NERC Trans.MISSION: Communicating climate change with art

Posted in: Environment

Posted on: 25.06.2018

Climate change can seem a bit abstract to people, as we don’t necessarily see the tangible effects every day.   

But what happens when you combine cutting-edge science with art? 

At Hay Festival, NERC revealed its Trans.MISSION series, three new short films by award-winning artists to communicate cutting-edge science to new audiences. And we at Good Energy think the films do a fantastic job of bringing environmental issues to life.  

Message From Antarctica

'Message from Antarctica' sees deputy head of the Polar Oceans Team at the British Antarctic Survey, Emily Shuckburgh, work with designer, author and illustrator Chris Haughton to communicate how scientists are measuring the impacts of CO2 over time. 

This video is immensely powerful. Not only does it simply explain what climate scientists do and how on earth they manage to track CO2 levels, and therefore global temperatures, over hundreds of thousands of years — it demonstrates even to climate deniers that the levels nowadays are abnormally, worryingly high.  

We like the positive call to action at the end, empowering people to act now. 
We can all work together to make a change, and it is important to recognise that.  

Clean Air

Clean Air sees Dan Binns, the Director of Aardman Animation Studios, team up with atmospheric chemist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and University of York professor Ally Lewis to explore the impacts of air pollution.

Like 'Message from Antarctica', the video's aim is to empower rather than to scare viewers. Individual action can make a difference, in ways that most people will never even have considered. 

Weather Watchers - No Ice

For Weather Watchers, award-winning poet Nicola Davies teamed up with climate scientist professor Ed Hawkins from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) to communicate climate and weather. 

They do this through three simple videos tracking historical climate changes over the years — whether it’s the size of the arctic sea ice (as shown above), or the average global temperature. The science is communicated with imagery and thought provoking poetry. 

We think this pairing is great, because together Nicola Davies and professor Ed Hawkins explain big issues in a very hard-hitting way that resonates with the masses. The facts of climate change are simply laid in front of the viewer to diges; they aren't told what to think, they are shown the facts. 

Find out more about NERC's Trans.MISSION project here

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