A stunning seven-metre diameter ‘Earth’ will be unveiled at Life Science Centre this weekend (16 October) ahead of the international climate conference COP 26 later this month. Gaia, by British artist Luke Jerram, highlights the fragility and wonder of our planet and is one of only five permanent exhibits of the artwork in the world.
The installation is just one example of the science centre’s pioneering approach to the climate challenge: a full programme of events, exhibitions, and activities which encourages visitors - especially families and school children - to explore and debate the complex, controversial and often scary subject of climate science.
Gaia - an art-meets-science creation - features detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. It aims to create a sense of the Overview Effect, described by astronauts as a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.
Chief Executive Linda Conlon said, “Climate change and its devastating effect on the planet is the biggest issue of our time, so it’s timely that this mesmerising and thought-provoking artwork is coming to Life.
“As the North East’s only science centre, we have a unique opportunity to engage with the public and help them understand complex topics, such as climate change. By exploring climate science, reflecting on its causes and looking forward to a future of solutions, families can contribute to the global effort from their local base.”
Examples of the wider programme include: a new schools programme, developed after close collaboration with teachers in the region, which offers interactive workshops and storytelling sessions that bring science themes, including climate science, to life; family activities in the science centre including windmill making and experiments exploring future foods; and an online debate for adults, What’s your beef? Is fake meat fake news? This free online session explores how the changing climate will impact human eating habits and our relationship with food. (21 October, 8.00pm).
To find out more about the Life climate programme and how you can be involved, see the latest digital newsletter ‘Climate Matters’ here.
Hayley Fowler, Professor of Climate Change Impacts, Newcastle University said
“Life is to be applauded for the work it’s doing on climate change. It’s uniquely placed to engage, in particular, with families and young children and to help them discover ways they can make a contribution to the massive challenge that faces us. By highlighting the kind of jobs and skills needed to respond to the green revolution taking place in the region, Life is also providing positive local role models for future careers in science and engineering.