ECOPOESIS PROJECT IN AOTEAROA/NEW ZEALAND: ENGAGING IMAGINATIVE MODES OF CLIMATE PERFORMANCE, CONVERSATION, AND ART MAKING ACROSS CULTURES
Leslie Carol Roberts, MFA, MA
Professor, Design, and Humanities and Sciences, faculty member at the Architectural Ecologies Lab, Former Dean of Design and MFA Writing Head; California College of the Arts (San Francisco, USA)
In 2018, a writer and an architect created a program called ECOPOESIS with the goal of gathering diverse groups to discuss climate change as feeling and experience, while engaging in shared design craft work. The project has three forms to date, curated, invitation-only gatherings, large public events attached to festivals, and online global reflections on local ecologies aligned with Earth Day. As in-person gatherings produced to counteract the doomsday data fixation around climate change, ECOPOESIS leverages human imagination via design, writing, and art to provoke pragmatic and positive hope for creating the Next Earth. This essay describes the participation of ECOPOESIS in The Performance Arcade Festival in New Zealand, dedicated to the topic of climate change. The Festival showed the role of the expressive arts and its ability to support the unity of the human community and to undertake large-scale initiatives, based on imagination and creativity, in order to overcome the consequences of the destruction and trauma brought about by climate change. In describing the group’s participation in this festival, the author refers to the devastating cyclone that occurred during the event and affected some areas of New Zealand.
Keywords: architecture, performance art, nature, environmental humanities, poetics, ecopoesis, climate change, creative imagination, cyclone, cyanotypes
How do we, as humans engaged with more-than-humans, perform climate change, our connection to ecologies, indigenous cosmologies, and western cultural hegemony? What if we created a festival with artists, musicians, and writers from all over the landscape of ecological thought and brought them together for two weeks on an island nation tucked into the high southern latitudes? What we know is that we would call it the Performance Arcade. And we would find 60,000- 90,000 people flocked to its diverse events over four days. This raises some fascinating points to ponder: When climate change is depicted in books, films, and the news media, there is no “joyous anxiety,” as Disaster Karaoke invited participants to engage in at the Performance Arcade. No, these other storytelling approaches are more focused on dread and trauma.
Yet what we know is this: Humans are social beings and we find a way to endure horrors and yet in their midst, there are social traditions such as weddings, the celebration of births, tea ceremonies, family dinners, and general planning for the future. In reality, dystopia is far more complex than it is as a cultural construct. Our initial instincts are not to battle each other, eat each other, kill each other but to help.
In this essay, I will discuss the 2023 ECOPOESIS Project engagement in Aotearoa/New Zealand, as invited guests of the 13-year-old, free admission, publicly and privately funded civic arts festival, Performance Arcade. I will also weave in “weather reports” depicting the realities of a menacing cyclone that bore down on this island nation. Later we would learn one-third to one-half of the people in its path would do little to prepare for the worst. I recommend typing Cyclone Gabrielle aftermath into your preferred search engine, selecting images, to see what we all saw on the North Island. I’ll add that when the camera people were able to get to the devastated areas, people were deeply traumatized and usually sobbing as they were interviewed. There were reports of some lawlessness but that was not the overwhelming response. Most of the feelings were aligned with: How might we help?
Performance Arcade is aligned with late-summer school holidays, and the team creates a temporary village of shipping containers along the waterfront, creating stages for the 30+ group and individual “acts,” of which a dozen were international in 2023. ECOPOESIS was honored to be selected.
This account is designed to offer something of a step-by-step guide or road map for those who might want to do ECOPOESIS in their communities. As the environmental philosopher Timothy Morton said to us when we collaborated with them, “we have all always been doing ECOPOESIS, we just didn’t know it.”
We hope this writing will spur similar efforts in forming culturally comfortable climate communities centered around art and design, alongside fulsome, highly local climate conversations.
We will gaze through a critical lens to capture real-world friction points in climate community building, and detail how we contended with challenges particular to Wellington, local punishing weather and an unexpected, insecure housing situation among them – then to a real crisis, which was the catastrophic cyclone to the north.
(Briefly on this last point, we had worked with several psychologists who specialized in trauma, particularly climate trauma, but in the end cut this part of our program, which was to be a series of questions we could later tabulate the answers to, creating some baseline data models for our work in other locales. How, we decided, could we ask people to recount their feelings about climate change when they and or their neighbors had in the two weeks lost their homes, farms, cars, and communities were entirely cut off due to roads and bridges being wiped out?)
