A couple of weeks ago, the phone rang.

“How are you?” I mumbled, trying to work out if my headphones were connected.

“Well, you know. I just read the news.” The person on the other end of the line sighed.

A moment of silence.

It was March 1 – the day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report.

Its dire predictions of “unavoidable multiple climate hazards” came amid news of the fifth day of war in Ukraine, following on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin gesturing at the use of nuclear weapons. At the same time, parts of NSW and Queensland were vanishing under metres of water, with many communities left to fend for themselves in a time of acute crisis.

A little more than a week later, on March 11, the Adelaide Festival presented its Climate Crisis and the Arts forum in collaboration with the UK-based Julie’s Bicycle.

Across almost a dozen sessions held in the generous shade of the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens, industry leaders, activists, artists and scientists grappled with the weight of our current reality, and the role of the arts in navigating the blurred path ahead.

As the voices of commentators burdened with a deep understanding...