Climate Week Roundup: Change in the Streets, Gallery, Theater, & Lecture Hall

Over the last year, we’ve brought you periodic updates from The Architectural League’s initiative The Five Thousand Pound Life, an ambitious slate of programs, digital releases, and a major design study that seeks to imagine a viable American future in light of the urgent challenge climate change poses to our environment, economy, and society. As the urgency to confront climate change grows along with the immensity of the problem, the need for global political action to reduce atmospheric carbon remains the same, unfulfilled. With the aim of spurring movement toward a meaningful international legal agreement to confront climate change in advance of the 2015 Paris climate talks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a Climate Summit on September 23rd in New York. And intent on pressuring world leaders to finally take the bold steps necessary to lead on climate change, hundreds of thousands of people are expected at the People’s Climate March on September 21st in what has been billed the largest climate march in history. Starting on Central Park West at 11:30am, the march will wend its way through Midtown to the west side. A map of the route and more information is available here.

A bevy of talks, screenings, and events will surround the Summit and the People’s Climate March in the coming weeks, among them the League’s 5KL: Land, a symposium on September 26th that will consider settlement patterns and competing land uses in new ways, given the reality of climate change.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite climate-related exhibitions, screenings, talks, and actions — hope to see you there, and on Sunday in the streets.

Sebastião Salgado, Iceberg between Paulet Island and the South Shetland Islands on the Antarctic Channel. The Antarctic Peninsula. 2005. © Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas images-Contact Press Images.

Sebastião Salgado, Iceberg between Paulet Island and the South Shetland Islands on the Antarctic Channel. The Antarctic Peninsula. 2005. | © Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas Images-Contact Press Images.


The Natural History Museum | September 13th – October 4th | Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park

A project of arts collective Not An Alternative, The Natural History Museum is a new museum that “borrows the legitimating aesthetics, pedagogical models, and presentation forms of natural history museums in order to support a perspective on nature as a commons.”

The museum includes programming focused on the social and political forces that shape nature; view the full schedule of events here.

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis | September 19th – January 11th, 2015 | International Center of Photography, 1133 6th Avenue

“The result of an eight-year worldwide survey, the exhibition draws together more than 200 spectacular black-and-white photographs of wildlife, landscapes, seascapes, and indigenous peoples — raising public awareness about the pressing issues of environment and climate change.”

ICP will host Salgado at Cooper Union’s Great Hall on Saturday, September 20th, at 3pm to recount his journeys that produced the exhibit.


The Future of Energy | September 16th | 7–9:30pm | New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street

The Future of Energy is a positive film about the renewable energy revolution, and a love story about the inspiring individuals and communities that are re-imagining their relationships with the planet and with each other. The film focuses on solutions to climate change and advocates for the use of 100% renewable energy.”

A Q&A with the filmmakers will follow the screening.

Above All Else | September 20th | 12–2pm | Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue

Above All Else follows David Daniel, a retired high-wire artist and circus performer living in East Texas, in his work to stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline “from the moment that he discovers survey stakes on his property, through years of activism and civic engagement, to four climatic days in September 2012, when Daniel made a final stand against the pipeline.”

Chasing Ice | September 24th | 6–7:30pm | Green Light New York, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609

This award-winning documentary follows James Balog, an acclaimed environmental photographer, to the Arctic to collect data on the seasonal changes of glaciers by deploying time-lapse cameras that capture years of glacial erosion. To hear more about the Extreme Ice Survey, Balog will be at the International Center of Photography on September 19th to discuss his work.

Jeremy Leggett at 5KL: The Energy Issue


A Global Climate Treaty: Why the U.S. Must Lead | September 20th | 6:30–9:30pm | New York Society for Ethical Culture

This forum organized by and the NY Society for Ethical Culture and featuring politicians, activists, and academics will focus on “why we need an international climate treaty and why we must demand that our government assume a leading role.”

Women Leading Solutions on the Frontline’s of Climate Change | September 22nd | 1-3pm | Church Center of the UN

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) presents an afternoon of presentations by women leaders at the forefront of the transition to a just and sustainable future that highlight the role of women worldwide as innovators and agents of change.

ICP Talks Climate Change | Multiple dates & times | International Center of Photography, 1133 6th Avenue

In addition to the James Balog and Sebastião Salgado talks listed above, ICP will also present “What is Climate Science? with Peter deMenocal” on September 22nd at 3pm and “Photography and the Environment 1: The Concerned Photographer” on September 29th at 7pm. DeMenocal, a climate scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory specializing in paleooceanography and marine geology, explains how the work of climate scientists illuminate our understanding of climate change. “The Concerned Photographer” will feature a panel including photographers Stanley Greene and Ron Haviv; climate change activist Kevin Buckland of; and photo historian Fred Ritchin to discuss how photographers can effectively participate in the mobilization around climate change.

The Climate Swerve: How to Shift Capital Away from High Risk Fossil Fuel Project | September 26th | 9:30am–12pm | NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square South

The Carbon Tracker Initiative hosts this discussion on how to empower investors to shift capital flows from high risk fossil fuel production, featuring Jeremy Leggett, who gave the keynote at the League’s 5KL: The Energy Issue symposium.


People’s Climate March | September 21st | 11:30am | Central Park West, between 65th and 86th Streets, then onto 11th Avenue between 34th and 38th Streets

SeaChange | Multiple dates, times, & locations

This collaborative art and activism project initiated by Mere Liberum and is sailing handmade paper boats down the Hudson and holding community assemblies to share stories of resistance and resilience related to climate change along the way. Docking in NYC on September 12th, the group will circumnavigate Manhattan on the 13th and 14th and hold a series of events at the Floating Library on the 17th–19th.


Jonathan Tarleton is a writer, activist, and urbanist with aspirations to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive urban environment. He is an assistant editor at The Architectural League and Urban Omnibus and has made his way to Brooklyn from his roots in Georgia and North Carolina. Follow him @jttarleton.

Jonathan Tarleton is a former editor of Urban Omnibus.