Stories and Music Combine to Bring Climate Solutions to Forefront

The Gail O’Riordan Climate and the Arts Legacy Series

Published On: July 28th, 2020

POLIS Advisor Jon O’Riordan has been instrumental in launching the new Gail O’Riordan Climate and the Arts Legacy Series, which works in collaboration with Creatively United for the Planet to bring climate stories to the forefront in creative ways.

Gail O’Riordan, Jon’s long-time wife and life partner, passed away in 2018, and the Climate and the Arts Legacy Series was established to honour her memory.

“Gail was passionate about the arts and felt that combining climate stories about how humanity can change course with music and the performing arts would enrich the discussion and motivate people to act differently,” said Jon O’Riordan. “Her commitment to changing public consciousness about the pending climate crisis and loss of biodiversity inspired the series.”

Collaborative partnerships to share solutions-based stories are already underway with Pacific Opera, Ballet Victoria, the Victoria Philharmonic Choir, Victoria Conservatory of Music and the Victoria Chamber Orchestra.

Gail believed that individual self-interest must become aligned with the survival of humanity as a whole. The biggest challenge to changing individual behaviour is that people place self-interest in pursuing individual goals and economic gain over thinking about how such actions affect the broader interests of society.

Throughout April and June, Climate and the Arts and Creatively United for the Planet presented 15 webinars as part of its “Creative Solutions for a New World” series. Close to 1,000 people signed up to attend these weekly webinars, which included sessions on the future of hope, creating a livable future, and the role of Indigenous wisdom in the transformation to a more sustainable future.

Up Next

The “Creative Solutions for a New World” series in on break for the summer, but a second 12-week series will start in September, featuring a number of international contributors. Information will be available on

In the coming months, POLIS will also host a webinar featuring Jon O’Riordan, where he will offer a critical reflection on the Climate and the Arts series, including lessons learned and tangible policy and governance impacts that have come out of the initiative so far.

“One thing we’ve learned is that we can’t have an effective impact on climate issues or creating change without water and governance as important priorities,” said Jon O’Riordan. “This is where the work of the POLIS team ties in, as we continue to seek solutions for a better tomorrow by advancing issues of watershed governance and water law and policy reform.”

The work of the Climate and the Arts Legacy Series is based on four principles espoused by Gail O’Riordan.

  1. Living in harmony with nature and one’s self.
  2. Aligning self-interest with planetary interest.
  3. Awakening spirituality by connecting the universe with the individual.
  4. Creating a caring, just and compassionate society based on the economics of kindness.