Reporting from the Front Line: Telling the stories of climate change

What is the role of factual, current affairs and news programming in telling the stories of climate change? With such a powerful platform to educate and inspire, how do broadcasters make global climate change stories relevant to audiences? Can you report the challenges our planet faces without overwhelming or demoralising viewers? And how can broadcasters maintain impartiality and inspire positive change?

We’ll hear from a range of presenters and journalists who will share their insights and personal stories, giving testimony to the climate issues they’ve witnessed around the world.

Tom Heap, Presenter, Countryfile and 39 Ways to Save the Planet, BBC
Liz Bonnin, Science, Natural History and Environmental Broadcaster
Rachel Corp, Editor, ITV News
Ciaran Jenkins, Scotland Correspondent, Channel 4 News
Sarah Whitehead, Deputy Head of Newsgathering, Sky News
STV speaker tbc


The Voiceless Revolution

Hosted by planetSHINE founder and CEO, Rachel McClelland and Scottish entrepreneur and Prickly Thistle founder, Clare Campbell, The Voiceless Revolution will be an entertaining, inspiring and inclusive mix of real talk,
film and action focused on the communities who, until now, haven’t had a voice amid the climate emergency.

We are bringing together a committee of real people; 21 st century heroes of all races, ages, genders and species, and with an emphasis on the working classes, to represent the planet and its diverse mix of people and other species. Young and old will be welcome to share their stories, their struggles, their hopes and dreams.

Our heroes – people from all walks of life – face a huge problem; a broken society and a devastated planet and they are the ones who will suffer the most. Not only that, but they have one thing in common – they have been powerless for too long. Overwhelmed by the scale of the climate emergency combined with sometimes living on the fringes of society, they haven’t had a voice…until now.

The Voiceless Revolution is a coming together of the disenfranchised, the marginalised and the unrepresented.

Whilst the greatest minds on the planet – governments, business leaders and entrepreneurs – have been trying in vain to solve the problem, there is still much to do and not much time in which to do it.

We now need to listen to the planet, to marginalised communities, to all species. We need to collaborate at every step of the way and we need to listen and learn from each other.

The Voiceless Revolution will ensure that everyone is listened to. The backbone of the world, of industry, of life is ready to take centre stage.

The grafters, the creators, the refugees, the cleaners, the sweepers, the homeless, the machinists, the miners, the care experienced, the child birthers, the taxi drivers, the lions, the worker bees, the companion dogs. We are bringing them all to the conversation and through a mix of discussion, film, the arts and a huge positive call to action, we aim to ensure that everybody, who is being impacted or will be impacted by the climate emergency, is included.

This is humanity, and other species, at their finest.

It’s time for drastic measures.

It’s time to listen to the voiceless.

Join us, be heard and be a part of a new revolution!


Voices from the Forest: A Film Showcase For People and Forests

The Environmental Investigation Agency, If Not Us Then Who and Rainforest Foundation UK, along with Kaoem Telapak and the Tenure Facility, present a showcase of short films highlighting the role local communities play in forest protection, and the urgent need to include them as partners to protect the threatened forests of the world.

The films will present challenges and solutions in trying to protect forests in Indonesia and the Congo Basin. Forest advocates and local community leaders will give presentations to accompany the films that will highlight recent challenges and ongoing efforts by communities protecting and managing their forests.

If Not Us Then Who will premiere a film produced by
Indigenous People in Indonesia with an Indigenous Leader presenting alongside it. EIA will present clips from their new film Indonesia: the Fight for the Remaining Forest alongside presentations by Indonesian forest advocates Mardi Minangsari and Abu Meridian. Rainforest Foundation UK will present films on community forestry and the steps communities are taking to protect forests in the Congo Basin and West Africa.


A Beautiful Planet

The Award-winning IMAX film, A Beautiful Planet is a breath-taking portrait of Earth from space, providing a unique perspective and increased understanding of our planet and galaxy as never seen before. Made in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the film features stunning footage of our magnificent blue planet — and the effects humanity has had on it over time — captured by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, produced by IMAX Entertainment and Toni Myers — the acclaimed Canadian filmmaker behind celebrated IMAX® documentaries Blue Planet, Hubble 3D, and Space Station 3D.

Presented by the Global Climate Uprising Festival, the film contains warnings regarding climate change and environmental degradation using IMAX footage of Earth from space and time-lapse photography. While showing the impact of Earth’s warming climate, the film also offers positive reasons to take better care of our planet to depict how Earth’s warming climate is causing global disasters and how we are finding solutions in research from deep space to lunar explorations on the bottom of the ocean floor.

