and London Readings


On 24th and 25th September 1.5 Degrees Live! partnered with Friends of the Earth Scotland and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland to stage a 10 hour reading of the IPCC Report on Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. These dates marked the final debates, amendments and ultimately the passing of the Scottish Government’s Climate Bill. The reading was part of a 2 day presence and protest by a range of organisations against the inadequacies of the Bill.

On Wednesday 9th October 1.5 Degrees Live! planned a 10 hour mass reading at Westminster Abbey as part of Extinction Rebellion Scotland’s occupation of that space for the International Rebellion from 7th October. 


Following the success of the Fringe Festival reading we have been working to open source and share the resources of 1.5 Degrees Live!, and to see if there are opportunities to share the report and the readings with other groups and communities. We have also been following up with interviews to build a documentary and to gather a network of interested partners to build on the Fringe event.  

With Glasgow being announced as the host city of COP26 in November 2020 we are looking for opportunities to continue to share and develop the readings to engage with communities in the UK as well as in Australia, New Zealand in the build up to this huge event. We have been encouraged by the response to the Fringe event and we hope to continue into 2020 with more readings, more locations and possibly more reports including the IPBES 1 Million Species report at the 2020 Edinburgh Science Festival, a full reading of the IPCC Report on 1.5 Degrees now confirmed with Festivals Adelaide and WOMAD Adelaide as well as a possible development of the project at the National Sustainable Living Festival 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.

Scottish Parliament Climate Bill reading 24th and 25th September

Along with Friends of the Earth Scotland, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Scotish Youth Climate Strike, Extinction Rebellion Scotland and a number of grass roots activist, climate and faith organisations joined together to protest the Climate Bill which, in the words of FOE Scotland’s Caroline Rance, was ‘nowhere near what is needed to tackle the climate crisis.’ (

We had the opportunity to work with Kate at FOE Scotland to invite readers to take part as well as to make decisions about the text itself. We finally had to adjust our ideas of how the reading could take place as we would be doing the reading without our shipping container.

The Reading

Our first task was to make a 10 hour reading from the 50 hours of material we had from the Fringe. This aimed to give coverage to all the elements of the report whilst using the most reader-friendly and easily understandable elements of the document. We wanted to represent each part of the original report as much as possible and to avoid editing the text even as we selected particular sections. We knew we were presenting ‘highlights’ and as such tried to be as faithful to the overall narrative of the report as possible as described in the opening chapter

The overarching context of this report is this: human influence has become a principal agent of change on the planet, shifting the world out of the relatively stable Holocene period into a new geological era, often termed the Anthropocene. Responding to climate change in the Anthropocene will require approaches that integrate multiple levels of interconnectivity across the global community. …. (Ch 1: Framing and Context 1.1 Assessing the Knowledge Base for a 1.5 Degree Warmer World)

The Readers

By partnering with FOE Scotland we were able to benefit from their already vast network of activists, organisations and interested partners. We did not seek to invite comedians or authors as we had in the Fringe. This reading was different both in tone and in practical terms. It was a protest rather than a performance and our readers were drawn from Scottish grassroot activists, school strikers and faith groups. It was a powerful line up of readers from Buddhist nuns, Christian Ministers as well as an Arctic Ecologist and a number of activists from across Scotland and from a range of organisations.

The reading was no less compelling for not having comedians or actors although it must be said that experienced ‘performers,’ whether from the stage or the pulpit, certainly add a skill and an engaging reading style which helps with comprehension. By partnering with experienced activist networks we were able to easily find enough readers.

One challenge we had was that the staging lent itself to shorter readings. Instead of having two readers per hour we found it was best to have three or more readers. In this way we were able to engage more people who were at the protest and who wanted to be involved and also we were able to make the task of reading the document slightly easier on each incumbent.

The Staging 

On Tuesday 24th the reading took place with the reader standing between 2 speakers with no seating set out, although there is landscape seating in the parliament grounds. We staged in the open which created a powerful backdrop of the Scottish Parliament. We had the benefit of volunteers holding banners saying ‘We have read the science. Have you?’ and a range of parties engaging with media, members of the public and staff and Members of the Scottish Parliament.

