Opera Parallèle’s Harriet’s Spirit

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Music by Marcus Shelby, libretto by Roma Olvera, conducted by Lucik Aprahamian

DATES: January 18 at 6 p.m.; January 20 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

LOCATION: Buriel Clay Theater at the African American Art & Culture Complex
762 Fulton Street, San Francisco

CAST: Tiffany Austin as Harriet Tubman; Christabel Nunoo as Modesty; with Rooftop Alternative School’s 8th Grader Students

Each year, Opera Parallèle partners with school students to create and perform an original opera during an intensive eight-week residency. This year’s world premiere production features an original score by Bay Area jazz great Marcus Shelby and a libretto by Roma Olvera based on the story of a middle school girl who triumphs over the challenges of adolescence with Civil War-era legend Harriet Tubman as her role model and spirit guide. Students of Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco will share the stage with professional singers and Jazz Ensemble in creating the production. OP’s Hands-On-Opera production annually draws capacity crowds.

For tickets and information about Opera Parallèle’s Harriet’s Spirit, visit: https://operaparallele.org/harriets-spirit/

About Opera Parallele’s Harriet’s Spirit

Harriet’s Spirit is set in two different worlds — on the Combahee River during the Civil War and in a present day middle school. When asked about the opera’s themes, Marcus responded that Harriet’s Spirit is about family and friends, and the strength that they give you in challenging times. Harriet Tubman, first written in 2008 for Shelby’s original secular oratorio for 15 piece jazz orchestra and vocal ensemble, moves into the world of contemporary opera with “Harriet’s Spirit.”

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HARRIET’S SPIRIT CALENDAR DATES:

  • Family Art Night: Harriet’s Spirit with Marcus Shelby – Wednesday, November 1, 5:30pm-7:30pm, Burnett MPR. Families will create their own artwork inspired by Harriet’s Spirit and enjoy an evening of artistic call and response with composer/bassist Marcus Shelby and teaching artist Andi Wong.
  • “Harriet’s Spirit” Open Rehearsal Arts Night with Opera Parallèle – Thursday, November 16, 5pm-7pm, Mayeda Gym. Get an inside look at Opera Parallèle’s Harriet’s Spirit with composer Marcus Shelby, librettist Roma Olvera, conductor Lucik Aprahamian, director Erin Neff and Rooftop’s eighth grade student performers.
  • Open Dress Rehearsal @ the Mayeda Campus – Full Run Thru w Principals – Mon, 8 January, 9:44am-10:34am; Wed, 10 January, 9:44am-10:34am; Fri, 12 January, 9:44am-10:34am. In order to accommodate more classes, we have asked Opera Parallèle for permission to open up these three additional dates to small supportive audiences (approx. 30-40).
  • Final Dress Rehearsal: Harriet’s Spirit – Wednesday, January 17, 2018; 11:00-11:45am at the Buriel Clay Theater, African American Art & Culture Center. Field Trip for Elementary (grades K+) – 200 seat capacity
  • Opera Parallele’s Harriet’s Spirit (World Premiere) – Thursday, January 18, 6pm & Saturday, January 20, 1pm & 4pm; Community performances at the Buriel Clay Theater, African American Art & Culture Center.

HARRIET’S SPIRIT PRE-ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

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Trim A Tree 2017: North Star Ornaments

Rooftop is invited to decorate one of the trees at Davies Symphony Hall during the holidays. Each student at Rooftop, grades K-8, makes an ornament that will be hung on the Rooftop tree. This year’s ornament is inspired by the North Star quilt block. This ornament-making activity is supported by Art Parent Coordinators Brooke Kerpelman, Whitney Couch and Eryn Kurin.

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Harriet’s Spirit Story Quilt Project 

Rooftop classrooms will have the opportunity to create art in support of the production design for Harriet’s Spirit. Rooftop classrooms can learn more about Harriet’s Spirit and help to create three fabric quilts, inspired by the art of quilt maker Harriet Powers (1937-1910), which are integral to the production design of Harriet’s Spirit. These story quilts share family stories recorded by Rooftop families during the November 1st Family Art Night. The Story quilt pre-engagement activities will be supported by teaching artists Andi Wong and Mary Ann Cruz at The Studios at Burnett & Mayeda.

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Harriet’s Spirit Daguerreotype Portraits

The production design of Harriet’s Spirit is also influenced by a newly discovered daguerreotype portrait of Harriet Tubman, found in a souvenir album in 2016. The Metropolitan Museum of Art noted that “…the medium’s success in America was built upon the patronage of the average worker who desired a simple likeness to keep for himself, or more likely, to send to a loved one as the era’s most enduring pledge of friendship. Among the many momentous social transformations generated by photography’s invention was the possibility of self-representation by a large variety of groups previously excluded from official portraiture.” Advances in the art of digital photography make it a snap to add your own selfie to the Rooftop family photo album of 2017-2018.

