ACT NOW: A Climate Series

ACT NOW! is a climate series asking the question: How can events become climate-neutral and what role can culture play in the upcoming transformation? 

A mix of concert, discussion, exhibition, film and art activity took place in October 2023 with the aim to address just that, coordinated by Culture Declares Hannover with support from Scientists for Future Germany and cultural organisations across Hannover, Germany.

A musician is pictured on stage from behind, with stage lights pointing toward them
Photo by Mark Muehlhaus

“As part of our new ACT NOW! series, we want to gather lots of practical experience on how events can be implemented in a climate-neutral way and at the same time explore the question of what role culture can play in the upcoming transformation.”

project manager and climate officer Kolja Schwab. 

Concert with HUNDREDS – Support: Serpentin 

After a year of preparation, the time had finally come: the first concert with the lowest possible climate impact was about to take place in the Pavillon. On 6th October 2023, the local hero SERPENTIN – the Hanoverian singer, songwriter and producer – opened the act with performances including her climate song “Mother” from the climate sampler “No Music on a Dead Planet” by Culture Declares Hannover.

Photo by Mark Muehlhaus
Photo by Mark Muehlhaus

The stage was joined by headliners the HUNDREDS, who had travelled to the venue by train to be as climate-neutral as possible, following their successful electro-acoustic tour. HUNDREDS have been active against the climate crisis for many years with Music Declares Emergency, among others, and were therefore the perfect live act to start the new climate series. With the song “Wilderness”, which according to singer Eva is a dystopian fairy tale about the climate crisis, the HUNDREDS drew attention to the need for action.

Take Action Now! Climate movements from Hanover present themselves 

Climate movements from Hanover presented themselves within the framework of “Take Action Now” and offered activating information and action on the climate crisis. At the stand of Scientists for Future Hannover, for example, everything revolved around the much-discussed heating law and the heat transition. There was not only the opportunity to get scientifically sound information, but also to see a heat pump in action.

Photo by Mark Muehlhaus
Photo by Mark Muehlhaus

There was also great interest at the stand of Culture Declares Hannover, which invited visitors to print second-hand shirts and patches with climate motifs. There was also a writing station where people could write letters to the Earth. Also present were: Fridays for Future, Students for Future, Parents for Future, Music Declares Emergency, Extinction Rebellion Hannover and the public transport campaign “Wir fahren zusammen“. It was a good opportunity to get to know different climate movements and learn more about the climate crisis.

Photo by Mark Muehlhaus

Climate protest in the Leinemasch: short film & talk with activists 

About exactly one year after the intensification of the protests against the widening of the southern expressway and the beginning of the forest occupation “Tümpeltown”, we looked at the climate protests in the Leinemasch. The short documentary film “LEINEMASCH BLEIBT! – An impression from the struggle for a change in transport” by Finn Andorra, was shown three times in a row to a packed hall, giving a deeper insight into the protest movement. In addition, between the screenings, activists from the Leinemasch reported on the situation on the ground and the course of the protests, because on 1 October the clearing season began again. 

Activists on bikes cycle on the road under the canopy of trees, with activists in the trees holding up a large sign that reads "Besetzt Leinemasch bleibt"
Movie still from ‘Leinemasch bleibt’ by Finn Andorra

Role of Art and Culture in the Climate Crisis – Discussion and Exhibition 

An exhibition and a fishbowl discussion were dedicated to the question of what role art and culture can play in the climate crisis and the upcoming transformation. Teresa Becker from Music Declares Emergency, Robin Alef from Fridays for Future Germany, Lena Kußmann from theatre „Theater an der Glocksee“ and Lars Kompa from the city magazine „Stadtkind“ took part in the discussion with activists, cultural workers and the audience. Among other things Lena Kußmann showed how she created music with plants for the project “Beat of the plants”!

Photo by Mark Muehlhaus

From 20 September to 17 October, the accompanying exhibition “No Art on a Dead Planet” showed the wide range of artistic approaches to the climate crisis in the Pavilion corridor. On display were texts and letters by, among others, actress Emma Thompson, Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and artist Yoko Ono. These were taken from the award-winning book “Letters to the Earth: Writing to a Planet in Crisis“, which were created as part of the global campaign of the same name. Also on display was a street art action in Hanover by Extinction Rebellion, poster designs by Creatives for Future, the Hanover climate sampler “No Music on a Dead Planet” by Culture Declares Emergency and the project “The Morning After” by Music Declares Emergency, for which musicians such as Milky Chance, Provinz, Joris and many more created record artworks with visions of the future. 

A person stands in front of photographs exhibited on the wall
Photo by Mark Muehlhaus

Throughout the event, the emissions were determined, made visible and will later be collected in a project balance sheet. Managing Director Susanne Müller-Jantsch was already very excited about the start of the new series:

“We are looking forward to many exciting insights and a lively exchange with the visitors*. It’s great that we can continue the series next year with three more events.” 

The series is funded by the Zero-Climate Neutral Art and Culture Projects programme of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Thank you to Kolja Schwab of Culture Declares Hannover for sharing this story.

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