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The Climate Stripes for Jersey – visual representation of climate change

A mural visualises annual average air temperatures in Jersey with 126 stripes representing one year from 1894 through to 2019. The stripes colour and shade depends on the annual average air temperature that occurred during that period.
According to the Gov.je website – providing information and public services for the Island of Jersey – annual average air temperature on mural was visualised, when compared to the 30-year average air temperature taken from the years 1971 to 2000. The website describes the most recent 30-year period, as an increase and domination of red colour ‘with shading showing the increase in annual average air temperature’.

The Climate Stripes of Jersey was created by local artist Ian Rolls, who collaborated on the piece with the Jersey Met Department and the States Environment Department. Although Ed Hawkins – a Climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading – was the first person to create a Climate Stripes design principle as a part of #ShowYourStripes in 2017.

The hashtag relates to initiative launched on 21st June 2019, where the global warming stripes were becoming available to download for every country at showyourstripes.info. The article from Climate Lab Book from 21st July 2019 by Ed Hawkins describes that the graphics are available for 1901-2018 for most locations and some of the regions have their separate graphics such as Stockholm, Oxford and Vienna. It states that over 1 million graphics have been downloaded from the website and mentions another initiative called #MetsUnite – encouraging TV weather forecasts to have warming stripes in the live broadcasts.

The website #ShowYourStripes allows to choose the region and country, in order to make the search more specific. It shows that warming stripes for globe from 1850- 2019 changed from blue to red and deeper colours, with the annual average temperatures sourced from UK Met Office.

Since 1894, the Maison St. Louis Observatory in Jersey is the official recording site for air temperature of the Island. In 2019 the observatory celebrated 125 years since it came into operation. In the Jersey Evening Post article from 31 December 2019, the Assistant Environment Minister Gregory Guida said that the role of observatory will be becoming more important in the next years as it strives to become carbon neutral. He also notices that five years ago the majority of people were doubting effects of climate change or saying that ‘it was created by anthropogenic activity [pollution originating from human activity]’.

‘This year, in the States, we voted through a proposition for a climate emergency with only one politician voting against. Over the next ten years, a lot of hard work has to be done to bring the Island close to zero carbon emissions. For this reason the data being collected at the Maison St Louis Observatory will become increasingly important as we try to understand how the world is responding to our efforts’ he said.

The mural can be seen by islanders by the underpass in St Helier – opposite Trenton square, which is named after New Jersey’s capital city Trenton. Islanders have been asked on World Environment Day to consider these statistics and how they will adapt the changes that can be continued once lockdown ends. The article from 5 June 2020 on Gov.je website gives information that ‘over the past two months, a record-breaking number of Islanders have used a key cycling route and, at the same time, the number of vehicles using tunnel has dropped by more than a third’.

To keep the habits that people adapted during lockdown, such as increase of people cycling – which resulted in cleaner air quality – the community is asked to consider only coming back to car use if necessary. Article says that Jersey aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 and as half of all carbon emissions are from road transport, the emphasis on lifestyle changes and using cycling routes became crucial.

It states that the significant steps towards achieving this target will be seen if the reduced car use continues after life comes back to normal. Deputy Gregory Guida said in the article: “It would be wonderful if, when the future stripes are added to it, they show that we are going in the right direction.”

The Carbon Neutral Strategy 2019 report published by Government of Jersey declares a climate emergency and guides on the carbon neutral strategy. It is divided into three sections: establishing a carbon neutral strategy, planning and developing a long-term climate action plan and delivering it together in 2020. The last one sets out key considerations of a long-term action on climate change. The report says:

“The first and most important action that we can all take is to contribute actively to the Island-wide debate about our future response to climate change. Securing the maximum input of voices, hopes and experiences is vital to build a firm and lasting foundation for the type of long-term change that is necessary to make a real difference to our shared future. Government cannot dictate change on this scale; nor should it.”

Effectively communicating climate change can be a challenge and such visual representations allow residents to observe historical changes and think about them. Climate Lab Book website also provides the animated climate spiral and interactive videos that explore global temperature changes and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. BBC article by Rebecca Thorn from 5 June 2020 gathers the quotes from Deputy Gregory Guida who said:

“During the Covid-19 pandemic many islanders have found ways to reduce carbon emissions by walking and cycling more. We should celebrate that fact and march on towards our goal to become carbon neutral by 2030.”

By Julita Waleskiewicz

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