Accepted Paper:

Sealevel Rise as Drama: Transforming the Threat from Climate Change in Kiribati  
Wolfgang Kempf (University of Goettingen)Elfriede Hermann (University of Goettingen)

Paper short abstract:

Focusing on a drama on sealevel rise performed by a school class in the Pacific atoll state Kiribati, we argue that performing arts enable Kiribati‘s citizens to transform the threat from climate change into something manageable, enacting a vision of future survival for land and nation alike.

Paper long abstract:

Global warming, as projected by the climate sciences, will likely bring profound environmental changes to the Pacific islands, one familiar scenario being that of sealevel rise. Atoll states like Kiribati are deemed to be especially vulnerable, in light of this scenario (and others as well). Ever since the citizens of Kiribati were first confronted with powerful discourses on the consequences of climate change, they have responded with a series of coping measures. One involves the performing arts. In this presentation, we have chosen to examine a drama on sealevel rise performed by a college-level school class (a videoclip of the performance will be included as well). This piece begins by portraying the existential threat to Kiribati posed by rising waters. It then suggests a possible way out, a way that, if taken, would head off this looming worst-case-scenario: the global community must heed Kiribati's urgent call for them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The message is that while climate change and its consequences undoubtedly pose a challenge to those living in an atoll state, they are equally challenging to the industrial states themselves. Based on this case study, we argue that performing arts enable Kiribati's citizens to transform the threat from climate change into something manageable, enacting a vision of future survival for land and nation alike.

Panel P32
Visualizing Climate - Changing Futures?