When the weather forced us to move there was no seating. As such we did not effectively create the audience/reader dynamic that we had in the Fringe. The reading was open to all and passers by were more easily able to access it but generally they did not engage for as long as they did/would have if there was seating. We changed this so that on Wednesday we set up chairs to encourage people to sit and listen which improved this dynamic.

We realised the importance of creating spaces to share and discuss the material both ‘inside’ the reading and outside the reading space. We also were unable to effectively employ our graphs, posters and materials in this environment. On the upside we realised that the reading is impactful as a protest and could be done with no more than an Ipad and an umbrella and that as an open event we were able to engage people more widely then a closed container.


This event was a distinct protest reading rather than a fringe/performance reading and as such had a distinctly different feel. We certainly felt that the second day was an improvement on the first as the audience engagement was better on that day. The readers we had were varied and brought a range of ideas and passion to the event. Activists, faith leaders, scientists and politicians as well as audience members were a good blend although we missed the reading skill, at times, of performers and actors. 

The ‘We have read the science. Have you?’ was a very powerful message and banner and credit must go to Kate Whitaker for facilitating those getting made in very quick time. Partnering with FOE was a great success and it was great to be a part of the community of climate organisations and we benefited from their expertise in political engagement and technology as they helped us to livestream parts of the reading and we benefited from their social media reach and contacts. As a first attempt to open source and share the event it was a great success with excellent partners and at a very appropriate and relevant event.

International Rebellion, Westminster London Wednesday 9th October


Extinction Rebellion took to the streets of London for the second International Rebellion on Monday 7th October. As part of Extinction Rebellion Scotland’s site at Westminster Abbey, 1.5 Degrees Live! staged a one day reading at the Power In Truth site.This event was by its nature difficult to plan for, subject to change at very short notice and required a degree of flexibility that the previous readings did not.

The Reading 

We were able to use the same 10 hour reading for this as we had prepared for the Scottish Parliament event. As it transpired, due to police clearing the site, we were only able to successfully complete 6 hours or so of the reading. 

The Readers

We did pre-plan a number of readers including retired head teacher Dr Kenny Frederick, Earth Ensemble actor Tamara Payne, Extinction Rebellion founder and environmental Lawyer Farhana Yamin and author/activist/journalist George Monbiot. We also were able to engage a number of readers during the days leading up to the reading from the wider XR community including Scientists as well as activists from across the Rebellion. We estimated, following on from Scottish Parliament that we should have more readers who were asked to read less  from the report so we aimed for three readers per hour. We had lots of flexibility to allow interested people to join the reading.

As with the Fringe and the Scottish Parliament events, 1.5 benefited from our readers social media and interest in the IPCC Report and their enthusiasm for the reading. George Monbiot especially had a huge reach and as an influential and well known author his reading with us gave us great visibility.

The Staging

We set up the bibliography banner behind the reader, gave them a seat and faced that with a number of camping seats and a bench gathered from the campsite. We were able to use the Warming Stripes poster and some of the postcard posters but the space did not allow us to use the graphs and the other posters we used in August at the Fringe.

The banner was very engaging and many people came to talk to us about it. It attracted activists, engaged members of the public and created a focus point for the reading and helped us to stand out in, at times, very challenging circumstances!


The nature of the Rebellion meant that we were surrounded by hundreds of people and the site was incredibly dynamic. We shared our space with at varying times; a low flying police helicopter, a street preacher armed with a louder PA than we had, over 100 nursing mothers on a nursing action and all of the hubbub and noise of central Westminster and a climate camp. It was an extraordinary space to read the IPCC Report in and we were very grateful to have the opportunity to read it in the heart of the British Government and establishment.

Our event reached maximum engagement when George Monbiot read with us and this was live streamed and recorded for our own documentary resources. George was very engaging and drew a large crowd. Not long after the Metropolitan Police Force began to clear the entirety of our site and as such our reading was broken up before completion and we were forced to cancel a number or arranged readers who would have been excellent. We knew, as did everyone involved in the event, that this was a possibility. 