IMAX veteran Jackson Myers, son of the film’s director, the late Toni Myers, will join us for a post screening discussion and Q&A. Captain Samantha Cristoforetti, European Space Agency Astronaut has been invited to address the audience. Captain Cristoforetti holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European and is the first Italian woman in space.


Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, a cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet

The High Commission of Canada in the UK presents an exclusive IMAX screening of the multiple-award winning Canadian documentary, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, a cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet.

From concrete seawalls covering 60% of China’s mainland coast to the psychedelic potash mines of Russia’s Ural Mountains, Canadian directors Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky take us on a provocative journey exploring our species’ impact on the planet.

The Anthropocene Project is a multidisciplinary body of work combining art, film, virtual reality, augmented reality and scientific research to investigate human influence on the state, dynamic and future of the Earth.

For more details please visit https://theanthropocene.org/ Screening will be accompanied by introductory remarks and a post screening discussion. Details will be released closer to the event. Presented by the High Commission of Canada in The UK, with grateful thanks to Motion Picture Solutions and The IMAX Corporation.


Voices Of The Land by Listening to the Land Pilgrimage for Nature & Friends

On September 4, 2021, a group of ordinary people set off on a 500 mile pilgrimage from London to Glasgow, on a mission to rediscover their roots and inspire multitudes to slow down, connect with nature and articulate their love for the living world. This pilgrimage has caused a ripple effect and inspired people to walk all around the world.

The event will feature a short documentary of this epic journey along the Spine of Albion in the UK and will showcase indigenous and re-indigenised people from around the world who are connecting to the earth and to one another to stand up for all we are about to lose; supported by letter readings and followed by soundbites from indigenous people and other groups who walked their land around the globe.

Speakers: representatives of indigenous and re-indigenised pilgrims from the UK and around the world, Listening to the Land – Pilgrimage for Nature co-founders Jolie Booth and Anna Lehmann, Kay Michael director of Letters to the Earth; Nick Lunch director of Insight Share and representatives of Still Moving and Wisdom Keepers


Hope Springs Eternal – A Sonic Landscape

In our contribution to COP26, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has worked in partnership with Scotland House, Scotland’s international enterprise network, to stimulate global conversations and provide a diverse range of artistic responses to the climate change debate.

In a year of reflection, and focused on the goals of COP26, we have developed a multi-disciplinary programme of new works offering a creative response from our community of young artists at RCS – Hope Springs Eternal.

Climate change, and in particular adaptation, resilience and nature, are at the forefront of this specially commissioned series. These works share how a new generation of artists can respond to what is happening in the world, and to help us understand it, question it, mourn it, celebrate it, and learn from it.

Join us to enjoy a vibrant ensemble of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland guitarists performing music inspired by climate change. Each work will be performed alongside a newly commissioned film, inspired by the music, created by RCS Film students.

Our performance of music and film will include works by Leo Brouwer, Eddie McGuire and Philip Glass with each work purposely reflecting the constancy of change: we can either contribute positively to evolution by harmonising with nature and working together to forge a brighter future- or stand by in placid ignorance.

This performance will tour, travelling by bicycle, to small venues and schools in and around Glasgow as well as feature in the British Council-supported ‘Climate Portal’ that will act as a global portal to creativity, collaboration and conversation, connecting Scotland to the rest of the world.

Tim Beattie
Finlay Hay
Dominika Dawidowska
Lenny Rannallo


Retro/Future ‘I am not just water. But life itself. I have seen the ships come and go. And now? Who will harness my power for good?’

Over the course of six months, Tron Young Company, Letters to the Earth and ÚNA Festival have supported six young Glaswegians to exchange with young activists in Colombia exploring ideas around climate change and indigenous place-based wisdom. The research has fed directly into the creation of a new audio theatre piece, Retro/Future.

Looking to the future from the past, and looking at the past from the future. A cycle of life and of water. Clutha, the Goddess of the Clyde, takes us on a journey along the River Clyde to tell her story of what she has seen and where we are going. Exploring what we hope for, what we have inherited from our ancestors, and what we wanted our world to look like when our future was still ahead of us.

Tron Young Company will launch Retro/Future with a short documentary film followed by an opportunity to directly address the audience, and share experiences and learning from the cultural exchange.

