[Editor's note: I'm still in shock after hearing the news that Lucia Grenna passed away in her sleep last week. When we first met in April of 2014 at a Copenhagen hotel, I was immediately taken by here powerful presence. We spent the next couple days participating in a Sustainia climate change event where Lucia presented her audacious plans to connect people to the climate issue. I had the chance to partner with Lucia on several other projects throughout the years and work with her incredible Connect4Climate team. I was always in awe of her ability to "make the impossible possible." Her spirit will live on forever. — Stefanie Spear]
It is with a heavy heart that Connect4Climate announces the passing of its founder and leading light, Lucia Grenna. Lucia passed peacefully in her sleep on June 15, well before her time. We remember her for her leadership and extraordinary ability to motivate people to take on some of the greatest challenges of our time, not least climate change.
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Although we don't always realize it, climate change envelopes us it completely surrounds us all the time. What better subject therefore to become the basis for the World Bank group's first virtual reality experience. The People's March for Earth, organized by Earth Day Italia and the World Bank group's Connect4Climate initiative, took place in Rome last November to underscore the feelings and desires of many that wanted to express the need for more immediate and substantial action on climate change and to send a strong message to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change that was just about to take place in Paris.
The People's March for Earth, starting at the Colosseum and progressing through the wide avenues of Rome to later arrive at St. Peter's Square where Pope Francis would greet and bless the gathering, reflected the history of the eternal city and indicated both the advances in civilization but also the toil that humanity has taken on our natural world. These rich concepts inspired the creation of a Virtual Reality experience so many more people could feel the same impact and energy that the marchers felt, long after the final participants had left.
The World Bank and Connect4Climate partnered with RYOT to produce a truly immersive film. RYOT is one of the leading content studios creating documentary-style virtual reality films. Anglo-Italian actress Greta Scacchi kindly gave her talents to produce a powerful narrative fully evocative of both the location and the cause.
Immersive experiences are getting great traction in many industries such as entertainment and gaming. But this product illustrates perfectly how it can be used to convey messages that are both intensely personal and of worldwide importance. The medium gives extra and immediate impact to the very real issues that impact both individuals, institutions, governments and regions alike. At their best such initiatives can help humans connect through creating a unique collective empathy which ultimately can inspire others to take action and contribute to find real solutions.
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A coalition convened by the World Bank Group's Connect4Climate initiative presented a gift of contemporary public art, Fiat Lux: Illuminating our Common Home, to Pope Francis on the opening day of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in December 2015, to galvanize action and drive global attention to the importance of preserving our natural environment and tackling climate change.
Watch the full show of the breathtaking art projection at the Vatican, on St. Peter's Basilica:
The coalition comprised of Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Inc., the Li Ka Shing Foundation and Okeanos, in partnership with The Oceanic Preservation Society and Obscura Digital, worked under the auspices of Connect4Climate, the World Bank's global partnership program dedicated to driving global action on climate change.
At this unprecedented and historic event, beautiful images of our shared natural world were projected onto the facade of St. Peter's Basilica in a contemporary work of public art that tells the visual story of the interdependency of humans and life on Earth with the planet, in order to educate and inspire change around the climate crisis across generations, cultures, languages, religions and class.
“We are honored to be working with the Vatican to raise awareness of an issue so critical to our shared goal of ending extreme poverty," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. "The poorest people in the world are disproportionately affected by the effects of a warming climate and are most vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme weather. This impressive initiative will draw global attention to the urgency of tackling climate change for the sake of people and our planet."
The large-scale architectural public art installation was inspired by the themes of climate change, human dignity and the Earth's living creatures in the Encyclical “Laudato Si'" of Pope Francis. Programed to coincide not only with the Jubilee, but also with COP21 in Paris, the historic occasion called on citizens of the world to join a global movement to protect our common home.
"The fight against climate change invokes each of us in a battle for civilization and democracy," Italy's Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea Gianluca Galletti said. "This was explained by the Holy Father in his extraordinary encyclical Laudato Si: respect to the environment is the condition to reaffirm universal rights and defend human dignity, to guarantee global security, to build a fairer world ... Intercultural dialogue is our most important objective and the most efficient tool for peace."
The cinematic event featured the work of some of the world's most notable humanistic and nature photographers and filmmakers, including Sebastião Salgado (Genesi and Contrasto), Joel Sartore (National Geographic Photo Ark), Yann Arthus Bertrand (Human), David Doubilet, Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson (Samsara), Howard Hall, Shawn Heinrichs, Greg Huglin, Chris Jordan, Steve McCurry, Paul Nicklen and Louie Schwartzberg. The projection was curated by Louie Psihoyos and Travis Threlkel, and produced by Obscura Digital. Francesco Carrozzini curated the creative direction for Connect4Climate.
“We are proud to support the realization of this gift of art to Pope Francis and to work with our creative partners to highlight the biggest issues facing mankind: poverty and climate change," Lucia Grenna, program manager of the World Bank Group's Connect4Climate global partnership program, added. "This artistic display will tell a powerful visual story of the interdependency of all life on earth with our environment and we hope inspire the teams in Paris to push for the most ambitious deal possible."
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