This is my personal emergency response to the IPCC Special Report, 2018, in which we were told we had 12 years to halve emissions to save the planet. I respond well to deadlines and this one was the most alarming one I’d ever heard so I decided to combine it into my work.
I’d read about people aiming to survive the apocalypse by buying bunkers and trying to understand this viewpoint led me to imagine three fictional characters who challenge each other to either worry less or do more through the piece.
Piano melodies and textures interweave with their phone calls and we also hear environmental experts like David Wallace-Wells and COP scientists, real survivors escaping from a wildfire, a glacier melting, eloquent and increasingly desperate speeches from Greta Thunberg, ending with an intense, hopeful call to action.
“This should be prescribed viewing/watching/listening for anyone even remotely concerned with the welfare of our planet.”
Ciaran Ryan, General Manager, Galway Jazz Festival
“ there was nothing oblique or vague about Twelve Years.. it made its point.. with eloquence, taste, poignancy and power. This is hard and vital music. It was written to shock.”
– Journal of Music (read full review below)
I invited the UK’s top climate scientists and activists to lead Q&As after the show, with audiences across the UK.
- Prof. Ed Hawkins – Show Your Stripes inventor (Reading)
- Prof. Richard Betts MBE – Climate Impacts Research, MET Office (Exeter)
- Anna Hughes – Flightfree Director (London)
- Richard D Pancost and Alix Dietzel – Cabot Institute (Bristol)
- Dr Liz Bagshaw – Cardiff School of Earth and Sciences
- Prof Hayley J Fowler – Newcastle University
- Dr Sarah Mander – Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Manchester
- Prof Rupert Read, University of East Anglia and ex-Extinction Rebellion spokesman.
If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, we’d also have been in Harwich with the UK’s first UN-accredited climate change teacher Dean Bell.
Working with such a high calibre of experts meant the conversations with audiences after the show were focused, highly informative and ultimately useful, leading to new connections and ideas.
On the back of the programme I printed possible actions people could take. Now I think we should all focus primarily on divestment (removing money from the fossil fuel industry) but I also think individual actions help motivate, communicate and coalesce us.
“I’m much closer to the issue now. Maybe I’m actually in the issue.”
“Instead of just thinking about or reading about climate change I actually felt it.”
“Amazing. Stoked the fire for change.”
“I felt alive”
“Beautiful & terrifying.”
“powerful and thought-provoking.”
“Captivating material, brilliantly composed and performed.”
Read and listen more…
I had some amazing mentors for this project, so a huge thanks to all of them.
Writer/director Nic Mills was a graduate of the National Film and Television School her award winning shorts have travelled the world at major festivals. She’s an alumni of the acclaimed Binger Film Lab, the Torino Film Lab, Guiding Lights and Sheffield Documentary Festival’s Devise to Deliver. Nic helped me pull together the entire structure, details of script and character and how the music and text interplay.
Inika Taylor is a MET Office Climate Scientist and part of an impressive team. The Climate Impacts Modelling (CIM) group are a team of scientists who work with and develop integrated models for assessing climate change impacts as part of the Earth System and Mitigation Science Team.
Atlanta Cook is an Honorary Life Member of Surfers Against Sewage and a Marine Conservations Society ‘Sea Champion’. She has an exemplary track record of successful campaigns and over 25 years experience of campaigning for environmental and community projects. Atlanta helped me to formulate the language that might compel audiences to act. She also shared her own perspective, which has been deeply valuable: how do campaigners themselves actually feel?
If you want to chat..
If you want to chat, Twitter is my all-time favourite medium.
This show was supported by Arts Council England, from its development beginnings through to the digital tour during 2020. PRSF also supported the 2020 tour and the tour producer was SOUND UK.