How can engagement through arts and culture encourage sustainability in Manchester?
The intensification of natural disasters like storms, strong rains and flooding has been related with a sporadic increase of the earth temperature. As complex as it is, our planet has its own natural cycles of climate change across thousands or millions of years. However, since the middle of the 19th century natural climate recordings (climate proxies) reveal an abnormal increase of temperature compared with the precedent two thousand years (see figure 1).
Figure 1. Image from Global Warming Art by Robert A. Rohde
Moreover, scientific research from independent groups provides wide evidence that one of the key causes of the change has been the rising emission of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution. In such a way, this scientific proof is calling for action in favour of a low carbon lifestyle, motivating a series of international enterprises, one of which is the Paris Climate Agreement. In this accord, each participating country set a specific target for a specific date to mitigate the global warming. After the Paris Agreement, Manchester committed to become a zero carbon city by 2050.
Hence, such tremendous contribution from Manchester requires a well defined strategy with coordinated action from all sectors of society. To achieve the goal as a united community we aim to engage with all stakeholders in the city. In this regard, we realised that the artistic and culture-based organizations always have the important role in society of instilling values and ways of thinking. Thus, having global warming in mind our question becomes: to find the most effective way of using artistic events to generate a cultural shift towards a more sustainable way of living, engaging individuals and societies.
Therefore, the use of artistic expressions to raise social awareness of environmental sciences, to communicate new trends and to expose climate concerns, brings an opportunity for institutions to contribute with engaging the public in climate change policies. In order to exploit the full potential of such artistic and cultural enterprises, it becomes fundamental to understand the interaction between events and audience, as well as, to design strategies specific to the local community.
This research corresponds to the dissertation of the environmental engineer Jaqueline de Godoy, with the supervision of Dr. Sam Illingworth, as part of her Msc in Science Communication. It establishes a cooperation between the Manchester Climate Change Agency and the Manchester Metropolitan University.
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1. Global Warming Art project. Temperature Comparison. Image from Retrieved from http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:2000_Year_Temperature_Compari...