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Hebrides Redacted: Nature is going quiet

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“Hebrides Redacted” demonstrates the devastating effects of biodiversity loss and what needs to be done to help species recover. This is a short film about the music, and its impact on live audiences, released as part of the Cambridge Zero Climate Change Festival 2022.

Driven by the observation that human activities are silencing nature, Cambridge economist Matthew Agarwala and composer & conductor Ewan Campbell use the power of music to show the precipitous decline in biodiversity loss and its devastating effects.

This short film shows how they redacted a piece of classical music: Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (1829), in proportion to the loss of an iconic species: the North Atlantic Humpback Whale, to demonstrate how, decade by decade, note by note, the population is in decline.

Their new version – Hebrides Redacted – begins with Mendelssohn’s original score intact but – just like biodiversity – is depleted note by note to show how nature is going quiet.

With Ewan Campbell conducting the performance by the 38-piece Wilderness Orchestra, Matthew Agarwala narrates the impact of biodiversity loss on the Humpback Whale over time, and the action and policies needed to help populations recover.

The finale looks into the future – allowing an optimistic 8% rise in whale population every decade and for more notes return – to show that when the oceans are better managed and whale populations rebound – nature’s soundscape can reach its full potential.

The Cambridge Zero Climate Change Festival 2022 includes a focus on ensuring the conversation around climate change is accessible to the general public. It runs from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 October.

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