World leaders invited to experience air pollution at COP25

World leaders attending the COP25 UN climate change conference in Madrid are invited to walk through pods that recreate the suffocating effects of air pollution.

The conference is the latest stop in a 2019 ‘world tour’ for the pods, which have already visited locations across the UK including Manchester, London and Dorset.

After a couple of minutes inside the pods, people will experience a shortness of breath as perfume and fog machines imitate some of the world’s most polluted cities such as London, Beijing, São Paulo, New Delhi.

The pods can also recreate what it’s like to walk in one of the least polluted environments in the world, Tautra in Norway.

The pods were designed by the artist Michael Pinksy and are backed by the World Health Organization (WHO), Cape Farewell, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition Spain, the Clean Air Fund and key partners of the BreatheLife campaign.

They were developed as part of Climart an interdisciplinary and international research project, which has brought together environmental psychologists, natural scientists and artists in order to investigate how environmental art functions as a tool for climate change communication.

The installation was first shown in Trondheim, Norway, as part of the STARMUS festival which combined presentations from leading artists, astronauts and scientists including the late Steven Hawkins and Charlie Duke.

Dr Maria Neira, WHO director of public health, environmental and social determinants of health said: ‘The true cost of climate change is felt in our hospitals and in our lungs.

‘The health burden of polluting energy sources is now so high, that moving to cleaner and more sustainable choices for energy supply, transport and food systems effectively pays for itself. When health is taken into account, climate change mitigation is an opportunity, not a cost.’

Photo Credit – Michael Pinksy