COP26: Leicester University Chorus perform in aid of Music Declares Emergency movement

A student group choir at the University of Leicester have joined forces with musicians and organisations around the world to highlight the damage of climate change.

The Sing the Change initiative has been set up to highlight the growing impact of climate change on the world today, and is set to take place during COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. World leaders are meeting in Glasgow to discuss and debate the best way forward for making change in the fight against climate change, such as how to cut emissions to be net-zero carbon emitters.

Leicester University Chorus performed their rendition of What a Wonderful World, and shared the video on social media.

Society President and Research Associate Dr Cristina Ruiz Villena described the initiative as ‘fantastic’.

She said: “With this video we wanted to be part of a mass movement to ask our international leaders for climate action using our voices and music, which is a universal language.

“Climate activism sometimes has a bad rep, but it can take many forms, including this specific demonstration. Lots of people want climate action now, and Music Declares Emergency represents the music industry”.

Like the initiative, Dr Ruiz Villena has been working to better our understanding of the climate crisis and bring awareness to it through her own work at the UKRI-NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), hosted at Space Park Leicester.

Working there as a postdoctoral researcher, she works specifically with methane and tracking the gas via satellites and infrared imaging, looking at where the methane is emitting from and highlighting solutions to deal with one of the most harmful greenhouse gasses.

Methane has a warming effect over 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide, with the largest reason for the release of methane coming from ‘human-induced climate disruption’, such as through the melting of Arctic ice sheets containing methane deposits.

Dr Ruiz Villena’s hope is that like her research, she can be part of the fight against climate change and that through music, the Leicester University Chorus will be able to make their own mark. They will join forces with over 3,164 artists and up to another 3,000 other declarers taking part in the initiative, alongside the support of the University of Leicester Students’ Union.

This story was written by James Greasley, a third-year Journalism student at the University of Leicester.