Chill the Heat - Climate Collective Project

'Chill the Heat', run by Rachael Jacobs in Australia, has been commissioned by ITAC as part of our ITAC IMPACT: Climate project.

Acknowledgement of country

The project is conducted on the lands of the Darug or Dharug and Dharawal or Tharawal nations. Sovereignty was never ceded and this was, is and always will be Aboriginal land.  We acknowledge their elders, past, present and emerging and thank them for allowing this work on their country. Every effort will be made to conduct the project respectfully, according to their protocols.  We also acknowledge that climate justice begins with First Nations justice. First Nations people were skilled custodians of this land, living sustainably for tens of thousands of years. Environmental degradation began with the ravages of colonisation. This project aims to centre First Nations knowledge as a way to decolonise thinking about climate justice and environmental protection.

The project:
Darug or Dharug and Dharawal or Tharawal nations comprise parts of Western and South West Sydney where surface temperatures are rising, regularly exceeding 40 degrees in summer, impacting the wellbeing of adults, children and animals. The organisation, Sweltering Cities, has found that the heat has negative impacts upon home life, learning at school, children’s ability to play safely, and adults’ ability to safely travel to and from work. During the summer of 2019/2020 the area was also affected in the Australian bushfires, damaging homes, workplaces, waterways, pets and wildlife. The climate crisis intersects with social justice as this region is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse in Australia. It is also home to many vulnerable and marginalised communities and pockets of low socio-economic disadvantage.

Rachael Jacobs is a Creative Arts lecturer and community artist from Western Sydney University. Working with Sweltering Cities, she will engage 5 artists to draw attention to the issue of surface temperatures in South Western Sydney.

Related issues include:
- Respect for First Nations knowledge;
- The need for sustainable practices and environmental protection;
- The lack of tree coverage, vegetation, green space and grass areas;
- The need for cool playgrounds;
- The need for bus shelters and improved transport; and
- The challenges of living in heat affected areas.  

Rachael will work with 5 artists in mediums such as music, dance, drama, visual art and poetry. These artists will work with community organisations in South West Sydney, such as schools, early learning centres, youth services, aged care providers and refugee communities to create arts experiences that respond to the issue of rising temperatures. The projects will be presented to the ‘Heat’ festival to be held in February 2021. This festival will invite policymakers, politicians, small and large business owners, local government officials and other influential community members to experience the artistic creations and invite them to respond.

Many people find it difficult to envisage melting polar ice caps or rising sea levels. However, the heat South West Sydney is a real reminder of the challenges of surviving in an increasingly heated world. The people of South Western Sydney did not cause, nor are they exacerbating this problem. This project seeks to give residents of all ages voice and agency in the battle against climate change, so they can advocate for more tree coverage, vegetation, water management, cooler classrooms, more transport options and an end to over-development.

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We are delighted to be supporting this work and look forward to sharing more details with you soon.

Don't forget, you can follow along on our social media channels for updates.

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