The “Circus of Climate Horrors” is Ireland’s newest Climate Change outreach project. Our unique experience of fun games also provides a chance to chat with real climate scientists. Built and run by researchers at the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units (ICARUS) Institute within the Geography Department, the Circus engages audiences with relevant, contemporary issues surrounding rising greenhouse gases, sustainability, and future climate action through a series of interactive games and activities for all ages. Within weeks of debuting at Glastonbury in June 2023 (which was a resounding success!) the Circus had invitations from Science Foundation Ireland to attend the Mind Fields area at Electric Picnic 2023, and the International Geographical Conference in 2024.
To ensure the longevity of the Circus and to give postgraduate students hands on experience of participating in climate outreach, we ran a workshop for the Climate Change Masters class and PhD students from ICARUS. The students then expertly ran the exhibit during Research Week 2023. The ‘Great Wall of Atmospheres’, proved to be a particular draw with many returning to either get on the leader board, or trying to beat their previous time! On a more serious note, by highlighting some of the impacts of climate change, the circus provided our postgraduate students with an opportunity to engage with hundreds of Maynooth University students and staff over the busy four day period. Many of whom might rarely get to talk about climate change with scientists. It was fascinating to hear their understanding and awareness about these important issues. These insights were 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.