Harriet’s Spirit for Hamilton Families

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After the war Harriet Tubman returned to her home in Auburn, New York, and began what was to be her life-long work of caring for aged and indigent African Americans when she purchased 25 acres of land at auction for $1450 in 1896. In 2016, Rooftop began filling the rainbow-colored shelves of the Blake Mini Library at Hamilton Families in San Francisco as a recipient of a gift from youth philanthropist Blake Ansari who resides in Brooklyn, New York. Our 3rd annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive kicks off on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, when students of all ages are invited to help by writing notes of encouragement and donating a new or newly read children’s book to the children at Hamilton Families in the Tenderloin. Harriet’s Spirit is sharing our love of books about #MonumentalWomen with a special selection of children’s books such as Nikki Grimes & Michele Wood’s “Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony (Inspired by Historical Facts).”

20170816HarrietSpiritFANIMG_8525.jpg“I Will Not Stand Still” 

Classes can take a ten-minute hike to Kite Hill from Burnett & Tank Hill from Mayeda and explore the natural surrounds of Twin Peaks and contemplate the benefits of outdoor experiences.  In September of 2017, Atlanta artist Mashona Council became the first person to complete the 125-mile Freedom Walk across the Tubman byway alone. “To come across that line, it really was this bringing (Tubman’s) spirit with me. And we know that when she crossed there was no one here to welcome her.” The trek helped Council to gain a better perspective of Harriet Tubman’s considerable accomplishments, whether leading others to freedom on the Underground Railroad or planning the Combahee River Raid of 1863. Harriet Tubman has the unique distinction of being the only woman to have played a decisive role in planning and carrying out a military operation during the Civil War. Today, Bay Area organizations such as Girl Trek and Outdoor Afro are heading outside to reflect on Harriet Tubman’s relationship with the land and learning more about the benefits of active engagement with the natural world.

MSJO Harriet Tubman 2008

Harriet Tubman, Marcus Shelby’s musical oratorio, was the central work of Rooftop’s “Art Is Jazz” study in 2007-2008. The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, featuring vocalist Faye Carole, performed for students at the Swedish American Hall on February 1, 2008.Marcus Shelby & Harriet Tubman at Rooftop

Rooftop School’s “Art Is… Jazz” (2007-2008) website  http://artsed4all.org/ArtIsJazz/Home.html

Marcus Shelby’s website https://www.marcusshelby.com

The Google Cultural Institute: SFJAZZ: Sounds of Freedom A celebration of the spirit of resistance in African American music.

Marcus speaks about his jazz oratorio “Harriet Tubman” for SFJAZZ https://youtu.be/lWZ3O6Ffub4

At The Center ~ Marcus Shelby’s ‘Harriet Tubman & The Blues’ https://youtu.be/lWZ3O6Ffub4

KQED Arts: Bassist Marcus Shelby Finds Freedom’s Message in the Music https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2014/04/24/bassist-marcus-shelby-finding-freedoms-message-in-the-music/

SFGate: What I Do: Marcus Shelby, Jazz Musician/Educator (2010) http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Marcus-Shelby-mixes-music-politics-history-3261035.php

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Did you know that Rooftop School is the source of inspiration for TWO musical compositions written by Marcus Shelby?

 

In 2008, Marcus wrote Peaceable Kingdom – a tone poem for 15-piece jazz orchestra and speaker, based on the 1847 painting by Edward Hicks. This work, which premiered at the De Young Museum on January 18, 2008. was an artistic call and response inspired by his time working with the students at Rooftop School. In turn, two Burnett murals were created during Rooftop’s 2007-2008 study of Marcus’ musical composition, Harriet Tubman.

The Peaceable Kingdom garden wall mural, created by Ms. Margot’s 4th grade class, was inspired by Harriet’s role as a conductor for The Underground Railroad. In Our Peaceable Kingdom, the entrance mural, created by Ms. Woo’s 4th class, features student poems about peaceThe now familiar Rooftop logo was designed by 4th graders Bobby McCollough, who designed the lettering, and Aida Irving, who drew the Raven and The Dove.

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Kindergarten Family Art Night 2017: “Listen to The Water”

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On Thursday, October 5, 2017 former Rooftop Kindergarten teacher Mary Ann Cruz and Kindergarten parent Laura Jean Ruppert sailed into the Burnett MPR, to lead Kindergarten Family Art Night, an art & music workshop for families at Rooftop School.