We did not see this as a loss but rather an opportunity to adjust to current realities. Thus, each hour of each day took on a different meaning, as the weather shifted hourly at our site, and we had more intimate conversations based on ideas of “hope” for the future and what we could design and build together in that future for greater empathy and resilience.
Building climate communities in distant places, where there are cultural and other factors to consider, offers particular learnings that go beyond a form and set questions, not the least of which is maintaining good cheer, while balancing a scrappy mindset alongside pristine planning.
A brief history of the “ECOPOESIS” initiative
In the spring of 2018, I sat in a Vietnamese restaurant in Oakland, California, talking to my colleague Adam Marcus. Adam is a professor of architecture and had founded the Architectural Ecologies Lab with two colleagues at California College of the Arts, building a place to study solutions-based, yet often speculative, built responses to climate change. He had invited me to join the lab, based on my Antarctic and ECOPOESIS work to date. The idea was to think about humans and more than humans as colleagues in survival as we pushed into the next Earth.
I wanted Adam to partner with me on a slightly different take on the same ecological thought: What if, in the spirit of the quilting bee (people gathering in rural communities making blankets from scrap fabrics), or the old-fashioned barn raising (neighbors joining together to literally construct farm buildings as a collective and celebratory act), we use our cross-disciplinarity alignments to create fulsome climate communities. The core idea was to gather people together in creative circles informed by specific ecological thought, to talk about the feelings and reactions to creeping “data despair.”.
And so, this version of the ECOPOESIS Project was born. We took the next 12 months to create a test event, a prototype of what these gatherings might be. For the first one, in April 2019, we wanted to carefully select the participants and center the conversation around an eco “thought leader” – in this case, we asked a familiar colleague, Timothy Morton, if he would agree to join us. He said yes.
One year later, after weekly planning meetings and now joined by a third organizer, Prof. Christopher Falliers, we gathered with 42 people in a garden studio on a sunny Monday.
We center our work on language, as a way of scaffolding group climate conversations: Using “RE” words, resist, remain, retreat, we divided the group into thirds and equally distributed various disciplines among them. We were business owners, curators, educators, designers, civil servants. Each group was give the simple charge: Create a shared message based on your assigned word. Connections were made. Further collaborations were planned.
So, with this modest start, we then gained confidence based on our participants’ remarks, post engagement. We traveled to France and gave a talk about the project to a group of designers, graduate students and start-up entrepreneurs from all over the world. Some were skeptical: So what does this accomplish? It’s just talking and little art-making projects. How does that make a difference? Good questions and of course fueled by a data frame that has both educated while hampering emotional responses to shifting ecologies - as mounting depictions of inevitable dystopias came to be more the norm.
We needed to do ECOPOESIS in more varied situations, with people who had different levels of exposure to the immediate realities of climate change. We joined an expedition to the Maldives, ground zero in rising seas, with the Architectural Ecologies Lab founders Margaret Ikeda and Evan Jones, as well as two divers who were marine biologists. They were in pursuit of design ideas to support and rebuild the vast die-off of the coral reefs, working with local architects and scientists to create frames and structures to support young coral. While they did their work, I would snorkel. The snorkeling has an eerie quality: The famed reef fish, the sort one sees in aquariums, dazzling magenta, cyan, lemon, stood out in high relief against the pale ecru, dead coral: Coral dead from a sudden spike in ocean temperature. The fish had not caught up so they were no longer camouflaged by their corals, blending in with vivid corals. They stood out. No place to hide from predators.
The Performance Arcade and our preparing for the festival
The PA was founded by Sam Trubridge, a former Fulbright Fellow and current drama professor, as well as a noted Aotearoa/New Zealand performance artist. Sam imagined the free, multi-day festival as a way to inform and delight the broader public about the role performance plays in understanding complex social, ecological, and other issues. He has tirelessly built the annual festival that survived COVID, cuts in funding, and continues to resonate for artists globally.
For ECOPOESIS at the PA, I had met with Sam in the US in June 2022, to discuss what sort of “performance” we might put together that would remain faithful to how we usually worked. I had acquired a small geodesic dome, the sort people erect at cafes or in backyards, and intended to ship it to Wellington and build it as the centerpiece for our site.
