How do you get people to care about climate change? Back in 2013, American artist Stephan Crawford was asking himself the same question and that is when he had the idea that teaching and informing through music might just be the answer. He invited performers and scientists to a “hack day” and asked them to compose a climate-inspired music piece in eight hours.
A year later, the ClimateMusic Project was born. A San Fransisco coalition of musicians and scientists who compose experimental music pieces based on climate data. Today, the coalition collaborates with a growing network of climate literacy and action organizations in order to tell the urgent story of climate change to broad and diverse audiences in a way that resonates, educates, and motivates.
The group’s performances, which now involve a 30-minute composition by Erik Ian Walker, begin with a scientist presenting the facts of global warming. Then the musicians take over, playing synthesizers, drums, the violin, and other instruments in front of an animated screen showing climate variables, such as CO2 levels, global temperature, earth-energy balance, information collected from a scientific climate model.