2016: The Year to Take Action

2015, the year to 'save the planet', culminated in the signing of the historic Paris Climate Agreement. As we kick off 2016 there has never been a better time than now to set out your New Years resolution to go green!

2016-the year where the cogs really start turning when it comes to up-scaling climate change action and integrating sustainability into everything we do. A lot of this work started the day after the Paris conference concluded last December as governments, businesses and NGO's rushed to re-think strategies to tackle and adapt to a changing climate.

2016 however is not just about these closed-door re-structurings but its 2016 is bursting full of events, conferences, art installations and festivals focussed around embracing sustainability and tackling climate change in a post-Paris world. It's not been a hard calendar to fill - here are the highlights:

Wish You Were Here...Saving The Environment


As concern for the environment is growing, so is the interest in experiencing the wonderful, magnificent but also fragile parts of our planet.

Eco-tourism is no longer the domain of gap-yah students but it is an industry that is booming - scratch that Caribbean cruise and head to Antarctica or the Amazon instead.

The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), is a unique annual conference focused on the advancement of sustainability goals for the tourism industry. In 2016 the conference heads to Tampa Bay, Florida, on January 25th-27th.

With Sustainable Development Goals confirmed in 2015 this conference will seek to address how eco-tourism can help address these economic and environmental development targets.

Eco-tourism holiday programmes often include an educational aspect (so it's basically a more upmarket geography fieldtrip). It's hoped that people seeing and learning about these amazing (and often disappearing landscapes) will then act as ambassadors to help protect them, as well as contributing economically to their preservation through tourist levies.

The success of eco-tourism for people and planet however depends on heavy industry regulation to avoid a tragedy of the commons and degradation of these protected landscapes.

Underwater Art


HOLOSCENES is a performative climate - art piece which embodies the trauma of flooding. It was a hit in Miami last year and is returning to bring the sea level rise inspired piece to Hong Kong, March 24th-26th, Basel, June 16th-19th, and Miami Beach, December 1st-4th.

The performance installation by 37-year-old Lars Jan is inspired by his concerns over a warming world.

"A remarkable run of devastating floods in Columbia, Australia, New Jersey, India, Malaysia, Central Europe, Ethiopia, Benin, West Africa, Brazil, Northern Pakistan, Indonesia, Canada, Korea, Sumatra, Angola, Thailand, Japan, the Maldives, China, Nigeria, and other countries, have lost the veil of aberration and instead have assumed the mantle of the norm."

"These, and coming floods, are the inspiration for HOLOSCENES and the global nature of this collaboration"

Performers are placed inside a large aquarium where they must tackle everyday tasks and activities, such as mopping the floor, reading a newspaper or even sleeping.

The water inside the tank rises and drains at different speeds for 45 minutes, it sometimes rises and falls just like the ebbs and flows of real-time global environmental data. Performers are often forced to swim to the top of the aquarium to take a breath of air.

The Cannes of Climate


This isn't just one highlight of the year, but a whole host of them as the festival runs from 1st-9th April.

The Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY), sponsored by the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, is one of America's premier student-run environmental film festivals. Every spring, EFFY showcases incisive, cutting edge films that highlight the environmental and social issues of our time. Expert panels of filmmakers, celebrities, scholars, journalists, activists, and public servants provide our audiences with context, criticism, and greater insights after most screenings.

Change Your Ways


Adaptation Futures is the biennial conference of the Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA). In 2016 the European Commission and the Government of the Netherlands co-host the fourth edition.

Adaptation Futures 2016 is where scholars, practitioners, policymakers and business people from all around the world go to connect, learn and inspire. It highlights adaptation practices and solutions for people, governments and businesses. Watch this space to see the most exciting and innovative adaption ideas being showcased and where the next big ideas are born.

Party In A Glacier Under The Midnight Sun


Secret Solstice festival, Iceland, tops this list of green events as it get's us back to nature while experiencing that all time summer favourite, the music festival!

Secret Solstace places a multi-genre lineup, including headline act Of Monsters & Men, against Iceland's breathtaking natural backdrop. Electronic, indie, urban and folk artists travel from all over the world to celebrate the height of summer in a spot where the sun never does down.

What more could top this festival but the 'Into the Glacier' experience - the world's only party inside a glacier! Guests will venture into Langjökull glacier, the second largest in Iceland and Europe, and party in the underbelly of this giant and melting ice mass.

Green Games for a Blue Planet


"Green Games for a Blue Planet"- Brazil's ambitious environmental theme for the 2016 Olympic Games. The games are to run completely on alternative energy sources and already 105,000 trees have been planted across the state to offset carbon dioxide emissions.

In preparation for the games the Brazilian government have passed a law to ensure all developments for the purpose of the Olympic games meet certain sustainability standards.

The law addresses a range of measures including:

• Taking advantage of natural light
• Implementing water saving techniques
• Reducing the generation of waste and encouraging recycling
• Prioritizing electric or biofuel powered vehicles in group transport systems.

Inside Out - Art on the Headland


Activate Performing Arts is preparing to once again transform Dorset's landscape in the UK, presenting Inside Out Dorset in September 2016 with 10 days of high quality, large scale outdoor theatre, dance, installation, and performance across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

A nationwide call for artists' is currently out for the 2016 event - 'Hengistbury Headlines'.

Artists are being asked to propose ideas which explore the landscape, heritage, wildlife and environment of Hengistbury Head, as well as respond to the global issue of climate change. The festival has been running for a number of years and provided awe-inspiring outdoor art on the south coast of England.



The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC will take us to Marrakesh, Morocco from the 7th-18th November.

By November it is expected that most countries will have signed up to ratify the Paris agreement and will be well underway implementing their national mitigation and adaptation plans.

There are a few unresolved issues after Paris which will be tabled at COP22 to be ironed out.

Transparency was a weak section in the Paris Agreement and COP22 will likely develop further guidance to determine what information should be provided by each country in order to facilitate clarity, transparency and general understanding of what each country is doing.

Photos: Via