State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Crossroads Project Taps into a Deeper Connection to Climate

Robert Davies, Crossroads Project
Robert Davies

Climate science can come across as a little dry, so Robert Davies, a physicist at Utah State University, thought he’d spice it up with music and visual art, to penetrate deeper into his audiences’ consciousness.

The result is The Crossroads Project, coming to Symphony Space Feb. 13. The performance, sponsored by The Earth Institute, will be a collaboration between Davies, who frequently lectures on climate change; the Fry Street Quartet; and sculptor Lyman Whitaker, painter Rebecca Allan and photographer Garth Lenz.

After the performance, Gavin Schmidt, climate scientist and deputy director of the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, will join William Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, for a conversation about climate change.

Gavin Schmidt
Gavin Schmidt

“I had been presenting the science of climate change and sustainability for five years to audiences of all flavors, and I came to believe that it’s not that people weren’t getting it — they just weren’t feeling it,” Davies says in a short video about the project on the Crossroads website. “I was looking for a better way to convey the scale and the urgency of the problem.”

The Fry Street Quartet will play a piece commissioned especially for Crossroads, “Rising Tide,” by composer Laura Kaminsky. The group also will perform the first movement of Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in B-flat major, “Sunrise” Op. 76; and the final movement of Leo Janáček’s String Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer Sonata.”

In the interplay of performers and instruments in a string quartet, “you have a living, breathing metaphor toward the complexity of natural systems,” viola player Bradley Ottesen says in the video.

The performance and talk runs from 7:30-10 p.m. Feb. 13 at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway. For tickets, visit the website. For information, email or call 212-864-5400.

The Crossroads Project also will perform Feb. 9 at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, Feb. 15 at Hudson Opera House and Feb. 16 at Wave Hill Garden and Cultural Center.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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