The sculptures of FutureSHORELINE win the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra”
The artistic installation showcasing Boston’s changing shorefront due to sea level rise has been recognised as the best climate change communication project out of over 100 candidates. The first edition of the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award brought together a distinguished international jury, a new global platform that collects the foremost projects increasing climate awareness, over a hundred candidates, and two Special Mentions jointly assigned by the CMCC Foundation and Rai Radio3 Scienza: the beginning of a journey into the multifaceted communication of the greatest challenge facing present and future generations.
A blend of art and science to communicate climate change and motivate action. This is the hearth of the project FutureSHORELINE, winner of the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra” 2021, the international competition promoted by the CMCC Foundation – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change to showcase and reward the best communication initiatives that spread awareness on climate change.
Announced and awarded in Milan on September 30, 2021 during the event “Voices of the transition. Climate change communication for a sustainable future” – an afternoon of interviews with international guests, screenings, theatrical and musical performances, and debates on how to find the words and means to raise awareness on climate change – the winners achieved the best results out of over a hundred projects from around the world.
The event was held just as the preparatory ministerial meeting to the 2021 UNFCCC climate negotiations (Pre-COP 26) begins in Milan.
FutureSHORELINE is an art + science project that calls attention to the imminent changing nature of Boston’s (Massachusetts) shorefront due to sea level rise. The connection between rising waters and rising land is made through a temporary public art installation for the Fort Point Channel (October 2020 – September 2021) that visualizes the rising waters of the channel and the proposed raising of the shoreline to adapt to the new normal of higher water levels. As such, the installation is a site-specific visualization of both the expected flood levels, and a partial full-scale representation of the proposed berms suggested as one of the potential solutions to mitigate flooding.
The Jurors recognized in the project a successful combination of art and science with a site-specific installation that has the potential to reach a global and general audience and have an impact on people’s lives.
“FutureSHORELINE is an innovative climate art installation that brings attention not only to the threat of sea level rise but visualizes adaptation strategies in ways that can capture people’s attention and are easy to understand for the general public,” it reads in the Jury’s note. “It is a glocal project: although it is site-specific and displayed in a public space for all passers-by, it also reaches a global audience through photography, videos and various media echoing the project. Moreover, it is a social science research project that investigates impacts of the installation on climate change adaptation perceptions and engagement, to understand how art can have an impact on real life. FutureSHORELINE meets the essential nature of the Award and of Rebecca Ballestra, the brilliant artist after whom it is named.”
Authors of the project Carolina Aragón and Ezra Markowitz from the University of Massachusetts Amherst said at the award ceremony: “It is a great honor to have FutureSHORELINE receive the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award ‘Rebecca Ballestra’, to be in the company of the many wonderful initiatives worldwide using science and art to bring the best of humanity forward to address the climate emergency, and to be part of efforts to rethink both what climate change communication looks like in practice as well as how we track the impacts of our efforts on diverse audiences.”
The project received a cash prize of 5,000 Euro.
With the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra”, the CMCC Foundation launches a global platform that collects and rewards the best projects dedicated to communicating the greatest challenge of the coming decades.
This initiative honours the memory of the artist Rebecca Ballestra, who was committed to shaping a sustainable future and promoting positive transformation processes in the fields of science, humanities, economy, ecology and art. Ballestra collaborated with the CMCC Foundation in many cultural initiatives. With this award, the CMCC wanted to follow up on her vision of “creating a platform that brings together different experiences, shares knowledge and attempts to really transform our future”.
The CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra” welcomed proposals from individuals, teams or organizations proposing innovative projects, initiatives and tools available to the public in the field of the communication of climate change.
Out of over 150 applications received, the 108 admitted projects of this first edition came from a large variety of countries and contexts, drawing an inspiring landscape of initiatives innovating climate change communication through various forms of art, theatre, video making, music, photography, journalism, gaming, education, data visualization, and the use of digital channels and tools. Most of the admitted projects came from Europe (79), but candidates also included North America (10), Africa (9), Asia (5), Latin America (3) and Australia (2).
