Tags: Joe Smith

In a morning briefing the science teams (html to Disko Bay science on CF) sketch out their own ambitions for the trip and plot the place of their own work within global climate science. It’s fair to call understanding climate change the most ambitious and important intellectual project of the last 50 years. For the artists and musicians, but also for those of us that work on the political, social or design side of the climate story this direct experience of science practice is one of the big payoffs on the trip. Carol, Simon, Dave and Emily are working long long days to prepare their kit and get the experiments under way. For us onlookers there’s the satisfaction of getting to the base of the pyramid of evidence that underpins this enormous topic.

After a big dose of climate science there were plenty of people who wanted to have a conversation about whether climate change is a problem we can fix. A good chunk of the afternoon taken up with a presentation that architect Sunand and architectural engineer Francesca and myself put together hurriedly over lunch. About six hours of material to shoe horn into the hour set aside. We plot the main contours of current climate politics at an international level (with little effort to disguise our own sympathy for the contraction and convergence approach). We argue that the next ten years is going to be an exhilarating time to be working to change things for the better. Plenty of responsibility, plenty of opportunity.

With an audience stacked with artists we press the case that addressing climate change requires a cultural shift in perspective in parallel with good science or apt policy. The last third of the talk gives dozens of examples of green thinking being successfully deployed in architecture. The headline: CO2 emissions growth ‘IS a problem we can fix’… We know we haven’t talked enough about adaptation or the dread possibilities of being tipped rapidly into a different climatic state but there’s more than a week of talking ahead. If we get a chance to tidy up the slides we’ll post the presentation on the Cape Farewell website in due course.

Plenty of solo activity in the gaps – you’ll hear musicians noodling away in their cabins or trip over artists messily at work on deck. Plenty of film editing and tapping at keyboards too.

For readers of the blog who are OU students you may know that we’re beavering away making a new first level course (U116 Environment: Journeys through a changing world)…. I’ve a couple of questions for my co-authors. Today a question for polar scientist Mark Brandon: the science team are launching an Argo buoy in the next few days. First can you post a few lines on what kind of evidence these 3000 or so data-gathering devices are offering about climate change? Second: how did the international collaborative framework come about that means that 3000 or so of these expensive pieces of kit (£25k each or so?) are bobbing around the oceans. Impressive example of cooperation.

For the next days look at Sunday and read more of Joe’s posts, and his colleagues’ responses, on the Science, Technology and Nature Blog.