The ‘Hard Rain’ Experiment

Last week in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, there was a global meeting of heads, hands and hearts; the RIO+20 Earth Summit.

The ‘heads’ part consisted of rigorous academic debate, coming up with solutions to critical sustainability issues; the ‘hands’ was the practical side of what we can do on the ground to make these ideas a reality; and finally, the ‘hearts’ part was the vital compassionate in-it-togetherness that is needed to foster the necessary yet unprecedented global co-operation to save our world from the brink of collapse.

At CCCU we wanted to spread the word about this important global discussion. RIO+20 was tackling the 7 critical issues of (1) disasters, (2) oceans, (3) water, (4) foods, (5) cities, (6) energy, and (7) jobs.

The University’s sustainability team put together zip-lock packs including the Hard Rain DVD, which sets photographs taken by Mark Edwards to the lyric of the Bob Dylan song, ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’. Also included in the pack was a new book called ‘Whole Earth: Aligning human systems and natural systems’. Originally, ‘Hard Rain’ was a powerful project consisting of a touring exhibition that has been displayed all over the world: from the Eden Project, Cornwall here in the UK (for almost a year May 2006-March 2007); to COP 2009 Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark; India’s Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore 2010; and many, many more. A large number of Green Impact universities have showcased the project, including Loughborough, Leicester, MMU and Nottingham Trent University, to name a few.

The aim was to have the DVD and book circulate across the University, with the instructions being that if passed the film, you should watch it within 48 hours – either at work or at home; it is only 12 minutes in length – and then pass it along to another person who promises to do the same. After watching the film, we requested the participants to email us at our sustainability address to tell us what they think!

We’ve already been tracking these packs around the university, and though Rio +20 has now come to a close, our Hard Rain experiment has been underway for two weeks, and is still going strong, and we have more packs ready to send out, with ‘rules of the game’ attached. If you’d like us to get one to you, email us at – and if you feel like sending us your thoughts after watching, good or bad, we would really love to hear them!

Come on CCCU – play the game!

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