“The transition to a zero carbon economy requires technological innovation, large investments, appropriate domestic policies, an equitable distribution of the burden, and international cooperation. But it also requires a mindset change and cultural innovation. To this end communication is crucial. Inclusion, awareness and participation are indeed cornerstones of an effective and rapid climate transition,” said Prof. Carlo Carraro, creator of the initiative and member of the CMCC Strategic Committee.
The awarded project was selected by an international Jury composed of Mike Favetta (Meteorologist, Co-Founder of Climate Without Borders), Giuseppe La Spada (Water Artist, Sustainability Communication Expert), Michael E. Mann (Director of the Earth System Science Center, Penn State University), Catterina Seia (Founder and Chair of the CCW-Cultural Welfare Center), and Meera Selva (Deputy Director at Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism).
“Communication is a fundamental lever for taking action and addressing climate change in its complexity. At Carbonsink we see how tangible this is in the private sector. In the future, it will be increasingly important to act in an innovative and responsible way, for institutions, businesses, communities, and individuals. This is why we are so proud to support this initiative,” said Andrea Maggiani, CEO and Founder of Carbonsink, which supported this edition of the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award.
Other finalists announced at the event include two projects from South Africa.
“Using Wikipedia to enhance global knowledge on climate change” is a project carried out by the non-profit organization SouthSouthNorth to enhance the quality and accessibility of climate change information on Wikipedia, particularly related to the global South, enhance the confidence and skills of climate change researchers and practitioners – especially women – to edit Wikipedia, and empower a community of climate change editors from the global South. The project includes two edit-a-thons hosted in collaboration with Wikimedia Foundation, a webinar to raise awareness about Wikipedia and a guide for researchers, practitioners, and communicators.
The jurors recognized the project’s potential for lasting impacts on climate change awareness and making a difference by using effective tools and a participatory approach.
“Climate Change in South Africa mini-series” included a 3-part comedy news explainer series and a live studio special unpacking the climate crisis in South Africa with great detail through accessible humorous video content. The project is authored by Bouncing Biscuit Studios and is part of the Politically Aweh satirical news show, which aims to help young South Africans ‘get aweh’ (i.e. raise their awareness) about important issues that affect them.
The jury agreed it deserved recognition for its innovative and engaging format, suitable for a variety of geographical contexts – beyond South Africa and the Global South – and able to capture the attention of diverse audiences, including young people, and go beyond the climate science community.
At the event, two Special Mentions were jointly assigned by CMCC Foundation and Radio3 Scienza, the Italian public radio’s daily science show, to honour the memory of two pillars of science journalism in Italy, Rossella Panarese and Pietro Greco. The mentions were intended for Italian communication projects dealing with the topic of climate change with a multidisciplinary approach, through the languages of radio and writing, and with an outlook towards the future and possible solutions.
The special mention “Rossella Panarese”, named after the founder and producer of Radio3 Scienza, was assigned to FRidA – Forum della Ricerca dell’Università di Torino for the podcast “Da clima a fondo“, realised in collaboration with the project The Climate Route. The project was selected for its multidisciplinary approach, the attention paid to offering a diversity of voices and perspectives, its ability to transfer information and its technical quality.
The special mention “Pietro Greco”, named after the science writer and one of the hosts of Radio3 Scienza, was assigned to Nicolas Lozito, a journalist at Il Messaggero, for the newsletter “Il colore verde“. The project was selected for its attention to content and style, its ability to combine a light and appealing tone with the provision of rigorous and timely information, and its cross-cutting approach to climate change.
The CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra” was organized by the CMCC Foundation – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition, Consulat Honoraire de Monaco à Venise, Ca’Foscari University of Venice, All4Climate Italy 2021 and Rai per il Sociale, in partnership with BASE Milano, and in the context of the Sustainable Development Festival 2021 promoted by ASVIS. Media Partners: TGR and Rai Radio3.