A group of people in Adelaide will spend five days reading aloud a major climate report in full

A Global Strike 4 Climate rally in Adelaide last year. Source: AAP

Politicians, scientists, business leaders and artists will take part in the five-day public reading of a more than 500-page landmark climate change report this week.

Hundreds of people are preparing to gather in Adelaide to participate in a unique talk about climate change.

1.5 Degrees Live! will see 100 policymakers, business leaders, scientists and artists spend 35 hours reading the entirety of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark Global Warming of 1.5 ºC report over five days.

The landmark 2018 IPCC report, which warns of the impact global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is expected to have on the planet, is largely heralded as the most comprehensive report on climate change ever produced.

Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler, comedians Tom Ballard and Lewis Garnham, Adelaide lord mayor Sandy Verschoor and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young are among those scheduled to do a live reading across various venues. 

“It’s imperative that all Australians understand the climate crisis and what needs to be done to save the planet. We must try different ways of communicating these messages,” Senator Hanson-Young told SBS News.

Sarah Hanson-Young
Sarah Hanson-Young addresses a rally at Bondi Beach in Sydney last year.

“The arts are such a valuable tool for communicating ideas and have also played an important role in dealing with the climate crisis.

“While I am the Greens’ environment and arts spokesperson, I don’t think I’m biased when I say this unique event is a great combination.”

Mayor Verschoor said she was confident the event would have a positive impact.

“The spoken word format is a creative and unique way to talk about climate change and it has attracted a wide variety of people from the arts and sciences to take part who are passionate about addressing these issues.”

“The organisers have deliberately placed this event in different venues that will attract different visitors and audiences.”

The Adelaide event is the latest iteration of a show first held last year in a shipping container as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where the total read time stretched to more than 50 hours.

It has been brought to Adelaide by Flinders University in collaboration with The City of Adelaide, music and culture festival WOMADdelaide and the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

“It is the role of universities to excite debate and new ideas in our students and wider community,” Flinders University spokeswoman Calista Thillou said.

“The reading of the IPCC report reminds us all that collectively, even small actions can have a big impact, and that we can make a difference.”

From Edinburgh to the world

1.5 Degrees Live! is not the first event of its kind.

In 2016, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival also hosted Iraq Out and Loud, a 24-hour public recital of the 600-plus page Chilcot Report, a 600 page-plus document produced following a public inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq War.

1.5 Degrees Live! co-creator Patrick Dunne said inspiration was taken from that.

“We wanted ordinary people to have an opportunity to listen to the IPCC report, discuss it and engage with it in a way that wasn’t available to most people,” he said.

“We decided to read out the whole report because we wanted to make the reading a mass event that refused to go away.”

1.5 Degrees Live! performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
1.5 Degrees Live! performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Supplied/James Duncan

The 2019 Edinburgh iteration was “really well received”, Mr Dunne said.

“Authors, artists, politicians, comedians and people from across Edinburgh [shared] their insight and openness about what this current global crisis means to them, and it really created a space for a human connection to the science of climate change and it created a powerful space,” he said.

Since then, reading events have taken place in London, Christchurch and Perth.

More events are planned for Canada, the US and other places in the UK this year, Mr Dunne said.

“It is really inspiring to see people take this event into their own cities and connect people with the warnings and the opportunities for positive change that the report contains.”

“We want as many people as possible to access the IPCC Report and we are keen to work with and collaborate with artists, activists and anyone else who wants to stage a reading - whether that's in a world-famous arts festival, church hall or at a school strike.”

1.5 Degrees Live! is free and runs 5 - 9 March at various locations across Adelaide

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