“Communicating the climate message to inform, but also engage and influence behaviour has proven intensely difficult. Over a decade of research on this issue has highlighted the need for communication to engage with people’s “deep frames” – beliefs formed over a lifetime, which are mostly subconscious.
“How is this to be done? The world must turn to its artists: storytellers, film-makers; musicians; painters and multi-media wizards, to name a few.
“Under the global Future Earth initiative, a team of around 60,000 scientists and social scientists has been assembled to understand and report on the physical, tangible dimensions of the problem. I argue we need 60,000 arts and humanities experts to focus upon the intangibles – the communication, engagement and meaning-making aspects of the problem.
“Of course many artists are already grappling with climate change…. But the scale of effort, when compared to the role artists have played in other significant societal shifts, is piecemeal.
“Consider the artistic and cultural flourishing that accompanied the rise of Ancient Greece, supported by the agents of change Pericles and Alexander the Great.
“Or the Islamic Golden Age of the 8th and 9th centuries, which saw a boom in both art and science. Or the Enlightenment, which featured arrays of great scientists, philosophers, musicians and artists such as Galileo; Newton; Descartes; Spinoza; Kant; Hobbes; Voltaire; Goya; Bach and Mozart.
“If a new human civilisation is to emerge that can live within its ecological limits, artists and communicators must have a prominent place, alongside the great scientific and technological innovators of our times.
“Humanity will never be able to defeat a threat it cannot perceive.”
Read the full story by Elizabeth Boulton….