Rochdale News | News Headlines | Planet Earth sparks climate conversation in Rochdale

Date published: January 16, 2022

More than 12,000 people visited Gaia, the giant replica of planet Earth in Rochdale during its five-week run which ended last month. The seven-meter display at Number One Riverside was taken down during the festive break.

40 school groups visited the famous three-dimensional model and 14 events took place during its stay, including the switching on of Christmas lights, live theatre, science shows, an astronaut training camp, performances circus, a show on green careers, the ecological event My Earth and many others.

They all had the theme of considering our impact on the planet and what we can each do to make the borough greener. Students from Hopwood Hall College and local residents also took part in a debate on climate change, discussing major environmental issues facing the borough, which can be viewed online.

Councilor Sara Rowbotham, Deputy Leader of Rochdale Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability, said that despite the challenges of the pandemic, Gaia’s residency had been a success: “Gaia has helped launch many conversations about climate change and to really boost our climate change agenda. , and it was awesome to see how powerful a work of art can be.

“The additional events and the way so many local groups and residents of all ages got involved brought a real sense of community to the overall experience. While one or two events had to be canceled and the pandemic will inevitably have impacted numbers, the feedback has been fantastic, visitors have been truly captivated and Gaia has been a success that we really want to build on.

“Thank you to all our volunteers and everyone who came to see it. This is only the beginning to tackle the urgency of climate change, there is still a lot of work to do.

Councilor Sara Rowbotham, Deputy Chief and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability with Gaia at Number One Riverside
Councilor Sara Rowbotham, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate Change
and sustainability with Gaia at Number One Riverside

3,895 visitors shared their views on the borough’s climate change priorities, voting for what they believe should be the top priority. First, “reduce, reuse and recycle the things we buy and throw away”, with 1,197 votes, second with 860 votes, “invest in the natural environment, including planting more trees and protecting resources and the local ecosystem” and third, “more green energy to heat and power our homes and buildings to stop the use of fossil fuels” with 831 votes.

Councilor Sue Smith, cabinet member for Communities and Cooperation, said: “In light of the pandemic, I think there has already been a renewed respect for nature and our thoughts on caring for the planet strengthened in many ways. It was a perfect time to bring Gaia to Rochdale.

Darren Grice, Deputy Managing Director of Your Trust, added: “We are delighted to have supported Gaia’s stay. It has been fabulous to see another high profile exhibition at Number One Riverside, following Dippy’s successful visit in 2020, showcasing art in a truly relevant and accessible way, inspiring us all.

“You can see from all the social media posts what an impact this has had and what a great space Number One Riverside is for large scale exhibitions.”

The exhibition and support events were organized in partnership with Rochdale Borough Council and Your Trust, supported financially by the Garfield Weston Foundation.

To follow the climate change debate, find out how Rochdale plans to tackle climate change and how you can make a difference, visit

Gaia was created in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Bluedot and the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. With supporting partners Culture Liverpool and Liverpool Cathedral.

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