This reading was interesting in that it was a part of a very large, dynamic and varied protest that represented, we felt, something of the ‘intentional societal transformation,’ asked for in the IPCC report. We also got to engage with a number of influential readers as well as a number of parties who have expressed interest in further developing the project. It did not carry the message outside of the ‘bubble,’ of climate activism that we inhabit so in that sense it was not as successful as the Fringe event which reached far wider. However, it played an important role in helping activists engage with the science at the core of the movement. One reader suggested that everyone listening should make notes of key facts to share when having conversations about climate change.


On reflection, it would have been better to invite high-profile readers to come earlier in the day to ensure we heard from as many people as possible before the police cleared the site. The attendance of high-profile people increased the number of listeners significantly so had a clear advantage in ensuring the message was heard.


On Friday 11th October we took part in the Tell The Truth action at the BBC office in Central London. During the day long event, there was an opportunity for ‘testimonies’ where members of the crowd were invited to take the microphone and share a little of their experience or passion or creativity with the crowd. We took it as an opportunity to read a selection of key quotes from the IPCC Report to try to complete the reading in a small sense that had been so disrupted earlier that week.

Learning from both events

  • More effort needs to be made to help people engage with the reading in an open space than an enclosed one. Providing seating was essential in defining a space in which people listened rather than having their own conversations.
  • A decent sound system was essential to compete with the noise of the outdoors.
  • The banner again drew a lot of attention and was a great conversation starter.
  • Most environmental activists have not read the report but many really valued the opportunity to engage with it when presented to them. The learning involved in these events was in strengthening activists’ knowledge and confidence in the science.
  • Live streaming was effective and simple way of increasing the reach of the report, though it is hard to know whether people absorbed the content this way.
  • The 10 hour version was pretty effective and removed the possibility of people dropping in to a bit which was unintelligible.
  • Inviting readers with public performance skills is very beneficial for audience comprehension.


Report on Edinburgh Festival Fringe

1.5 Degrees Live! @ Edinburgh Festival Fringe


“Hearing this report will change your world. There is hope if we act.” (Dr Naomi Wolf, author) 


What we planned:

1.5 Degrees Live! was born of a fear that the people in power were not listening to the science of climate change. In the face of government inaction: we wanted to get to grips with the science and the scientific and policy recommendations as ordinary people; we wanted to create a big conversation as a community about what we need to do; and we wanted to shine a spotlight on the importance of the 1.5°C target. We also wanted to do these things in a creative context, one in which a reading of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 Degrees Global Warming would be a challenging and unique experience.

Each August, our home town of Edinburgh hosts the biggest arts festival in the world. It is both the most environmentally damaging and creatively optimistic event in Edinburgh. We planned to use the media attention on the arts to create an event in which the people of the Festival and the public could engage with the science of the IPCC. We hoped that the uniqueness of the event would give us the opportunity to talk to people about the importance of the report. The report tells us that pathways to a future below 1.5 degrees global warming require ‘intentional societal transformation’ (IPCC SR15, Section 1.4.3) and we wanted the public and the creative people of the world to join us in  conversation about what that transformation could look like.

We are two ordinary people living in Scotland working in small charities. We have no previous experience of performance, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (other than in the audience), events or science communication. In April, we halved our work commitments and income to allow us to make this event possible. We found some extremely helpful volunteers to pull together the cheapest event possible whilst aiming for the highest levels of understanding and engagement we could. We spent 8 months getting our heads around the report and formatting it for reading aloud until we were able to talk confidently about the report to audiences and the media. 

“Your project has been on my mind as one of the most engaging in Edinburgh.” (Christie Anthoney, CEO Festivals Adelaide)

 What we did:

1.5 Degrees Live! was a 50 hour reading of the full 2018 IPCC Special Report on 1.5 degrees of Global Warming. It was read by 141 performers, authors, directors, acrobats, scientists, politicians, comedians, and members of the public for 20-30 minutes each. Spread over 5 days we gave each person the opportunity to share what climate change meant to them as well as some time for discussion amongst the audience.

