Can Creatives save the world?

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Creatives and the climate crisis

“Dear Creative Industries

We are in a climate and ecological emergency. What are we going to do to help?

We, the signatories of this letter, believe that our industry has the power to enact positive change, and that it is our duty to use our creative talents and resources to help mitigate the climate and ecological crisis.”

Create and Strike

Climate strikes incite global awareness

September 2019 has been historic for the climate crisis.  Two huge global climate strikes were organised for the 20th and 27th September, as well as the UN emergency climate summit in New York on Monday 23rd.  The coverage has been huge, it is almost impossible to scroll through social media, or tune into the news without the face or voice of Greta Thunberg.  What an immense difference she has made in a year as captured by the juxtaposition of two images that have been doing the rounds on social media.

In over 150 countries, people are stepping up to support young climate strikers and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.

“Millions of adults are joining in a huge wave of what will kickstart renewed action all over the world. The urgency of the climate crisis requires a new approach and a response centred on human rights, equity, and justice. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.” 

Global Climate Strike

Creative approaches to climate change

Create and Strike called on creative industries to create something that amplifies the climate emergency message of September’s strikes. At the time of writing, it had 140 signatories and counting, including those from Iris, Droga5, BBH, Lucky Generals, Wieden+Kennedy, Rankin and Ogilvy UK.  Creatives, inventors, engineers, scientists, forward thinkers from all over the world are putting their heads together to try to find solutions and raise awareness.

Surround Vision at Climate Week in New York

Among these talents are WardWilliams Creative client Surround Vision who were also in New York for climate week. Surround Vision is an award-winning, full-service VR & AR production studio based in London. The team includes some of the most passionate and experienced VR specialists in the world with a mission to tell ground-breaking stories. Whist in New York they showcased a VR experience they shot in Medellin Colombia for the Ashden Awards. The film highlights the rising urban temperatures in Medellin, rises driven by climate change. The city’s response was to create “Green Corridors” to bring people together by planting vegetation, creating a better environment for everyone. 

“The Green Corridors project shades cyclists and pedestrians, cools built-up areas and cleans the air along busy roads. The city’s botanical gardens train people from disadvantaged backgrounds to become city gardeners and planting technicians. Temperatures have fallen by two or three degrees Celsius in places, with bigger reductions expected in the future.”

Unity for Humanity Challenge award for Clean A/R

Clean A/R App

The 2019 Unity for Humanity Challenge supports creators who are developing projects that encompass themes of social, healthcare, science, education, humanitarian and/or environmental issues. The aim is to enable developers who are using Unity for good and the competition saw over 200 applicants apply.

We wanted to say a huge congratulation to Richard Nockles and Dan Stankowski of Surround Vision for winning the Unity for Humanity Challenge 2019 with their Clean A/R app.

The Clean A\R app uses modelled air quality data from Kings College London to help visualise the pollution in cities using an augmented smog effect on social media.

The team will use the UK as a springboard for a global campaign that uses shareable AR filters on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, as well as the ‘Clean A\R App’ which will help to raise awareness of pollution internationally. The project will work closely with pollution experts at Client Earth and the C40 group.

“The UN’s sustainable development goals are a blueprint for how we as humans can fix ourselves and with the Clean A\R App we want people to understand what pollution is in their cities and encourage them to demand change.”

Surround Vision

On winning, Richard Nockles, Creative Director had this to say about winning the prize:

“This prize represents a huge endorsement for Surround Visions’ commitment to ‘VR for Good’ and we’re very proud to have been recognised by ‘Unity for Humanity’. As documentary makers we’ve pivoted our core business in the last 18 months from 360º video and embraced Unity to create interactive experiences that push the boundaries of documentary storytelling. We’re now developing a new style of narrative that allows audiences to walk into the documentary using the latest ‘inside-out pixel tracking’ on mobile phones and the latest tetherless VR headsets.” 

Challenging perceptions with creativity

Can creatives save the world? Perhaps it’s too big a responsibility to put on their shoulders but it feels hopeful.  Only by challenging the status quo can a difference be made.  These creatives are finding new ways to use technology to the advantage of the planet, alternatives to fossil fuels, clever ways to deal with our plastic problem and a thousand other solutions, they are the heroes of our future and have our full support.

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