In addition to dancing the Lobster Quadrille and singing water songs, families made their own ocean-inspired shadow puppets. Ms. Cruz and Ms. Ruppert also spoke about their on-going work  exploring the theme of water with the kindergarteners in Ms. Lampear, Mr. Lane and Mr. Mayhew’s classrooms  This classroom introduction to opera was conceived as pre-engagement for this Fall’s work of art for study, Harriet’s Spirit, a children’s opera composed by Marcus Shelby, with a libretto written by Roma Olvera, for Opera Parallèle.

kinder-art-night-songs program_Page_1Download a copy of the kinder-art-night-songs

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To play is to engage. When we play, we pick up objects, ideas, or themes and turn them upside down, experiment with them, often arriving at something inspiring and amazing; yet we don’t play for the outcome, but for its own sake. For humans and some animals, play is a vital part of development. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Adults also play to break from conventions, to experiment, to shift from normality into a rich world of imagination or to push themselves in new ways.

Play in children can be generally divided into four broad types based on the developmental purposes each serves. These are: physical play, play with objects, symbolic play, pretence and socio-dramatic play, and games with rules. Beyond participating in children’s play, adults can support it by creating a supportive environment, providing a range of opportunities for play and thoughtfully providing structures that support play. 

— from the Lego Learning Institute’s “The Future of Play: Defining the role and value of play in the 21st Century (2016).

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Engaging play experiences offer a set of gifts, innate rewarding experiences that encourage individuals to continue their engagement. These are reflection and integration of what we have learned, the pleasure of Flow, self-expression, positive emotions, new ways of seeing, mastery, innovation, connecting with and learning from others, and lastly self-realisation.

— from the Lego Learning Institute’s “The Future of Play: Defining the role and value of play in the 21st Century (2016).

Ned Kahn’s Negev Wheel @ CJM

Rooftop Alternative School extends and enriches the learning opportunities in the classroom by connecting our students to the rich cultural life of the City. “Art Is @ The Center,” Rooftop’s art study theme for 2016-2017 reflects on Rooftop’s location at the geographic center of San Francisco. While the school began the year’s art study with a exploration of mindfulness through the form of the mandala, Kahn’s Negev Wheel invites viewers to take art and mindfulness for a spin through sculpture. To quote Janine Okmin, Associate Director of Education at Contemporary Jewish Museum, “In this gallery, art is literally at the center…” Using sand from the Negev Desert, “blown by the wind for centuries,” Negev Wheel invites a closer look at the invisible forces of rotation and gravity that are constantly at work in nature.

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“In his work Negev Wheel, Bay Area artist Ned Kahn explores these metaphors by reenacting the historical drama of tumbling desert sand, contained inside a circular spinning wheel. If a grain of sand is the vulnerable individual, a mountain of sand can have tremendous aggregate power. Thus in the context of The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Kahn’s work raises essential Jewish questions about building a reality of meaning, community, and generation.”

— http://www.thecjm.org/on-view/currently/negev-wheel-ned-kahn/about

Download: CJM “Negev Wheel” PD Workshop Agenda cjm-pd-agenda-for-negev-wheel

CJM PD Agenda for Negev Wheel

A closer look at the movement of the sand mixture in the interactive sculpture that visitors set into motion. Kahn experimented with three variables to create Negev Wheel: tilt (of the wheel), speed (of the spinning), and viscosity (fluidity of the sand).

Contemporary Jewish Museum “Negev Wheel” Exhibition Resource: http://www.thecjm.org/storage/documents/education/2016/Ned_Kahn_Teacher_Resource.pdf

This resource uses quotes, artist interviews, discussion questions, and suggested activities to examine Ned Kahn: Negev Wheel through five thematic lenses: natural forces; tinkering, engineering, and the artistic process; mindfulness; Jewish content; and art as metaphor. This guide is useful for classroom teachers or anyone interested in a deeper exploration of Ned Kahn: Negev Wheel.

In Conversation With Ned Kahn from The Contemporary Jewish Museum on Vimeo.

 

Ned Kahn (b. 1960, Connecticut) is an environmental artist and sculptor who creates installation works that explore, mimic, and play with forces and phenomena found in nature. Kahn’s artworks, at the intersection of art and science, invite audiences to immerse themselves into natural elements such as tornadoes, fog, clouds, and wind currents—or turbulences, as he calls them. A Bay Area resident for over twenty years, his hybrid work, as a synthesis of nature, art, and technology, makes the invisible forces of nature suddenly visible to the viewers’ eyes. http://nedkahn.com/

 

Watch video artist Benjy Young’s video poem about the entire process of making the artwork; from the inspiration and research of the artist to the finished design of the “Negev Wheel” installed at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Todd Barricklow and his Ned Kahn Studios crew along with Justin Limoges and the Museum’s crew assemble the artwork so Ned can coax the exact perpetual avalanche of Negev sand for his show.

