New Zealand Law Society - Clive Elliott QC and the climate change exhibition

Clive Elliott QC and the climate change exhibition

Auckland QC Clive Elliott is a passionate advocate for action to address climate change.

He is also an artist and says he has used his art to express his concern. During March he mounted an exhibition of a collection of eight of his paintings at showings in Wellington and Auckland. Entitled “So Much to Lose”, Clive Elliott says the impetus for the exhibition came from the failure of governments from 2016 onwards to honour the Paris Accord “and the assumption of power by climate change deniers like Trump, Abbot and Morrison”.

Clive Elliott QC (left) and Professor James Renwick in front of Clive’s painting “The Drain”, the first in the collection, and describing “a filthy urban drain which, sadly, many Wellingtonians will identify with”.

“What I’m trying to do with this exhibition is reflect my own personal sense of alarm and desperation. Others may not have that same sense of foreboding and others will reject what I’m portraying – that’s fine, I just want to get people to think about the terrible dilemma we are in,” he says.

In a short introductory address at the exhibition he spoke about his concerns. “Some people talk about saving the planet. However, as one environmental advocate put it, there is no need to save the planet, our planet will survive just fine. What we need to do is ensure that humans are able to survive on earth. The challenge is a fundamental one – to preserve the environment in order to save humanity. We need to act now – while we still have a chance.

“Many of the solutions needed to tackle the crisis already exist. They are real-world, practical solutions. What is lacking is the will and determination to implement them,” he concluded.

A short video followed with poems by Clive on each of the paintings, to the Doors’ “When the Music’s Over”. Professor James Renwick of Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences also spoke on the impact of climate change and the need for action.

All artwork was sold by silent auction, with the proceeds going to Sustainable Business Network and Sustainable Coastlines.

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