ECOPOESIS was in good company in Wellington, alongside critically acclaimed guest artists such as Charles Koroneho, who founded Te Toki Haruru in 1997 in Auckland, and uses the intersection of dance, theater, and visual design to interrogate the collision between Maori cosmology, New Zealand pakeha society, and global cultures. His work at the PA, entitled Bird of Paradise, was a series of performances in a modified shipping container. On adjacent Awhairepo Lagoon, in a purpose-built, fully operational theater for 30 people, Winning Productions created two 45-minute shows recounting a world in the aftermath of a climate change induced flood that changed everything. The glowing tent-like structure, illuminated in bright magenta lights, offered a view of the spectacle for those inside the theater and those observing from the shore.
The festival is rooted in live music performance and among these was Disaster Karaoke, which advertised a strange blend of “joyous anxiety,” by inviting the audience to sing along to disaster-themed pop music, Prince’s “1999,” and St. Vincent’s “The Apocalypse Song,” among them, against a backdrop of videos showing nuclear holocausts and destructive weather events. Think magenta, violet, orange lights, a stage, and the energy of karaoke.
In order for our events to run smoothly, however, I needed a reliable, focused partner on site: That is, I would have to identify and hire a local artist/designer/educator who had experience in art making, crowd management, engagement, and climate change; someone who could generally read a crowd, engage with both introverted and extroverted participants, and respond to any circumstance with good cheer.
Just as I was about to give up my quest, having met mainly humanities scholars who struggled to grasp what ECOPOESIS was “trying to do” - with a note that it felt frivolous and not rigorous enough – (what’s your elevator pitch, one of them asked me; is this a book, another asked?) I fortunately met Tobias Allen at his other job: Working as a maitre d’hotel at a downtown, toney cafe.
We struck up a conversation as I sat at the bar and had a light repast and a glass of New Zealand wine. I explained the ECOPOESIS event and how I needed to get some tangible help at this point. (An example of the scrappy aspect of being in a foreign land with indifferent institutional support from a local university that was cash-strapped, had over-programmed their own work at the PA, thus ran short of promised funding for ECOPOESIS and was in and out of strike for labor issues – or the hardworking, helpful but highly impacted group of PA volunteers.)
Tobias is a performance artist whose work explores grief through the lens of queer studies, as well as a writer, artist, and designer. A recent BFA graduate in Performance Studies at Massey University in Wellington, he provided me with essential studio making space adjacent to our PA site: Prepping our work, loading in boxes of gear, alongside long sessions discussing the order of events and logistics while cutting fabric and mapping out the days. We were at the site building it together starting on Monday, February 20, for a Wednesday, February 22 soft launch, and then closing the site on February 27 as our week ended.
The weather was brutal from the outset of that week: Hot and blistering sun on Monday, then shifting to a wintery cold wind and rain off and on every day. This is typical weather for summer in Wellington, I was told, less jarring for locals but requiring adaptation for those from afar.
We also had to contend with an aspect no one had mentioned when we asked a year earlier about housing and transit. The local bus service is grossly understaffed and entirely unreliable and all of the affordable housing proximate to our work site had been booked months in advance. (There is a severe housing shortage in Wellington.) Thus, in addition to building the site, I was on my own to locate and secure housing after what the university had set up fell through, due to the homeowners’ deciding to sell the house I had been offered to stay in, and not tell us until we landed at the Wellington Airport from San Francisco. All of this caused an unexpected diversion of our time, resources, and psychic energy.
We had offered to share our dome site with a local academic who invited poets, both Maori and Pakeha, to read work related to ecologies and climate at our dome. But they had not made a “fall back” plan, in case of bad weather, for sheltered space. One example of the impact of the absence of a bad-weather plan on their part: We found ourselves at one of their readings, by Robert Sullivan, a leading Maori poet who weaves indigenous cosmologies of place into his work, sitting on folding chairs under a highway underpass far from the dome while the rain lashed down. This lack of forethought was also a learning: When partnering, find out what onsite organizers have planned to respond in the event of bad weather or other uncontrollable, yet possible, aspects. I was caught off guard because we had been told the others using our site had deep experience with street theater and improvisational performance. This leads to a philosophical moment: Just because someone has done something a lot, does not necessarily mean they are good at it.
