Antarctica, 2017 © Michael Benson.
In a critical moment, Covid-19 has put the environmental agenda off the table. Although the last months’ worldwide economic shutdowns have resulted in momentarily slowing down the rise in CO2 levels, the proportionally small-scale slowdown is without any long-term impact on the already enormous masses of CO2 built up in the atmosphere. If anything, the halt in production seems to have created a false sense of hope and security, making it easy to lose sight of the imminent risks of a global climate crisis. A new report shows how crucially change is needed.
In the recently published annual report of the Committee on Climate Change, the committee advises the UK government to prepare for a 4°C temperature rise, an ominous change from the previously 2°C. A 4°C future is widely viewed as a complete collapse of ecosystems and global economic systems alike, beyond adaptation or rescue.
With the alarming prospect of even higher temperature rises than previously assumed, the CCC urges governments to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a ‘defining moment in the fight against climate change’. The current global pandemic has made it clear that planning for systemic risk is necessary and unavoidable; effectively slowing down the increasing levels means long-term systemic change.
As some countries slowly start to emerge on the other side of the pandemic, trying to stimulate their stagnant economies, a raise in emissions is expected. This rebound further illuminates the inequality in regard to countries causing the most CO2 emissions, while harvesting the benefits thereof (America, Europe, Russia and China) and those who get to face the destructive environmental consequences: the brown and black countries of the Global South. Countries who only recently were able to begin rebuilding from centuries of colonialism are now facing the environmental debt of industrialization and western countries who build their economies on exploitation and extraction – on dramatically changing the climate.
The difference of speed in which both governments and individuals were able to change and re-organize societies when faced with the immediacy of Covid-19, as opposed to the hesitant reaction towards the long-term challenges of the climate crisis, is significant.
However abstract and distant the consequences of rising temperatures might seem, the new report from the CCC shows that they’re not. Project Pressure works with closing that distance by portraying and making visible these changes.
Sabalan, Iran, 2014. © Klaus Thymann
With the pandemic currently dwarfing news outlets, the on-going climate crisis appears a very distant threat. Crucial climate negotiations have been derailed, recycling is on hold and there’s worrying news of rollbacks on environmental regulations across the globe.
However, there are still loads of ways you can help the climate effort. Organised into the categories of Food, Internet, Transport and Energy, we’ve put together a list of impactful measures you can take today and from home. Of course, climate change action should not fall on the shoulders of the individual and we must push for systemic solutions. But we must also recognise the vital role of individual actions, for instance, how they can provide a tangible connection to seemingly impossible climate goals. These acts may seem small, but collectively – we have the power to make a difference.
If you don’t know about the environmental impacts of animal agriculture by now – what cowpat have you been hiding under?
If you’re reducing your consumption of animal products, whether that’s by being vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or flexitarian, it’s guaranteed to have a big environmental impact. A diet that excludes animal products reduces the land used for food by 76%, greenhouse gas emissions produced by food by 49%, acidification by 50%, eutrophication by 49% and scarcity-weighted freshwater withdrawals by 19%.
Source: Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers (Poore & Nemecek, 2018).
Reducing food waste
Household food waste makes up 70% of all food waste post-farm gate. Here are some tips to reduce the food waste impact on the planet and your pocket:
• Plan meals
• Don’t shop when you’re hungry
• Freeze leftovers
• Learn how to store food effectively, e.g. keep your bananas separate as they ripen other fruits
• Be creative with leftovers, e.g. potato peel crisps
• Make over-ripe fruit and veg into smoothies, bread, jam, sauces or soups
• Know the difference between use-by and best-before dates
• Try ‘ugly’ fruit and veg box schemes, e.g. Oddbox (UK)
Home composting is a fantastic way to use up those last few scraps after following the food waste tips above. Some of the most popular options include the Bokashi system and worm composting. These systems can be bought online and are easy to set up.
