If not now, then when? A Conversation on Culture and Climate Action


Kenneth Myer Auditorium Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne
Saturday 9 November 2019

Presented by CLIMARTE in collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach Project featuring a musical interlude by Yo-Yo Ma

Welcome to Country – Gheran Steel, Elder and CEO, Boon Wurrung Foundation
MC – Romy Nolan, Northcote High School, Student Activist
On Climate Science – Dr David Karoly Leader Earth Systems and Climate Change hub, CSIRO
On Student Activism – Schools Strike 4 Climate, Harriet O’Shea Carre, Castlemaine Secondary College
On Indigenous knowledge and Caring for Country, Allara Briggs Pattison, SEED Indigenous Youth Climate Network
On Art and Activism – Artist, Gabrielle de Vietri
On Student Action in schools – Daisy Batten Environment Captain Melbourne Girls’ College (MGC) On Climate and Culture – Bronwyn Johnson, CLIMARTE Executive Director
On Health – Prof. Peter Doherty AO Nobel Laureate, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and CLIMARTE Ambassador

Join Yo-Yo Ma and Indigenous leaders, students, artists, scientists and creatives to discuss two important questions:

What must we do in the next 11 years to act decisively to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change; and, how can culture move people from awareness to action to ensure a just and sustainable future for all life on Earth? With representatives from Schools Strike 4 Climate, SEED – Indigenous Youth Climate Network and Student Environmental Leaders alongside Nobel Laureate and CLIMARTE Ambassador Prof. Peter Doherty AO on health and Leader, Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub, CSIRO’s Dr David Karoly.

In August 2018, Yo-Yo Ma began a two-year journey to perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites for solo cello in 36 locations around the world. The project is motivated not only by his six decade relationship with the music, but also by Bach’s ability to speak to our shared humanity at a time when our civic conversation is so often focused on division. For Yo-Yo Ma, Bach’s 300-hundred-year-old music is one extraordinary example of how culture connects us and can help us to imagine and build a better future, but he believes there are many, many more. And for Yo-Yo, culture includes not just the arts, but everything that helps us to understand our environment, each other, and ourselves, from music and literature to science and food.

The Bach Project explores and celebrates all the ways that culture makes us stronger as individuals, as communities, as a society, and as a planet. Audience: Secondary school students, tertiary music students, teachers, parents and carers.

In its latest report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that we now have 11 years to act to limit global warming to no more than a 1.5C above preindustrial levels. Can we do it? Will we keep average temperature to rising less than 1.5C?

In Australia, the news is disheartening. Whole ecosystems are dying. Bushfire, flood, cyclones and drought are ravaging our country like never before. We are in a climate emergency.

A cultural response to climate change can communicate what is happening now and to provide the opportunity for audiences to consider in their own time the considerations of students, indigenous leaders, scientists and creatives on our warming planet and what this will mean for our future.

It has only been in the last 120 years or so that the arts and sciences have been so separately silo’ed. Actions to reduce global warming will arise only from communities based upon fairness, indigenous knowledge, cooperation and through valuing the arts and sciences. This conversation recognises that our desire to create, innovate and learn are defining human characteristics.

Produced by CLIMARTE: Arts for a safe climate and Sound Postings – the office of Yo-Yo Ma, with the assistance of Ceres Community Environment Park and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at The University of Melbourne.