Because we plan each aspect of ECOPOESIS events down to the last detail, it was fascinating to observe the less-structured approach of those using our site. The posters, large scale and printed on foam core covered in paper with the who what and when of our performance schedule became waterlogged on the first day and were blown by the wind to a distant corner of the site. Tobias and I carefully retrieved them and then laid them on the ground, anchored by rocks. Thus, our site was unmarked until you arrived there and found the large pink posters on the grass. As the weather deteriorated, chairs and tables we had requested for our work months in advance were taken by the others using our site to a vernacular sheltered space, under the eaves of a cafe patio, for their poetry readings. When I asked why this was not communicated to us, so we could scramble to make other arrangements, someone said: It’s a cultural thing. Kiwis (New Zealanders) don’t like to say no. Luckily, I had Tobias and his ingenuity to set things right against these minor but pesky daily challenges. We quickly adjusted our hours of operations to longer shifts and we dressed for the weather. Kiwis are sturdy as a culture and we had no issue with many people working with us in the wind and rain, which was not a deluge, more of a nuisance. We also stored all of our supplies in plastic bins, as we do at all ECOPOESIS events, where they stayed dry and usable during the rain.
Despite the conditions, during our week of public engagement, we had many, many moments of shared mindfulness, creativity, and philosophical thought towards building climate change communities. We worked with college students from Worcester, Massachusetts; high school kids from near where the Cyclone hit, a large contingent of school girls in the 10-12 age range who asked many questions about how they could ECOPOESIS at their homes and school; French medics who were mountaineers; retired engineers, schoolteachers, government officials; among many others.
We continue to prepare for ECOPOESIS in Wellington, the capital city. We constructed our geodesic dome to create a center for the large site, a place called Seven Steps to Heaven, after the Miles Davis album, on Monday evening to avoid what had been an eerily punishing sun. It is easy to assemble and offers a sense of place and gathering.
Photo 1: The ECOPOESIS AOTEAROA team assembling the Dome: Foreground, Tobias Allen, artist and writer (Aotearoa); Leslie Carol Roberts, Project Founder, USA; Sam Trubridge, Founder and head of the Performance Arcade.
The site is a large grass oval framed by a pyramid-shaped sculpture, high above a highway, cut into a busy walkway creating a promenade from one side of the waterfront to the other side of the highway. We anchored the dome with railroad ties, heavy, grimy work, wheeling them on a wagon uphill from the main offices of the Performance Arcade. The dome is seven-foot high, 12-foot in diameter and the fear was Wellington’s notorious winds would whisk it into the air. It was a scrappy affair and each artist or group was charged with making their site work. At the local chain big-box hardware store, we crouched in an aisle comparing plexiglas thickness and size. Charles Koroneho was in the same situation, wandering the aisles in a beanie and long shorts, looking for needed fixings for his container theater. He gave us a nod in solidarity. All of our fellow artists were in the same boat and the volunteers and artists were delightfully ready to help each other and cheer one another on.
It is Friday, February 10, 2023, and an extreme low pressure is being tracked heading towards the northwest of Aotearoa New Zealand. It is ten days until the Performance Arcade in Wellington, a few hours south of where the storm will likely hit.
Steadily dropping air pressure is a sign a storm approaches. The pressure began to dip on the Coromandel Peninsula in the days before Cyclone Garbrielle slammed into Aotearoa New Zealand in February 2023. The cyclone, ratcheted up by climate change: Warmer Pacific seas. No one was panicking. It was, after all, a time of weirdly rainy summer months, road slippages, homes cascading down collapsed cliffs. The humans who live on this island nation have a much-discussed national character trait, which they call “she’ll be right.”
Bad things may unfold but Kiwis, as they call themselves, are up to pulling together and fixing things.
Later, after the storm’s effects left 11 humans dead and hundreds of newly minted climate refugees, displaced, left entire crops ruined, houses munted, bridges destroyed, highways needing months or years of repairs, the question will be asked: How is our psychic view of ourselves as the she’ll be right society limiting our ability to prepare for climate disasters?
Cyclone Gabrielle formed on February 5 and grew to be a Category 3 severe tropical storm with 10-minute sustained wind of 120 kph (90 miles an hour.) By February 13, the newly appointed Prime Minister Chris Hipkins warns: “Things are likely to get worse before they get better,” Hipkins said. “Extreme weather event has come on the back of extreme weather event.”
