A Donegal man is hoping his new musical will spark a ‘Band Aid moment’ for the climate change movement. Kilcar’s Seamus Smyth wrote ‘Save Our Ice’ for his five-year-old grand-daughter Riley and to highlight the climate emergency her generation will one day have to face.
The play, which includes the song ‘Elegy for Our Wonderful and Beautiful Blue Friend’ and two other original tunes, will be performed in radio version during a three-hour conference being staged next month by Citizens’ Climate International. The global climate movement has 200,000 members across the world and the conference will be broadcast across 74 countries.
Seamus hopes the work will capture the imagination of singers and performers all over the world in the way Bob Geldof did in 1985.
“I’m doing it for my granddaughter,” said the writer.
“She’s only five and has no idea I’m doing it. She also has no idea she is going to be walloped by the biggest emergency in history when she grows up so I’m trying to save her from that as much as I can. Hopefully some good will come of it.”
Save Our Ice tells the story of ‘Silvergirl’, a beautiful alien who encounters the American president. She whisks them off to the Arctic wilderness where she points out a buried spaceship inhabited by a hostile race of monstrous aliens called Dastadons.
Silvergirl explains that to keep them buried and save mankind all the president has to do is stop the ice from melting – ‘Save the ice and the ice will save you’.
“It’s about trying to get that Band Aid moment for the climate change movement,” said the Kilcar man.
“Greta Thunberg has brought the young people on board but no one has managed to get the adults fired up yet. We need someone to fire up adults because only grown-ups can fix this. And they can only do so by inconveniencing themselves.”
The question the Save Our Ice team is asking is who has the pulling power to inspire the world’s adult population to wake up to the climate crisis. Who is capable of bringing the music industry together the way Bob Geldof and Midge Ure did?
“No one in the entertainment industry is as revered as Paul McCartney,” said Seamus.
“He has the clout to bring Justin Timberlake, Justin Beiber, Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Will.i.am, Seal and every other big name you can think of all together in one place.”
To date though selling the climate message has not been simple. Some years ago Seamus Smyth penned a series of literary thrillers and has retained contacts within the book industry. But he says getting an agent or publisher to even read a work about climate change has been virtually impossible.
“They see climate change and think it’s a downer. So we have a few minds to change about this.”
Not everyone though has been as reluctant to buy into the project.
“When I was trying to get people interested I sent an email to Citizens’ Climate International’s global programme director, Canadian Cathy Orlando. Cathy gets a tank load of emails every day and is forced to pass on most of them out of sheer time constraints. But she was drawn to mine when she saw it was penned in Donegal. It turns out that Cathy’s great great great grandfather left Donegal 200 years ago for Canada. I thought it was lovely that a gentleman who left these shores 200 years ago is inspiring his descendants to do something good and positive for the planet. Without him Cathy’s curiosity might not have piqued and without Cathy this project would never have got this far. Like me, Cathy is big into changing hearts and minds via the arts so she got behind it right away.”
Save Our Ice is being produced in radio version at Letterkenny’s An Grianan Theatre by Patricia McBride and will be broadcast on Radio later in the year. After that it will be staged in Glasgow during the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). It is also provisionally booked for Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre later this year.
The Save Our Ice story is available on ebook and people, particularly young people, are being offered a free copy.
“Anyone can get a free ecopy of the written version by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It also includes a copy of the stage play. We’re hoping kids put it on at school to show solidarity during COP26.”
Seamus Smyth added, “Citizens’ Climate International’s 200,000 members will hear the play across 74 countries. Their tens of thousands of child members will be called upon to email Paul McCartney at his agent’s email@example.com and ask him to please help the children of the world by organising a modern equivalent of a ‘Band Aid’ moment.
“All 200,000 members will also be offered an ecopy of a list of email addresses of every big name in Hollywood, to blitz them with emails.”
Referring to a recent NY Times article titled ‘Why is Hollywood so afraid of climate change?’ Seamus Smyth and Cathy Orlando will call on everyone at the conference to ask movie stars why they aren’t making movies that inspire people to help ‘Our Wonderful and Beautiful Blue Friend’.
“Where are the great movie makers, the great actors, the great singers, the great playwrights, the great screenwriters? Making movies about the human condition, rom-coms, thrillers are all great. We all love the movies. But how will they help kids facing a future up to their knees in water fighting wars over land, food and drinking water?”
Save Our Ice is also being translated into Spanish, French and Japanese. Anyone looking for more information about the initiative, the book or the play can contact the Save Our Ice team at firstname.lastname@example.org