Spotlight on the people behind The ClimateMusic Project


An environmental scientist by training, Sara has worked in Washington, D.C. as a Science & Technology Policy Fellow sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  At the U.S. Department of State, she managed the environment, science, technology, and health portfolio in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs. With the U.S. National Science Foundation, she catalyzed new frontiers of science research specifically around biodiversity.  Sara holds a Ph.D. in ecology from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and a B.A. in biology from Harvard University.

1.     What’s your role at The ClimateMusic Project?

Currently, I am Director of Partnerships, and I try to broaden and enhance The ClimateMusic Project’s network and visibility in the most strategic way—by forging connections to relevant organizations or people working in science, the environment, public policy, non-profits, government, etc.  However, I really see myself as a “Jane of all trades.”  Like most of the CMP staff, I try to do whatever is needed of me!

2.     How did you become involved?

I have been fortunate to witness the evolution of The ClimateMusic Project almost since its inception when Stephan Crawford (founder) came up with this brilliant, but as yet untested idea of representing climate data and our changing climate system through music.  I attended a few workshops where he was developing a proof of concept for the idea.  That was back in early 2014, I believe.  Since then, I have been lucky to attend the concert premier in fall 2015 and subsequent performances.  As an environmental scientist, I thought, “This is so cool!  How can I not get involved?”

3.     What do you think this collaboration between scientists and artists can achieve?

I am a firm believer in the STEM to STEAM movement, which is a campaign to incorporate Art (and Design) amongst the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.  The ClimateMusic Project is the perfect example of artists and scientists teaming up to create something bigger and more profound than what would come out of each discipline alone.  Ultimately, I believe “climate music”—that is driven by the science—has the ability to convey how our climate is changing in a visceral and emotional way compared to just a standard lecture.  By taking this “hearts and minds” approach, hopefully our audiences leave our concerts with a call to action!

4.     What’s your favorite kind of music, and whom would you like to see CMP collaborate with?

I have a pretty diverse taste in music and enjoy alternative, classic rock, grunge, jazz, and folk, to name a few.  U2 and Bruce Springsteen are on my wish list for top CMP collaborators!

5.     What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get involved in the fight against climate change?

I would say that no action is too small and don’t get discouraged!  There is so much you can do on a local and personal level.  Get involved civically and vote.  Make small changes in your personal lifestyle like visiting local farmers markets, taking public transportation, re-considering your energy choices.  Especially now, not all change will happen at the national (or international) level.  We all must be our own agents for positive change when it comes to combating climate change.