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XR Western Australia Reading

We stand in solidarity and stunned horror at the images and stories coming to us from Australia. Communities have been obliterated, hundreds of millions of animals are dead, first nation lands and sites have been razed, dozens people have died and many are missing, homeless and traumatised by the enormous wildfires. The political leadership seems to be silent at best, grossly negligent and deliberately deceptive about the links between the fires, climate change and government policy at worst.

There are individuals and groups who are much better placed then us to comment on the communities, politics, ecosystems and impacts of the current crisis facing Australia and we will seek to listen to them.

As part of that we are proud to be supporting Extinction Rebellion Western Australia ( who are staging a 10 hour reading of 1.5 Degrees Live! in protest of the fossil fuel links between Woodside Energy ( and the Fringe World Festival. (

We will be encouraging artists and activists, as well as members of the public to join with XRWA during this event.

Extinction Rebellion Western Australia will host an engaging series of performances this Fringe Festival, taking on a mass reading titled 1.5 Degrees Live! of the 2018 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Report. These series of performances take place during Perth’s Fringe World Festival outside the Woodside Pleasure Gardens (located in Perth city’s cultural precinct) from the 18th January to the 9th February. International and local Fringe artists and performers (including the likes of UK’s Kate Smurthwaite, Michelle Aitken, Selfless Orchestra, Felicity Groom & more) plus local activists, scientists, students and people are encouraged to take part in a 10-hour (over 10 evenings) reading. We aim to carry the 1.5 Degree Live! themes of creating space for viewers and participants to understand and democratise the science, create emotional connections to the readings and spread the reach of climate action in our state of Western Australia. We aim to take up space outside the gardens to challenge the social license of one of Australia’s biggest polluters – Woodside, a partner of the Fringe Festival.


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.


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