“How do you talk about something that is bigger than language? What words do you choose when a scientist shows you how everything will change in the next 100 years? How the glaciers will vanish, and become the ocean, how the ocean will rise and swallow coastal areas, while the pH of the oceans, the acidity will change more than it has in the previous 50 million years? How do you understand 50 million years? How do you understand that 0.3 in the logarithmic scale of the pH levels? 50 million years are too big to register, 0.3 in pH too small and abstract to understand. A person born today can measure in his lifetime greater changes in the oceans than, not only the whole evolution of man but ten times that. Such change is not just historical, you could say it’s mythological”.
-Andri Snær Magnason, The white noise of climate change.
(The language of climate change), in Levrini O., Tasquier G., Amin T., Branchetti L., Levin M. (Eds.) (2021) Engaging with Contemporary Challenges through Science Education Research: Selected Papers from the ESERA 2019 Conference. Springer Springer Nature Switzerland AG
One year after its beginning, the FEDORA partnership organises the first International Event to publicly present the project.
For this occasion, we have invited the Icelandic writer Andri Snær Magnason whose work has been deeply inspiring to FEDORA's research. With its books and documentaries, the writer is providing a great contribution to describing the graveness of the global changes that are impacting not only the climate and our material lives but also our same imagination and the ways that humans have elaborated to think and describe changes.
The author, internationally renowned, whose books have been published in more than 20 languages, will give an online conference on Tuesday, September 14th (4.30-6.30 pm CEST). The event is organized by the FEDORA partnership and is hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy “A. Righi” of the University of Bologna (Italy) as part of the program of a summer school on storytelling in science titled “Officina di Narrazione della Scienza” (Laboratory for the Narrative of Science). The event will be held in English.
During the conference, Andri Snær Magnason will conduct the audience in a journey “On Time and Water”, as his last work is titled, showing the power of the narratives and imagination to understand “something that is bigger than language”. Indeed, as he writes in his abstract of the seminar “During the next 100 years we expect to see a fundamental change of all the elements of water on our planet. Many glaciers will melt and the sea levels will rise at a faster rate than has been seen before. Acidification will bring the oceans to a pH level not seen in 30 million years. Patterns of rain and snow will change dramatically in most areas. We could say that nature is not changing in geological speed anymore but entering human speed. This extreme shift is larger than any metaphor or any words or language we are used to. We could say that this issue is so large that it swallows all words and meaning. We hear words like “climate change” but for most people, they are just white noise, 99% of the real meaning is not included in our imagination. To describe a black hole you look at the surrounding galaxies and to understand these issues Andri weaves a web of stories from mythology, to his grandmother’s honeymoon on Europe’s largest glacier, to our understanding of our intimate time. The huge narrative emerging from this web of stories should be a source of inspiration and motivation for all scientific studies in the next decades.”
After the welcome from the Director of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Andrea Cimatti, and before the talk of Andri Snær Magnason, the coordinator of FEDORA, Olivia Levrini, will introduce the core ideas of the project. The event will be closed with a contribution by Sibel Erduran, local coordinator in FEDORA of the University of Oxford and president of the European Science Education Researchers Association (ESERA). She will provide points for reflection about the connections between Magnason’s work and the latest advances in science education research.
The speakers will then be happy to receive comments and questions.
The participation is free of charge after registering at this link. The event can be attended either remotely or face-to-face (Aula Magna, Department of Physics and Astronomy “A. Righi”, Via Irnerio 46, Bologna, 100 people maximum and with the COVID-19 green pass). During the registration, the participant can choose the preferred modality and will receive the instruction for the online
Andri Snær Magnason is an Icelandic writer born in Reykjavik. His book, On Time and Water is coming out in 32 languages in 2020 and 2021, exploring the language of climate change and why data and science have not reached our souls or policy. Andri is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays and documentary films. His book LoveStar won the Philip K. Dick special citation in 2014 and Le Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire in France 2016. His children’s book, The Story of the Blue Planet was the first children’s book to win the Icelandic literary award and has been published in 32 languages. His book Dreamland, a Self Help Manual for a Frightened Nation has contributed to a new energy policy in Iceland and the vision of the Highland National Park in the Central Highlands of Iceland. Andri Snær Magnason ran for president in Iceland in 2016 and came third in the election. His documentary films, Dreamland, The Hero's Journey to the Third Pole and Apausalypse have travelled to film festivals worldwide.