Salmon as a Climate Delegation

People from all over the world will be at the UN Climate Summit, and so will the media. We want to create images that will remind all of us that the beauty of the natural world comes with a responsibility to care for living beings.

We represent the salmon, a keystone species on which many other species and entire ecosystems depend, and one which is vitally threatened by climate change. Standing for the salmon is standing for nature and so also for humanity, because we too, are nature.

We stand for those who have no voice, including the many species that will go extinct if we do not act.

The conditions that support the salmon are the same that support our lives: clean water, clean air, vibrant forests, healthy soil. According to the Saanich of SW Vancouver Island, the home of salmon is in the forest because without them there could not be a true forest. Salmon add so much rich nutrients that the ancient giant ancestor trees could not become what they were and are without the presence of the honorable Salmon People. In the Saanich language, they are the Schay’newh and their name translates to “the hard working people” because they so work hard to return home, just as we must work to return balance and harmony to our world.

We need to close the gap between what nations plan to do and what humanity needs to do to truly address the climate crisis. Changing human behavior to the degree that is necessary cannot take place in the mind alone. Change must take place in the heart. How do we awaken the human heart? Through creative expression that calls to our deeper connections with nature and each other.

We are not fighting for nature. We are nature defending itself. - Climate Games

This project expresses our desire to inspire the awakening of the heart and reverence for our natural world through beauty. We believe creative expression calls to our deeper connections with nature and each other.

We have been in conversation with members of the Lummi Nation and have scheduled our trip to coincide with their action on December 6. The Lummi Youth Canoe family will be traveling to Paris for the climate talks. We plan to use our salmon to help amplify their voice and the voices of other indigenous people… to "inform the world about our waters, our air, our lands and impacts of global warming."

We’ve learned from doing artful activism and collaborating with other grassroots groups that pictures have an immediate impact and move people without the use of language. Images that are beautiful and hopeful inspire people to take positive action.

As much as this project is about making salmon illuminate the streets of Paris, it is also about making connections with and between people who are inspired to act on behalf of the natural world that sustains all life. Moving 350 salmon will require the coordination of 150-175 people moving together, and the collaboration of even more, including YOU!

Why 350?

The number 350 is significant -- 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the point above which the thin atmosphere covering Earth and keeping temperatures relatively stable, starts trapping too much solar heat. This causes global warming which results in changes in weather patterns, droughts, floods, melting ice, rising seas, wildfires, and super storms.

We are currently above 400 ppm and by continuing to burn oil, coal, and gas at the present rate, we are adding 2 ppm of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

"Unless we are able to rapidly turn that around and return to below 350 ppm this century, we risk triggering tipping points and irreversible impacts that could send climate change spinning truly beyond our control.” ~ Dr. James Hansen, former head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.