Ned Kahn: Negev Wheel from Benjy Young on Vimeo.

A Clean Swell Schoolyard Cleanup

2016 California Coastal Cleanup Day

Every year, on the third Saturday in September, people join together at sites all over California to take part in the State’s largest volunteer event, California Coastal Cleanup Day. In 2015, more than 68,000 volunteers removed nearly 1,143,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways. Families, friends, coworkers, scout troops, school groups, service clubs, and individuals come together to celebrate and share their appreciation of California’s fabulous coast and waterways. The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy, which is the largest volunteer event on the planet!

Students have a way to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day even if they can not get out to a beach or local waterway. Schools can organize a Schoolyard Cleanup on the Friday prior to the weekend event and join in the efforts to protect our coast and ocean, no matter where their schools are located!
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Rooftop Alternaive PreK-8 School is located at the geographic center of San Francisco.

Schoolyard Cleanup at Rooftop’s Burnett Campus

It was a week of connecting the dots, as Rooftop School celebrated Dot Day on Tuesday, September 14 and wrapped up the week with an effort of caring for The Pale Blue Dot.” 

On Friday, September 16, 2016, the students at Rooftop’s Burnett Campus participated in a Schoolyard Cleanup. The students worked in teams to collect data about the trash that they found on the playground and documented their findings with digital cameras and video. Ms. Woo and Ms. Kennedy’s fourth graders collectively gathered 5.05.011 lbs. of trash from the schoolyard. Next, the students will assess the challenges and propose their own solutions for how they might help their school site to stay clean.

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Just like water, trash can move through a watershed, down streets, through storm drains, creeks and rivers, and eventually out to a lake or the ocean. Preventing and removing litter in school yards and neighborhoods is stopping marine debris before it happens is a very important action that students can take to protect our coast and ocean and the creatures that depend on a healthy ecosystem to survive.

Learn more about participating in California Coastal Cleanup Day at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/schoolyard/

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Sunday Streets in the Tenderloin: “Tender Land” with ArtsEd4All

2015 Mama Tender in the TNF

2016 Sunday Streets in the Tenderloin: 

TENDER LAND” with ArtsEd4All

Sunday, July 10, 2016, Noon – 4pm

at the Luggage Store Annex / Tenderloin National Forest

509 Ellis Street (between Hyde & Leavenworth)

 

Luggage Store Co-Artistic Directors/Artists Darryl Smith and Laurie Lazer of the luggage store have been working to transform Cohen Alley since 1989 from a place emblazed in a health-hazardous cesspool of bodily fluids and other dumped items, non-supervised open-air chemical experiments and illicit – criminal activities — to a vibrant community commons where people of all ages can gather for public art, performance, experimental art projects. and classes and activities. In May of 2009, the land that was then called Cohen Alley was reclaimed as “The Tenderloin National Forest.”

 

“Ode to Mama Tender” — “In 1989, Darryl Smith planted a redwood tree in the shady asphalt. Help us to write a poem as lovely as Mama Tender, the redwood that is the “heartwood” of the Tenderloin National Forest.

 

“A Tree Grows in Cohen Alley” – Visitors to the Tenderloin National Forest will enjoy a wide range of trees and plant life. Citizen scientists can help to document the biodiversity in the Tenderloin National Forest with iNaturalist. Share your photographs of the nature that you discover in the TNF via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #TNFTenderland

 

“Wood U Like 2 Play” — Let’s make beautiful music together! Enjoy a wood song sing-a-long.

 

“Common Scents” – The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. Take a deep breath and enjoy the smell of redwood. Make a scent diffuser to bring home.

 

For more information about Sunday Streets:
Sunday Streets 7.10.16

Cultural Exchange: Kung Fu Panda 3

With the success of the 2008 animated film Kung Fu Panda, Chinese moviegoers praised the film’s depiction of Chinese culture and careful attention to details, “from the martial arts scenes to its depiction of family expectations and how the ancients were believed to pass into the afterlife.”  Wu Jiang, president of the National Peking Opera Company, told the official New China News Agency, “The film’s protagonist is China’s national treasure and all the elements are Chinese, but why didn’t we make such a film?”

Now, eight years laterKung Fu Panda 3 is DreamWorks’ first official U.S./China co-produced film opening simultaneously in the US and China on January 29Po the kung fu-fighting panda, Oogway, Shifu, and the Furious Five return in Kung Fu Panda 3.

