make kin, not cars

Heinz-Brandt-Schule with Erik Göngrich and Ursula Rogg

© Ursula Rogg und Erik Göngrich

Climate lawsuits can be a tool in the struggle against climate change. But they can also challenge how we see the world. After centuries of Māori efforts, the Supreme Court of New Zealand recognized the Whanganui River as a legal person in 2017, granting it the same rights as humans. In their project with artists Ursula Rogg and Erik Göngrich, 7th grade students at the Heinz-Brandt-Schule examine their surroundings and look at them anew. In a staged negotiation, they take on advocacy for organisms or elements affected by climate change – whether a birch, the air or a city-dwelling fox. They draw, cook, collect and research; they explore non-human life forms in the city and build stand-ins of themselves. As such, they form new connections with the living world. They call it “kin.”