A week before the Performance Arcade, the Cyclone made landfall. A national state of emergency was declared by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and the military rolled out across the devastated eastern coastal region of the North Island, Hawkes Bay, the Esk Valley, Gisbourne, and Napier. Winds had ripped apart homes and businesses, and threw cars around like toys. Ferry service between the islands had been suspended and now there was a backlog of people trying to get across via boat. Flights were canceled across the North Island. People were told to stay out of the affected areas, to keep the remaining roads open to emergency workers.
The water: Water from rivers that breached their banks, water a thick slurry, slash-choked silt that came roaring down from logging operations in the hills. The silt is toxic: farm chemicals, animal and human waste, dead animals. It was metres thick in some areas, filling structures up to the first floor. The silt, water, and wind knocked out bridges and state highways. It swept up 90 percent of the kumara crop and spewed kilometers of unearthed onions across roadways. People in shelters telling stories of swimming through hallways filling with water, hand over hand to get to the door.
As reported in The Guardian, “On the East Cape, a farmer in Tolaga Bay described enormous destruction as floods carried “300kg logs, huge logs, one after another, rolling off the forestry up above us”. 
The water came “pouring out over people’s homes and farms”, Bridget Parker told Radio New Zealand. “We prepared for the worst. Nothing prepares you for this carnage. Is anybody coming to help?” 
How we made art at a large public festival
Our medium is the cyanotype. We provided all the materials to make cyanotypes, and had researched costs of such supplies in Aotearoa compared to the US. Seeing they were twice as costly, I had purchased and packed all of our supplies from the US with the dome kit. We did not want to fall victim to local supply chain issues.
As we taught how to make these magical photograms, I had decided there would be no critique of the work except to celebrate the mysteries of an alternative photographic process. We equally invited people to sit with us to watch, talk about their thoughts about climate change, and share the deep emotions being surfaced. Not everyone wanted to make a cyanotype, and that was fine. The point was the comradery and climate conversation.
A crucial aspect is our theme of “positive hope,” which is a philosophical position to counter what we call “data despair” that increasingly dominates the news cycle. Positive hope is a pragmatic mindset that encourages participants to visualize and imagine the Next Earth, with the focus on creating new ways of designing all aspects of human and more than human experience towards more than survival – creating vibrant vital communities for all.
The plan was to make cyanotypes each day for two- to four-hours, both on fabric and on paper, then dry them on the dome frame. We were going for a feel akin to Tibetan prayer flags, and we also were curious to see how the wind and water would interact with actual cyanotype chemicals, creating a “conversation” between the elements and the art. We also wanted to create a “climate clock” where we could see in a more raw way what happened to treated fabric lashed to the dome and then left to print the day’s weather over time.
Photo 2: Two art students and stripper
Photo 3: After about 10 minutes, the cyanotypes had been processed and the makers got the magical "reveal" of their work.
Photo 4: The Performance Arcade in-house videographer recording work at our site for their documentary.
The idea was that each participant would choose which RE word resonated for them in that moment around ideas of climate change, and then make cyanotypes with us to express the materiality of ecologies. The cyanotype is a photographic process developed in 1842 by Sir John Hershel; it was widely used to document flora by field scientists. One of the most famous examples is a book on alga, then a newly identified species, created by Anna Atkins. It is in the British Library and available to view online.
Cyanotypes create a magical, slow reveal, as the photographic image becomes clear against a Prussian blue background. This resonated for us with the climate feelings, both murky and in sharp focus.
Cyanotypes invite us to notice Earth’s systems, weather, flora, fauna, rocks, tools made by humans - and invite feelings varied from haunted to wonder to magical joy.
Our events in Wellington facilitated a space where people of all ages and backgrounds talked freely about what they love: Flowers to trees to vistas to clouds to human-made objects we need and cherish. Most people came back for their prints after they dried. They told us where they would be, scattered across homes in Aotearoa, France, Burma.
The set-up for our engagement was deceptively simple and could easily be duplicated in most situations: Two long folding tables, a group of folding chairs, one with the objects people would choose from to make their prints- foraged specimens and purchased items, all held in place from the wind by a large piece of Plexiglas; the other the actual printing station, where we would help participants assemble their objects and then press them under another piece of Plexiglas.
Even on cloudy days, which were most during the PA, the light was strong due to the high latitude. So, prints were made in under seven minutes. Then the fabric or paper is rinsed with water to stop the photographic process. Then you wait and watch the image come into focus.