Through ÚNA Festival, Indigenous Elders will bring to life Clutha, the Goddess of the river. They will invoke the goddess of the water, offer a ‘blessing’ of the waters from their traditions, which will give both the Young Company and the Glaswegian audience an experience unlike they would have encountered before.

Letters to the Earth with complement this audio-visual act by facilitating dialogue between everyone in the venue –Tron Young Company, Indigenous Elders and the audience too, encouraging them to deeply consider their hopes, dreams and fears for the future and to write and share their own Letters to the Earth.


Glasgow Meets New Orleans, Africa and the World: Climate Change Impacts Culture, Music and All of Us

Glasgow and New Orleans are both Cultural hubs, meccas for Culture bearers from the worlds of Music, Art and Performance. This Partnership and Collaboration developed over the last several years between those from the Performance worlds in both cities, and academics and scientists focused on Climate Change and how devastating weather events affect the diverse peoples who are ALSO the Musicians, Artists and Performers and a Historian who links them as well as serves as an expert on the impact of Hurricanes on a cultural city.

These two port cities are also linked through the historical reality of colonialism and the slave trade, but the upside of this is a deeply rich and very present celebration of the coming together of diverse cultures through this Performance of Music and Spoken Word. We have chosen speakers and musicians from both Glasgow and New Orleans, both in person and pre-recorded, to create a rich one-hour spoken, visual and musical performance during this global event. Hurricane Ida only serves to underline the importance of this Collaboration.

Dr. Charles Chamberlain is a New Orleans Historian and the Curator of the permanent Exhibit on Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Vivian Norris is a Creatuve Industries expert working with many years in Cultural Festivals around the world. GABO is a Glasgow-based, Afro-Celtic group of musicians, including co-founder, Lene de Montaigu on balafon, who moved to Glasgow from New Orleans and met Ghanian balafon player/singer Soulay Puliman, as well as the members of the Glasgow-based, contemporary Jazz group, Amara. GABO includes students from the Glasgow School of Art, teachers from the University of Edinburgh, immigrants from the Global South… and so this journey, weaving together two cities and many cultures began…


Red River Poetry: Listening to a Polluted River

A poetry performance of poems written for the AHRC-funded Red River: Listening to a Polluted project, plus films and sound-art works made for the project. Ideas explored include: what does it mean to restore a natural habitat? To what state do we restore it?

One of the key points of the focus of the Red River project is to explore the relationship between existing landscape aesthetics and biodiversity: paradoxically the ugly, damaged places along the banks of the Red River are the most bio-diverse. How do we protect these and enhance their complexity through engaging local communities in reevaluating the importance of these places through creative writing and other creative practices?

As a consequence of the global pandemic and its relationship to the climate crisis it has become more important than ever to recognise the importance of the restorative powers of nature on our doorstep. It will appeal to anyone interested in poetry and the way in which language can reframe and reevaluate our relationship to nature as being part of it and not apart from it.


Being Salmon, Being Human

The acclaimed storytelling and yoik performance “Being Salmon, Being Human” is inspired by Dr. Martin Lee Mueller’s award-winning book by the same name. The performance takes us on a journey through the extraordinary lives of wild salmon – sentient beings who are born in rivers, traverse the oceans, and return towards the end of their lives to their birth rivers to spawn and gift forward more life.

The performance explores what becomes of this awe-inspiring creature and her journey in the face of an expansive, profit-driven feedlot industry. Mueller appears on stage alongside renowned circumpolar sound poet Torgeir Vassvik and folklorist and storyteller Tiril Bryn. The storytelling unfolds alongside Vassvik’s evocative, haunting soundscape.

Together we take a deep-dive into the pancultural encounter between humans and their wild and domesticated animal companions, into stories told since time immemorial, practical knowledge passed on through the generations, and wisdom carried into our time through ancient music. We encounter some of the warriors who have recently stood up in defence of traditional fishing rights and territories. And we encounter her, the sentient being.

Born with a fierce determination to tune in to the speech of all things – to rain shower, lunar cycle, earth’s magnetism, algae bloom, or blue whale’s thousand-mile chant – she learns, as she matures, to think like the ocean. She becomes the ocean thinking itself within her. What is it like to be her? What is it like to be her feedlot cousin, whose life cycle is determined by the demands of a global capital market? How do we grasp that modern story of exploitation? And what clues do we find both in the wisdom of old and in contemporary science to stand up against the suffering of these present days, to unweave dysfunctional stories, and to re-story the ancient human-Earth relationship?


