Making hot art ahead of the floods


On Sunday, July 21, amid a record heatwave scorching New York City at 102  degrees and even 113 degrees at Times Square, Extinction Rebellion teams held an art meeting in Brooklyn. Busy rebels were silk-screening shirts and flags and got to work on preparing the next action.

While our activists were dripping with sweat, their fans were still running. Not far though 50,000 New Yorkers were left without electricity. Con Edison switched off power to prevent equipment damage and rebels were discussing during their meeting, whether Con Edison’s shut-offs had been targeted to spare more affluent residents the potentially deadly hazard of sleeping in overheated rooms. 

We don’t know, on which bases last weekend’s shut-down-regions came to be, but we know that heatwaves like July 20th and 21th will become more intense and more frequent. The IPCC Report 2018 states that “Human-induced global warming has already caused multiple observed changes in the climate system (high confidence). Changes include increases in both land and ocean temperatures, as well as more frequent heatwaves in most land regions (high confidence). (…) Further, there is substantial evidence that human-induced global warming has led to an increase in the frequency, intensity and/or amount of heavy precipitation events at the global scale (medium confidence).”

Only a day after our Sunday meeting, we saw the area around our art space flooded by heavy rain. Carroll Street turned in a lake and drowning several vehicles. Commuters across New York saw the subway stations turning into shower cabinets.

Sarah MalvasiaArt