Cyanotypes can be made on any surface that has been chemically treated with photoreactive dyes. (We used a commercial kit that was identical in composition to Hershel’s: Potassium Ferricyanide mixed with Ferric Ammonium Citrate, which is readily available at art supply stores and online.)
For the foraged specimens, I had patrolled Aotearoa’s rivers and hiked the Port Hills to collect indigenous and other species of flora. I used a crowd-sourced app to identify what I foraged, to determine whether it was considered native or introduced. This is a murky line, I discovered. Indigenous trees included the delicate kowhai but I also included rose petals, an introduced species, because they create a lovely sculptural image.
We brought close to a dozen samples of flora. However, we also wanted to show the human aspect of our Earth systems, given how much we have changed ecologies while also pointing to ingenuity in tool making to solve issues of survival - a core aspect as we design the future.
For human tools, we scoured Daiso, a global, low-cost Japanese housewares and accessories chain. It’s a wonder of plastic things I had never imagined. But there were fulsome metal knives and chains, metal clips. The knife turned out to be very popular. Particularly with children.
We had selected 16 RE words and made large-format cards, which described who we were and what we were hoping to achieve: react, reclaim, refresh, regard, remain, renovate, restore, retreat, remediate, among them. Each participant was asked which word resonated for them on that day, in that hour, around climate change.
The words that signaled an organized response to the cyclone were particularly popular most days: Renovate. Restore. Reclaim. But we did note (I kept count) that Retreat started to creep in later in the week, as more discussion of the awful damage from the cyclone would take a long time to Repair. If it could be REPAIRed at all.
Over the week, the magnificence of a free public festival for ECOPOESIS continued to resonate for us. Climate change, like war, doesn’t discriminate, so we were equally engaged with retired engineers and schoolteachers; school children on break; English as a Second Language teachers; art students; strippers, DJs, bankers; government officials, architects, designers, and poets.
As we disassembled the Dome on the Monday after the festival closed, and packed its tubes and joiners into the canvas duffle it travels in, we talked about how the festival went. We had been astonished by the level of engagement and love we felt from those who came by. So many felt it was a “gift” to pause and make art with us, and to talk about what they think about climate change from the angle of how can we all collaborate and survive?
ECOPOESIS: Final Learnings
In the end, what did we learn about creating conscious conversations about climate change, other than there is a lot of alliteration to be had? That local partners can make or break your spirit, that you go with your gut when things seem to be going off the rails, that you engage in partnerships with local experts who have the capacity to do what they have promised. Our experience with Tobias was particularly opportune: He served as cultural guide, chair wrangler, and creative peer bringing fresh enthusiasm and energy to ECOPOESIS. Some of the qualities Tobias and I pencilled onto a napkin one evening as we closed down the site:
- Imagination, defined as the capacity to create, evolve, and model situations that don’t currently exist is crucial to designing the Next Earth. We cannot build what we cannot imagine.
- Imagination and community conversations are not frivolous in times of crisis. They are crucial.
- Language, using RE words, offers key scaffolding to kickstart the discussions and making. The allow for active questions to be pondered.
- Play, such as Disaster Karaoke and ECOPOESIS, creates solidarity.
- Documentation systems, such as cyanotypes are essential to remembering.
- Experimentation and uncertain outcomes are to be encouraged. We are not trying to make “good cyanotypes” or fulsome, weighty discussions of climate change.
- Positive hope must be the denominator on all climate change arts events: Performances, dance, singing, art making. Humans should walk away with a confidence that if we can build this wrecked world, we can design a better one.
Two months after Cyclone Gabrielle slammed into the islands, the news from Aotearoa/New Zealand captures in fine detail the economic devastation and the psychic disorientation. The government is talking about managed REtreat as a future tactic in the face of climate change-spurred weather that leaves ecological destruction. The insurance industry is paying out more than in any other previous disasters in the nation’s history. The psychic toll and the failure of half of those in the storm’s path to heed advice to prepare to get slammed is in the news. An insurance executive noted that the storms are a stark reminder that weather is traumatizing. The question is this: If we know the power of talk and art therapy to heal and reconnect communities, how do we add strategies at scale around imagination and the psychology of trauma to the toolkit for post-event care? The idea that ecological art and climate conversation are frivolous while money and surveys of preparation are essential may be a good place to start. We hope this account will lead others to contact us and collaborate with us near and far to create more events and thus more climate solidarity at a global scale.