The Bokashi system is an anaerobic composting system, which uses inoculated bran to ferment kitchen waste. Unlike other forms of composting, this method allows you to throw in meat and dairy scraps. Although the material produced can’t be applied directly to the garden as mulch, the liquid by-product can be fed to plants directly. After fermentation, the solid material is usually buried in trenches or added to a traditional compost heap for further breakdown.
Worm composting, a.k.a. vermicomposting, efficiently produces nutrient-rich compost and concentrated liquid fertiliser. Despite its reputation, if care is taken to set the system up correctly your compost bin shouldn’t be smelly. A downside is that you can’t put cooked food, meat, dairy, citrus or alliums in your worm compost bin.
Did you know that one Google search creates 2-7 g of CO2? 7 g of CO2 is enough to boil a pot of tea or drive a car 52 feet.
The Internet currently produces around 2% of global CO2 emissions and this figure is increasing rapidly. Here are some ways you can reduce your online carbon footprint:
• Reduce email activity – limit the use of the “reply all” option and unsubscribe from unread newsletters.
• Choose a green cloud provider such as Google – the company achieved its goal of running all clouds on renewable energy in 2018.
• Download Spotify playlists and other media for repeat use instead of streaming them.
• Turn devices off – computers continue to use energy even when sleeping.
• Kill the vampire power – unplug chargers that aren’t in use.
• For quick searches, use a tablet or smartphone rather than a laptop or desktop.
Our carbon footprint calculator is powered by carbon neutral servers, and since 2008 when Project Pressure was founded, our website has been hosted on servers powered by renewable energy. Give it a try and learn how you can make further changes to reduce your environmental impact.
With travel restrictions still in place, it might seem like an odd time to talk about transport. However, it’s exciting to see a renewed interest in cycling during the lockdown; bike shops have been overrun with customers and the industry is having a hard time keeping up with demand.
Fewer cars on the road mean that biking or walking around cities is currently much safer. New footpaths and bike lanes are popping up all over the world, from Berlin to Mexico City. This may be a temporary measure, but it could help us re-imagine city transport. If there’s no change happening in your area, could you write to your local council and urge them to make more space for walking and cycling?
Mount Rainier National Park, 2015. © Peter Funch
Switch your energy supplier or tariff
As more and more of our electricity is coming from low-carbon sources, we are all likely using some green electricity (whatever tariff we are on). However, choosing a green tariff increases the demand for these choices and sends a vital message. The greater number of green tariffs in recent years shows that the energy industry is listening.
Here are some green energy suppliers in the UK:
• Good Energy
• Green Energy UK
And for the US:
• Green Mountain Energy
• Bloom Energy
• Ocean Renewable Power Company
Energy efficiency has a multitude of benefits: it makes your home warmer, alleviates the causes of damp and mould, lowers energy bills and decreases your carbon footprint. The following measures can help increase the energy efficiency of your home.
• Low energy light bulbs (LED or CFL)
• Draught proofing windows and doors
• Reflective panels or foil behind the radiators
• Lagging hot water pipes and tanks
• Closing the curtains at dusk
• Water-efficient shower heads
Medium to high cost:
• Loft insulation
• Cavity wall insulation
• Hot water cylinder jackets
• Heating upgrades or heating system repairs
Energy-saving behaviours can also be easily implemented:
• Don’t overfill the kettle
• Turn appliances off and avoid standby
• Switch off the lights when leaving a room
• Wash clothes at 30 °C
• Turn the heating down 1 °C
Mount Illimani watches over La Paz, Bolivia, 2013. © Klaus Thymann
As 2019 comes to an end, we’re delighted to announce that Project Pressure has been selected as one of four featured projects in the 2020 edition of the prestigious Landskrona Foto Festival.
Chosen from 888 applications representing 68 countries as part of an open call, Project Pressure’s work will be a keystone exhibit at the festival, shown alongside works by photographers Lesia Maruschak, Emily Graham, and Rodrigo Orrantia.