1point5Jay Lafferty.jpg

The event was staged in a shipping container (which we named CO2ntainer), as part of the Greenside Infirmary Street venue. We decorated it with quotes and graphs from the report. Outside, we created a garden with resources and a conversation space for people to talk about their experience of the report and their thoughts around the climate. On the side of the container, we hung an 8ftx20ft banner showing the entire bibliography of the report to help convey to people the depth of the scientific research. From a distance, subtle colour changes in the text spell out 1.5°C ACT NOW.

We were committed to changing as little of the report as possible. Following a trial reading, we decided on 3 key modifications to allow the report to be read aloud:

  • In-text scientific references and bracketed references to other chapters were removed to enable smooth reading.
  • Acronyms were replaced with the full form, so that people could more easily grasp the meaning.
  • Before each section we added some context – making it clear to everyone that these were our own words not the IPCC’s. We used these sections to explain simply what people were about to hear and what its place was within the report. 

Making these changes took a team of 9 people approximately 400 hours.


Graphics from the report were displayed on the walls, and all figures were printed for audiences to examine as they wished

“By far the most important thing I’ve done this fringe.” (Sukh Ojla, Comedian)

The numbers:

  • 678,750 twitter followers (of our readers) who had the potential to engage with this event on social media
  • 231,591 words 
  • 1567 hours of volunteering
  • 1064 pages of the reading document
  • 375 audience members approx (of 500 total capacity) 
  • 141 readers, of whom 43 male 67 female, 2 non-binary
  • 50 hours of reading
  • 21 volunteers
  • 17 comedians
  • 9 theatre companies, producers or directors
  • 5 young school strike activists 
  • At least 5 national printed newspaper appearances
  • 5 days 
  • 5 scientists working in climate or carbon fields
  • 3 International Book Festival Authors 
  • 3 national radio news appearances
  • 3 members of the Scottish Parliament 
  • 3 Executives or Deputy Chief Executives of significant international festivals
  • 2 acrobats 
  • 1 poet
  • 1 vicar
  • 1 baby 
  • 1 puppet theatre company
  • 1 dog
  • 1 20ft by 8ft banner 
  • 1 national TV appearance

Funding the event:

Money in:

    • Crowdfunder from friends and family – £1641
    • Ticket sales and donations – £1090
    • Printing and PR donation from Extinction Rebellion Scotland – £920
    • Printing from Friends of the Earth – £40
  • TOTAL = £3691

Money out:

    • Fringe registration – £393.60
    • Venue registration and associated costs – £1582
    • PR – £500
    • Printing – £478.80
    • Small expenses (power chords, volunteer lunches, etc.) – £175
    • Insurance – £225
    • Removal van for set up and pack down – £137
  • PAT testing – £50
    • Website and technical support to share documents, photos and videos from the event for others to replicate – TBC
  • TOTAL = £3541.40 + website and tech costs

All our spending was up-front which required fundraising and the support of Extinction Rebellion and Friends of the Earth. We are a non-profit event. Our surplus will be returned to charity.


    • Formatting and understanding the text – approx 400 hours 
    • Organising the venue, publicity and readers – approx 720 hours (lost income of 18 weeks’ work)
    • Developing graphics, banners, posters and logos – approximately 75 hours
    • Setting up and packing down: 9 people for 8 hours – 72 hours
    • Running the event: 4 people for 60 hours – 240 hours
    • Filming, editing & photography, before, during and after the event – 60 hours
  • TOTAL TIME = 1567 hours
  • Donation of a space from Greenside Venues, where two other organisations had quoted us £4000.
  • Tablet computers, furniture, decorations etc. borrowed.

Jay Lafferty reading in the CO2ntainer, looking for the correct graph

Key quotes were designed by Jo Schaab and displayed around the venue

Key themes from the week:


Understanding and democratising the science – We were extremely pleased that many people found the report much more accessible than they expected. Some people told us that they would go and read some of the report following their experience of hearing it. Involving scientists, professional actors, performers and storytellers was a real advantage in the presentation of the report and we were lucky to have many readers who really supported audiences to understand the content. We were able to create a supportive space. Many people commented on the empowering feeling of working together to understand and come to terms with the content.