Thanks to the San Francisco Film Society’s Education Program, Kung Fu Panda comes to Rooftop School. On Friday, January 8th at 12:30pm, 3rd, 4th and 7th grade students will attend a special presentation with Kung Fu Panda 3’s producer Melissa Cobb and co-directors Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson (who has the distinction of being the first woman to direct a big-budget animated film for a major studio).

The film’s creative team will share how the Kung Fu Panda 3 artists researched China’s culture (architecture, food, clothing, and, of course, kung fu!) for the film. The artists were also inspired by China’s natural beauty, the country’s distinct landscapes and wildlife — including the endangered golden monkey, South China tiger, red panda, and Giant pandaWe’ll get a peek at scenes from the new movie, enjoy a drawing demonstration and Q&A with the filmmakers.

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Weather permitting, the entire school is invited to come to the circle for a post-presentation performance which will include a Shaolin animal-style kung fu demonstration with special guests.

There will also be an art activity available for all classes to make their own bolang gu, a Chinese rattle drum, one of the earliest toys dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Practice playing your drum with friends and use your power to speak up for Giant Pandas.

Kung Fu Panda Art

Meet the Characters of Kung Fu Panda

Meet the Creative Team

Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Alessandro Carloni

DreamWorks Animation invited artists, photographers, designers and illustrators worldwide to create art that illustrated Po on his journey home for Kung Fu Panda 3. Inspired by Po, his friends and all the amazing places around the world, artists went straight to work and submitted over 400 stunning submissions of Po in different continents. Whether he was fighting bulls in Spain, trying on some lederhosen in Munich, riding the train in New York, or even attending a festival in India, Po popped up in almost every landmark around the world.

Five Animals Kung Fu

The foundation of the Southern Shaolin martial art systems can be attributed to these five animals – Snake, Tiger, Leopard and Crane, and the mythological Dragon.

Part of the kung fu student’s training is to emulate the spirit and the movement of these animals. They are instructed to visit the city zoo and the library to study the quintessence nature of the animal.

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Sifu Young Wong of the EY Lee Kung Fu School teaches third graders some animal style kung fu.

Panda Resources & Links:

Explore.org: Happiness Village – Pandas in Gengda, China

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding: Panda Live

National Zoo: Giant Panda Cam

 

Nature Works Everywhere: Virtual Field Trip to China’s Great Forests

Join expert scientist Yue Wang, a conservation planning officer for The Nature Conservancy, on a virtual field trip across the world to two stunning provinces in China—Sichuan and Yunnan. Explore majestic forests, towering mountains, and other iconic landscapes. While examining the role these vital natural areas play in the carbon cycle and climate change, as well as the benefits of reforestation, we will learn about the magnificent creatures who call these habitats home: giant pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, and the elusive and odd-looking takin.

 

World Wildlife Fund: What is the story behind the panda logo of WWF?

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Aware of the need for a strong symbol that would overcome all language barriers, founders of the World Wildlife Fund chose the Giant Panda. “We wanted an animal that is beautiful, is endangered, and one loved by many people in the world for its appealing qualities.” The black-and-white panda has since come to stand as a symbol for the conservation movement as a whole.

Follow the Water

“When I was orbiting Earth in the space shuttle, I could float over to a window and gaze down at the delicate white clouds, brilliant orange deserts, and sparkling blue water of the planet below. I could see the coral reefs in the oceans, fertile farmlands in the valleys, and twinkling city lights beneath the clouds. Even from space, it is obvious that Earth is a living planet.” — Dr. Sally Ride

Sally Ride EarthKAM is a NASA educational outreach program that enables students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space.  The project was initiated by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. The EarthKAM camera was first operated on the International Space Station (ISS) on Expedition 1 in 2001. Sally Ride died in 2012, and in 2013, NASA renamed the program Sally Ride EarthKAM. The Sally Ride EarthKAM camera remains a permanent payload on the ISS, supporting about four missions annually. EarthKAM’s Mission 50 took place between November 10-13, and students around the world were able to request images of specific locations on Earth.

NASA has a familiar adage: Follow The Water, for where there is water, there is life. For Mission 50, Rooftop School’s fourth graders made a list of the places where they would like to see water.

I want to see water in...

As Sally Ride noted, “The view of Earth is spectacular.”

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From November 30 to December 11, 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will brings the world together with hopes of achieving a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The Association of Space Explorers reached out to their fellow astronauts to pass on a simple message of solidarity, hope and collaboration to combat climate change and reach our political leaders during such a crucial time.