Sea change: Turning the tides on climate change

Sea change: Turning the tides on climate change

Cape Farewell Foundation is a North American charity that connects people with climate science, sparking new ways for art, science, technology and business to work together to address climate change.  

It unites artists, climate scientists and change-makers to have strange adventures that facilitate dialogue and partnerships.

The driving force behind Cape Farewell is the realization that science alone cannot communicate the risks of climate change; only artists can really change the zeitgeist of our times. By infecting artists with the ideas, fears and inspirations of those on the front lines of climate and sustainability, perhaps we might change course. Artists who caught the climate bug on previous expeditions include Ian McEwan, Feist and Jarvis Cocker.

I’ve been involved in Cape Farewell since 2009, and was chosen to take part in their most recent expedition — a 12-day journey on a hundred-year-old wooden sailing boat to circumnavigate the Shetland Islands.

Tom Rand (centre) with fish expert John Goodlad and other members of the expedition
Tom Rand (centre) with fish expert John Goodlad and other members of the expedition

Our boat, the Swan, was one of the original fleet of herring boats that caught fish off the Shetlands with driftnets, wind and manual labour. Our captain was a 30-year veteran of the British military who had crossed the Atlantic and been to the Arctic a number of times. Also aboard was the inimitable founder of Cape Farewell, David Buckland himself.

The boat, the Swan, for Sea Change 2013

Our trip was appropriately called Sea Change 2013, apt because we seek nothing less …

What follows are a series of blogs that I wrote live from the boat (whenever we got cell signals!):

Day 1, Blog 1Sea Change Forthcoming?  – the setup.

Day 3: Blog 2Weather and Climate, Cities and Seas – thinking about how climate change is to urbanites as everyday weather is to country folk.

Day 6: Blog 3Showdown! Hydrocarbons versus Renewables! – can we really get off fossil fuels? Really??

Day 8: Blog 4Fishing Lessons for Carbon? – learning from the EU fish quota system.

How you can get involved

Watch for Cape Farewell’s inaugural public event here in Toronto – the Carbon 14 Climate is Culture exhibition at the ROM, opening October 19 and running through to February 2, 2014.

Featuring artists and climate scientists alike, the exhibition explores a range of subjects, including the changing Arctic, the health of our oceans, biodiversity and extinction, sustainability and new, clean technologies, as well as central questions about politics, economics, and ethics.