A Musical Warning

'Climate' captures the sound of planetary catastrophe

What sound does a planet make as it spirals toward extreme weather events and sea level rise that could displace 760 million people? That’s what Stephan Crawford MSEM ’11 set out to learn when he brought a team of climate scientists and musicians together to create a kind of musical warning to the world.

“It is science-inspired art,” says the master’s in environmental management alumnus of the 30-minute composition Climate, which follows the ups and downs of hundreds of years of climate data.

Crawford’s 10-member Climate Music Project collective — made up of scientists and musicians from around the Bay Area — have performed Climate live at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, and The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. The group’s music has also been highlighted on KQED
public radio.

Using deft instrumentation, Climate tells the story of rising temperatures and carbon levels, and spreading ocean acidity from the time of the industrial revolution to 2300, when parts of the planet could be uninhabitable for humans.

“Our mission is to create and perform science-guided music to awaken, educate, and inspire a broad and diverse audience to engage actively on the issue of climate change,” Crawford says.