This year a group of climate scientists from ICARUS, Maynooth University were thrilled to present a new climate change outreach stall in the Science Futures field at Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts, becoming the first Irish University to exhibit at the event! The aim of Science Futures is to bring the ‘science behind the headlines’ to almost 250,000 festival goers. Our brand new climate change outreach stall, called the ‘Circus of Climate Horrors’ highlights some of the impacts of climate change, including the increased likelihood of enhanced precipitation, sea-level rise and flooding events within a warming world, and provided us with an opportunity to engage with hundreds of people over the busy five day festival.
After months of preparation, planning and building we arrived at the festival, and set up our striking ‘Circus of Climate Horrors’ tent, decked out in the climate stripes, in anticipation of people arriving. Our interactive exhibits included the ‘Wheel of Global Warming’ aimed at informing people about different climate change scenarios, the ‘Great Wall of Atmospheres’, an interactive and competitive ball game that demonstrates how increased CO2 creates a warmer world, and a flood map of the UK and Ireland under a 2°C warming scenario. People absolutely loved the Climate Circus! Children and adults alike enjoyed the interactive games while learning about climate science, which gave festival-goers the chance to engage with concepts they may not have thought about before. It was a huge success!
Glastonbury attracts an incredibly varied demographic (background, age, lifestyle, location (UK and international), career level and sector), which provided a unique opportunity for us to chat and engage with numerous, diverse audiences, many of whom might rarely get to talk about climate change research with scientists. It was fascinating to hear their insights and thoughts too. This diversity and insight was highlighted by their written contributions to our climate wishes/pledges board which contains hundreds of inspiring individual and collective actions to deal with climate change. We plan in the future to present the Circus of Climate Horrors at more events that provide opportunities for effective and meaningful engagement with a broad group of people about the importance of climate change and its impact!