Reading this, it feels a bit like storytelling. It feels like a really important story, and even though there are numbers and statistics, the listening in the room means that this is a shared experience and it is an experience that needs to be shared wider than this building because the decisions that we’re going to make now are going to make all the difference.             (Paul Levy, magazine editor)

This whole thing – look at how much research has gone into this. It’s incredible. And it is the most important thing on the planet right now that we need to be discussing and we’re not discussing it enough. So if it must be big words and not being able to pronounce them then I think we need to embrace that head on.  (Jamie Firth, comedian)

It was an amazing experience. I was really excited about the idea of democratising this report and reading it in front of people who, you know that might not be their vernacular or … way of reading. It’s a very heavy document, and sometimes difficult to get through, but the fact that we were all there together meant that it was very… empowering as well. (Harry Clayton-Wright, actor)

If you have space in your EdFringe calendar head to @Greenside to sit, discuss, demystify, and comfort one another as @1point5degrees1 enlists artists across the fringe to make the IPCC report accessible & digestible. (Iskandar Sharazuddin, writer, actor and director)

“This is how you communicate with people when governments and the media let you down.” (Lorna Slater, Member of the Scottish Parliament, quoted in The National newspaper)

Reaching out – Organising an unusual event at the Edinburgh Fringe also enabled us to be interviewed on national breakfast news (BBC Radio Scotland) and national radio (TALK Radio), local radio (Forth Radio), appear in national TV news (BBC Scotland), as well as appearing in 3 national newspapers at least 4 times plus online publications and blogs. The message we shared was of the IPCC’s emphasis on ‘rapid and unprecedented social transformation’ (IPCC SR15 Section 1.7) and the need for people to demand change from their leaders in every sphere. We wanted the event to be accessible to as wide a range of people and communities as possible. To this end we were very happy to have 6 hours of BSL Interpretation available on one of the days of the event.

Greens gear up for Fringe climate show … Katie Smith, one of the organisers of the event, said: “We are bringing the IPCC report to the Fringe because it challenges us to take on ‘rapid and unprecedented societal transformation’ by 2030 in the face of ‘an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet.’ This is too big to leave to government and corporations. This is something for every single one of us to have our say in.” (The National, 14th August)

Performers to read climate report  A UN special report of the impacts of global warming will be read aloud this week as part of efforts to increase public engagement… “We really want the public to be engaging with this report and understanding what it means and talking about it,” said one of the event organisers, Katie Smith, speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme. “We need to make some vast changes to the way we live.”           (The Scotsman, 13th August)


Going to the source – The event empowered ordinary people to engage with the science of the IPCC in a way which was not mediated by journalism or politicians. Most people were familiar with the idea of “12 years to save the world” but were unaware of the consequences, the temperature thresholds, the solutions or the importance of considering our options in combination with poverty reduction and sustainable development strategies. People left with a deeper understanding of the content and comprehensiveness of the report, despite joining us for a short section. The conversations we created around the show, and the graphics and quotes on display, gave people a broader idea of the report. Many people commented that they would never have sat down to read the report but that they were happy to have participated in the event. Of our 141 readers and 350 audience members, only around 15 had read any of the report prior to the event. 

Sitting in that small space, listening to how devastating the effect of climate change is on our world now and how increasingly devastating it’s going to become, is quite a… it’s a strong experience. It’s quite harrowing. But it’s also quite unifying to be in there with other people, and to be able to break out of the report and just go “Hey, did anyone else just hear that? What did you feel about that? What does that mean?” You can question it, discuss it. It’s a really valuable experience. (Kyra Pollitt, BSL interpreter)

I’m an environmental campaigner and I’ve just been reading from one of the chapters in the IPCC report. It meant an awful lot to me because I’m someone who is involved in climate activism pretty much every day and yet I actually never read that report myself. And it sets out so clearly the challenges we face but it also gives us the solutions.     (John Hardy, Green party activist)