An annual event hosted in Skåne, south Sweden, the Landskrona Foto Festival transforms the region into a thriving home for photography in Scandinavia. The next edition of the festival takes place in September 2020 and will be themed around memory – an event dedicated to exploring the phenomenon’s role in the construction of reality, as well as the social impact of collective memory.
Project Pressure’s inclusion in the event is an important acknowledgment of the urgency of the charity’s mission. Earth’s threatened landscapes are our greatest store of collective memory, while the importance of recognising and responding to rapid changes in our environment has never been more pressing. We’re delighted to have been chosen to exhibit in the the Landskrona Foto Festival, and look forward to welcoming you to Skåne in September 2020.
Simon Norfolk, The Lewis Glacier, Mt Kenya, 1963 (A), 2014.
“‘What is it about those melting glaciers and desperate polar bears that makes us want to look away?” the activist and author Naomi Klein asked in 2015. In her book This Changes Everything, she laid the blame on powerful global corporations and acquiescent governments, which both simultaneously underplay the scale of the climate emergency and exploit our collective sense of helplessness in the face of it. Since then, a new urgency has driven climate activism, most successfully in the disruptive protests of Extinction Rebellion. Can art, though, have a meaningful role in raising awareness of that urgency?
A forthcoming exhibition, Meltdown: Visualising Climate Change, at the Horniman Museum in London sets out to answer that question in the affirmative. It focuses on the fate of the world’s glaciers through the prism of art, photography and film. “We are using art as a kind of seduction to draw people in, then shock them,” says photographer Simon Norfolk, one of the artists involved.”
Sean O’Hagan has kindly written about our upcoming exhibition in The Observer. Read the full story here
Exhibition opening the 28th of Nov at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London.
Corey Arnold, Esmarkbreen II, 2013
MELTDOWN – Visualizing the Climate Crisis by Project Pressure emphasises the importance of glaciers in a scientific, illustrative and dramatic way. The upcoming show at The Horniman Museum and Gardens, London features work from every continent, leading the viewer on a journey in three chapters – The Importance of Glaciers, Current Issues and Meltdown Consequences.
Since 2008 the climate crisis charity Project Pressure has been commissioning world-renowned artists to conduct expeditions to document changes to the world’s vanishing glaciers, the consequences for billions of people, and efforts made to limit melting.
The works featured from these expeditions range in scale from the planetary level to microscopic biological impact, with artistic interpretations giving unique insights into the world’s cryosphere, its fragile ecosystem and our changing global climate.
Nov 28 2019 – Jan 12 2020
Mon – Sun, 10.00 am – 5.30 pm (closed Dec 24-26)
Featured artists are: Corey Arnold (US), Michael Benson (US), Broomberg & Chanarin (RSA/UK), Edward Burtynsky (CA), Scott Conarroe (CA), Peter Funch (DK), Noémie Goudal (FR), Adam Hinton (UK), Richard Mosse (IRE), Simon Norfolk (NG), Christopher Parsons (UK), Toby Smith (UK) and Klaus Thymann (DK).
VOICES FOR THE FUTURE celebrates opening of UN Climate Action Summit
“Voices for the Future – was a compelling visual prelude to the Climate Action Summit that combined a visual depiction of climate change, a collapsing iceberg, with the voices of six young people expressing their expectations and demands for a future in which leaders rise to the challenge through climate action. Art is a great medium that crosses the boundaries of language and culture as did Voices for the Future.” – Luis Alfonso de Alba, Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit.
With the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit starting today, world leaders and representatives from government, business, and civil society are set to announce potentially far-reaching steps to confront climate change.
VOICES FOR THE FUTURE – an immersive art installation by New Zealand-based artist Joseph Michael, produced in collaboration with environmental charity Project Pressure lit up the United Nations General Assembly and Secretariat buildings in New York leading up the UN’s Climate Action Summit and coincided with the global school strikes on Friday the 20th of September.
