In 2018, I went on a trip to India and the UK. Debate over the proposed Adani coal mine had reached fever pitch; I planned to record the sounds of a coal processing plant in India, the type of place that Adani coal would end up. On the same trip, I recorded the sounds of the Durga Puja Hindu festival on Kolkata.

Kim CunioKim Cunio. Photograph © Sitthixay Ditthawong

This trip was shaped by my earlier experiences in Cambridge (UK), where I worked alongside the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). There, I experienced something that I did not think possible: I held an ice core in my hand. These ice cores are drilled by BAS scientists in Antarctica and then taken back to the UK for study, from which a definitive, time-based measurement of carbon dioxide and methane in the earth’s atmosphere is taken for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A hand drawn-graph of the findings was displayed outside the freezer; the graph pulled no punches.

BAS tech-whizz Pete Bucktrout played me a recording of an ice core melting, that broke my heart and inspired this...