“It was so good coming to the show. The conversations we’ve had at home about climate change in the evenings since have been amazing.”     (Issy, audience member)

The role of performance in creating emotional connections to the science – Many conversations were had around our event in relation to the role of artists of all kinds in creating emotional connections to the scientific content, as well as in re-imagining our future. We had a number of readers who had themselves created comedy or theatre around the themes of the report and people suggested that more work was needed in this area. Many people commented on how the storytelling nature of the show and the people reading and listening helped create an emotional connection to the science which might otherwise be lacking.


It’s been quite an emotional experience, more than I was expecting, to actually say out loud some of the things that the report has to say. It’s hard hearing the truth out loud and I think it’s hard to listen to it and not take action. So I really hope that more and more people will be exposed to this and really think about it. I think there’s great work being done here.   (Shelley Connon, Physiotherapist)

It was a sobering and very moving experience, actually, and a very intimate experience as well, that really drove home the need to campaign – for our local governments, for our national governments, or to make changes at the tiniest level. But also to stop getting distracted by the plastic straws campaign and start lobbying for real change. (Sukh Olja, comedian)

@1point5degrees1 has definitely inspired and spurred me on to create more art and action to tackle climate change and bring awareness to the issue! (Beth Pollard, audience member)


“This report changed my life” Many of the people who participated in the readings shared how the IPCC report had changed their lives when it came out – either through the joy and hope of the world finally taking notice, or the devastation of realising how bad things had become. People shared their stories of career changes and radical lifestyle changes, school striking and non-violent direct action arrests. The reading this week sparked tears, anger, hope and a desire for further action. It has helped the people who value this report so highly to share with others why it is so important. 

I’m here today to be part of this wonderful event, looking at the most important, I think, scientific report in our history, on 1.5 degrees. Looking at just how important it is that we limit global temperatures to just 1.5 degrees of warming and avoid the impacts that come above that for ecosystems, for the food we eat, for our very lives. (Professor Dave Reay, Climate Scientist and 1.5 Degrees Live! reader)

1point5Bec Hill 2.jpg

Bec Hill reads on Monday evening

Future plans:


We are extremely keen to continue to develop engagement with the IPCC report in the run up to the COP26 international climate talks in Glasgow next year.

Spreading the word: We have created a series of documents and graphics for the IPCC report which we want to make freely available to anyone who wants to use them. 

We are already in conversation with Festivals Adelaide, Edinburgh Science Festival, community activists in Christchurch NZ, Extinction Rebellion UK, and environmental lawyers in Montana USA about repeating the event. We hope to make 1.5 Degrees Live! something that people can repeat everywhere around the English speaking world (and ideally further should translation become possible). 

Your project has been on my mind as one of the most engaging in Edinburgh. I think it’s absolutely brilliant that you’ve so cleverly worked a way to connect people to the very important IPCC report….  I’m up for trialing an international version directly.

  (Christie Anthoney, CEO Festivals Adelaide)

We are looking for funding to allow us to develop the website, add to the resources, seek out other potential performers, cultivate relationships and provide support in repeating this event worldwide during this crucial few months/years for action.


Art supporting science: Many of the people who participated in the event approached us about the possibility of artists and authors taking sections of the report as the basis for art works, or of communicating the content in a way which is accessible to different groups of people. We would like to develop this area and work to encourage an artistic response to help people understand and connect to the work of the IPCC as well as in envisioning a positive future in which ‘transformative change’ has happened.

We are looking for financial support to develop these connections and prompt responses to the report across a wide variety of literary and performance art forms in order to broaden and enrich access to the report and help people connect emotionally and communally to the scientific content.

Documentary: We have a vast amount of film footage of readers and participants talking about their experiences of reading the IPCC report and we are keen to develop this into a documentary in order to help other people repeat the event and to spread it to a different audience. We are working on a trailer for funding applications for this project.