Tagore and the Environment

Join Dr Bashabi Fraser CBE for this insight into the wisdom of Rabindranath Tagore.

Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but he was also an environmentalist with a global perspective. Rabindranath and his circle’s ecological consciousness is as relevant today as ever. His legacy can be seen in current sustainability policies. His spirit is alive in all voices calling for climate justice and urgent reform.

‘We may become powerful by knowledge, but we attain fullness by sympathy. The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.’
-Rabindranath Tagore, ‘My School’

Bashabi Fraser is also an award winning poet with a global vision. This is an event to refresh and nourish our minds and spirits, from one of Scotland’s finest academics and co-founder of the Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies (ScoTs). Followed by audience discussion.

The event is hosted by the Junor Gallery, which had a presence in the heart of St Andrews, Scotland from 2017 to 2020 and is now online. Its open door policy with its focus on art and poetry, discussion and debate honours the vital role of culture in reflecting on our experience and effecting social change.


Coast to coast: nature-based solutions for climate, biodiversity and people – lessons learned and stories from the ground.

Join us for the premiere of an inspirational film highlighting coastal habitat restoration with examples from the UK, China, South Korea and the Cayman Islands, followed by an expert Q&A panel discussion.

Hosted by the RSPB and the Environment Agency, this event will showcase successful examples of habitat restoration in coastal wetlands and illustrate the benefits to climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, the economy, and health and well-being of local communities. The event will share lessons learned from implementation and community engagement and facilitate discussion around the value of these sites.

Examples of projects illustrated will include the Central Mangrove Wetland in the Cayman Islands, Medmerry in the UK, Shanghai Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve and Jiangsu Yancheng Yellow Sea World Heritage Site in China and the South Korean Yellow Sea Getbol World Heritage Site. Through these projects, and others, this event will explore the ecological and cultural benefits that protecting these habitats can bring for the environment and local people.

The past 200 years has resulted in significant global loss of nature-rich, carbon-storing coastal wetlands, which provide a lifeline for millions of people. This event demonstrates how through restoring, protecting and creating these habitats we can make coastlines more resilient to sea level rise and coastal erosion, whilst providing significant benefits for people and nature, through using nature-based solutions.


Arctic Drift – A climate research documentary on the most extensive scientific expedition to the Arctic in history – ‘MOSAiC’

If we don’t make immediate and sweeping efforts to combat climate warming, we’ll soon see ice-free Arctic summers, which will have incalculable repercussions for our own weather and climate. During the one-year MOSAiC expedition, led by the German Alfred Wegener Institute, hundreds of scientists from all over the world explored the epicentre of climate change on board a modern research icebreaker, RV Polarstern, which drifted with the ice through the Arctic Ocean.

The experts investigated the fate of sea ice and the coupled ocean and atmosphere system – for the first time near the North Pole during the polar winter and using modern instruments and sensors – to provide the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the region.

Scientists gathered terabytes of data on the sea ice, the atmosphere above, the ocean below, and the unique wildlife of the Arctic. They observed organisms in and underneath the ice – an ecosystem that eludes remote sensing. This unprecedented data will make it possible to represent more accurately complex interactions in the Arctic climate system.

Camera teams from UFA Show & Factual accompanied the international team of climate scientists for an entire year. The 90-minute documentary takes viewers on a breath-taking and vital expedition to the Arctic, where temperatures are rising at least twice as quickly as in the rest of the world. The MOSAiC expedition set out to substantially enhance our understanding of the Arctic Ocean and Earth’s climate.

The documentary is accompanied by a discussion session with climate scientists: Prof Antje Boetius and Prof Markus Rex (both Alfred Wegener Institute) and producer Phillip Grieß (UFA) will offer further insights into this extraordinary, year-long expedition and answer questions on the latest research findings and climate change.


The Future of Wildlife Filmmaking – Beyond the Frame

In this session the filmmakers behind some of the most loved nature documentaries on the planet come together to discuss what role wildlife films could, and should, play to help create a safe and just future for the living world.

COP26 is an opportunity to have some brave conversations. It is time to explore if the films being made are doing all they can to help, if the large carbon footprint of making such films is justifiable, what these films are excluding from the frame and, most importantly, the potential they have to evolve and redefine success.

In a series of short films we will hear from wildlife filmmakers from across the globe that have witnessed the ecological crises unfolding and are exploring alternative paths. This will be followed by a panel discussion on next steps with some of the biggest players in the industry. Can the wildlife filmmaking industry rise to the challenge?