Aviva Investors partners with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to create a piece of music designed to inspire listeners into climate action.  

Motivations for acting on climate change are varied and complex. For every word written, fact verified and scientific view put forward, somehow the necessary behavioural and policy response has been left tragically wanting.

Climate change clearly represents a major communication challenge. Indeed, Climate psychologist Per Espen Stoknes laments that it is “The greatest science communication failure in history.”

Should it be inherently positive, urging people to focus on the benefits of transitioning to a greener world? Or, instead, should we be setting off alarm bells, shouting from the rooftops how bad things are and how urgently action is needed?

The answer, of course, lies somewhere in between; we all respond to different triggers.

However, it is evidently time to try a different tack to the one that has failed thus far. Music has a way of connecting with a deeper part of our being, of conveying multi-layered messages that stir and tug on our emotions. It can speak to the heart when the head refuses to cooperate.  

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Recognising that music can cut through so much of the noise surrounding the issue, we partnered with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) to produce a piece of new music. Scotland-based composer, Greg Lawson, was commissioned to write an accessible score for the SCO’s string section and the highly talented Finnish violinist, Pekka Kuusisto. Both Greg and Pekka are public advocates for action on climate change.

Our main aim with the piece is to evoke an emotional response and to trigger conversation and action. In writing it, Greg was in two minds as to how the piece should end. Eventually, he could not decide whether it should end with a message of hope or as if it is already too late; he left the decision to the soloist.

There is a symmetry here with humanity’s response, as our final movement has yet to be written. That leaves enormous room for positivity as, ultimately, our fate is in our own hands.

Creating a climate of change

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