IPBES: We are keen to also develop people’s understanding of the recent International Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report in order to democratise the science around the other pillar of our current crisis – biodiversity loss. We would love to develop all of the above themes in relation to the IPBES report and will be seeking financial support to allow us to allocate time and resources to this. (Sadly UN funding is not available to us).

Congratulations on a very successful and engaging event. We were able to keep an eye on 1.5 Degrees Live! via social media and this is absolutely a much needed space which you and your collective are helping to fill, and in such a wonderfully creative way. 

We would also love to further explore the possibility of a similar reading for IPBES.

(Patrick Tonissen, communications officer IPBES)

Watch this space… or contact us to collaborate! 

“Intimate, salutary, devastating, galvanising.”

(Dr Kyra Pollitt, BSL interpreter)

School striker Kenneth with the complete, shipping container-sized bibliography

The official 1.5 Degrees Live! Edinburgh Festival Fringe Poster. Artwork by Naomi Scott


This event would not have been possible without Katie Smith, Fiona Whyte, Jo Schaab, Naomi Scott, Kat Kane and Patrick Dunne. 

Judith Chivers, Mim Black, Jim Walker, Iain Thom, Liam Withnail, Darren, Tara and Callum, Alice Boyd, Kate Amann, Kate Whitaker, Matt Toynbee, Mary Smith, Will George, Aurelie Tartaud, Joanna O’Loan, Jaime Robertson, Maxine O’Neil, Ali Jeffrey-Thom, Ann Simpson, Sha Heiyantuduwa, Allen Simpson, Anita Oberstar, Spela Oberstar, Helga Schram, Justin Kenrick, Leslie Hill, Lauren Keating, John Simpson, Sylvia Simpson, Ariella Simpson, Ewan Hastings, Jan Mauritz, Nicole Mathie, Lauren Kelly, Josephine Petersson, Caro, Lukasc Kulec, Jo Venables, John Harding, Jenny Smith, Beth Godfrey, Barry, Amy Russell, Mary Smith, Andy Smith, Freya Farr, Sue Fuller, Teresa Ikbe, Isabelle Wolf, Lucy Everett, Jess C, Prof Dave Reay, Dr Naomi Wolf, Sam Knights, Tamaryn Payne, Matt Winning, Diana Hall, Jay Lafferty, Amanda and Anna, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Samantha Hannah, Olivia Fischer, Leo, Kenneth, Kelli Fox, Bec Hill, James Duncan, Jenna Watt, Vicky Allan, Claudia Beamish, Eliana & Xander, Iskandar R. Sharazuddin, Rhys Morgan, Harry Clayton-Wright, Patrick Harvie, Chigozie Obioma, Martha & Anna, Lizzie & Michelle, Pheobe Carlson, Juliette Burton, Shelley Connon, Nathaniel Hall, Sukh Ojla, Steve Allen, Njambi McGrath, Anna Vanosi, Paul Levy, Jamie Firth, Lucy Roslyn, Kirsteen Shields, Val McDermid, Beth Godfrey, Dr Kyra Pollitt, Daisy Hale, Simon Gage, Andy Saunders, Mary Capdeville, Lorna Street, Ida Thomson, Esther Silvertone, Emma Boyd, Daniel and Arthur Bye, Matt Stellingwerf, Heidi Regan, Lyndsey Jackson, Harriet Braine, William Jackson, Marian Yukawa, Lorna Slater, Craig Campbell, Alex, Bea & Lee, Stephanie Barnett, Margo Derbyser, Adam Francis, Christie Anthoney, Sage Nokomis Wright, Ben Twist,  Tom #Vigil, Ellie Harris, Aislin Mulligan, Mary Kathryn Kopp, Robert Alcock, Ameera Conrad, Toni Freitas, Alanna Mitchell, RJ Arkhipov, Lauren Booth, Claire Mulholland, Harry & Chris, Leslie Hill, Arthur Smith, Sarah Cleary, Old Dog Theatre.

 We would also like to thank Greenside Venues, Staging Change, Storytelling PR, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Extinction Rebellion Scotland.

Special thanks to the authors and contributors to the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees.

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