The installation of large-scale projections covering the outside of the UN with images of a massive iceberg, set the scene for the voices of six young advocates, authored by Klaus Thymann, including Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg, commenting on the nature of the climate crisis and urgent actions that can, and must, be taken to minimize the consequences of climate change.
VOICES FOR THE FUTURE, an immersive art installation by New Zealand-based artist Joseph Michael, produced in collaboration with environmental charity Project Pressure, lights up the United Nations General Assembly and Secretariat buildings in New York ahead of the UN’s Climate Action Summit and global school strikes, with an artwork unveiled to the public on Friday, September 20.
This installation will spotlight large-scale projections covering the outside of the UN with images of a massive iceberg, setting the scene for the voices of six young advocates, including Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg, commenting on the nature of the climate crisis and urgent actions that can, and must, be taken to minimize the consequences of climate change.
VOICES FOR THE FUTURE opens with an iteration of Joseph Michael’s artwork, Antarctica: while you were sleeping, showcasing powerful visuals of an iceberg slowly crashing down the sides of the 500-foot tall United Nations building, intended to bring the remoteness of the Antarctic to the core of urban New York.Composer Rhian Sheehan has created a musical soundscape, which together with Michael’s work reflects how icebergs crack, shift and breathe, revealing their fragility.
Part two of the installation, authored by Project Pressure founder Klaus Thymann, and visualized by Joseph Michael, features the voices of the six young advocates addressing their hopes and fears for the future, in relation to the climate crisis. Each of the six voices will speak one of the six official UN languages – Russian, Arabic, French, Spanish, English and Mandarin – and represent one of the world’s populated continents. The words of the voices will scroll the length of the building. To support the messaging, the second act is accompanied by music by Brian Eno.
With the sides of the United Nations building serving as a canvas for the audio-visual installation, the audience will experience up close the beauty, size and sound of a colossal iceberg. Together with the messages from the younger generation, VOICES FOR THE FUTURE transforms the UN into a glowing beacon, highlighting the climate crisis, underlining the need to preserve our world for future generations and the critical decisions to be made at the summit.
Heli image by Simon Godsiff.
The Imperfect Atlas, 2014. © Peter Funch
Alt. +1000 photo festival in Switzerland is renowned for exhibitions of contemporary photography with mountain themes. Whether by climbing mountains, building roads and parking lots, planting a cross, or working the steep land, humans have left their mark on the landscape for centuries and this footprint is at the centre of the fifth edition of the Alt. +1000 festival.
WARNING SIGNS by Project Pressure will be exhibited in and around Lake Taillères, the centre of the “Siberia of Switzerland”. The exhibition consists of nearly 80 images – a combination of stunning artworks and an informative poster campaign visualizing the climate crisis in an inspiring way. The event offers art and nature lovers, as well as families, a photographic stroll through a remarkable landscape.
In addition to Lake Taillères, the festival takes place at two other magnificent sites – the Grand-Cachot-de-Vent farm and the Musée des beaux-arts Le Locle (MBAL) where visitors can enjoy 80 years of mountain images by Magnum photographers, as well as a solo exhibition by Project Pressure collaborator Noémie Goudal among other works.
Mon – Sun, 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Sponsored by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.
Glaciér 1-3, 2016. © Noémie Goudal
Our exhibition MELTDOWN visualizing climate change at the Natural History Museum, Vienna, is now officially open. We couldn’t think of a better place to launch Project Pressure’s travelling exhibition with artworks by Corey Arnold, Michael Benson, Broomberg & Chanarin, Edward Burtynsky, Scott Conarroe, Peter Funch, Noémie Goudal, Adam Hinton, Richard Mosse, Simon Norfolk, Norfolk + Thymann, Christopher Parsons, Toby Smith and Klaus Thymann.
Opening hours and information about how to get there here.