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About Weathering Earth

Welcome to Weathering Earth -
a way to create with earth and your local weather

As part of the Midlothian Climate Beacon, Nicole Manley, an environmental artist, in collaboration with Victoria Robb and the National Mining Museum Scotland, are facilitating Weathering Earth: a participatory art installation. Weathering Earth brings together children from several primary schools in the Midlothian and people from all over Scotland  to create clay sculptures in relationship with climate change. All sculptures are made while thinking about climate change and then the sculptures are placed outside for several days for the weather to work upon them.


The installation has two forms:

1) Weathering Installation: The weather sculptures are brought inside to grow in the Memorial Hall in the National Mining Museum Scotland

2) Weathering Sculptures: An archive of photographs taken of the sculptures showing how they weather over time.


This website documents Weathering Earth in both sculptural installation and photographic form. Everyone's participation will be shown here. We look forward to your participation!


An introduction to the natural process of weathering and climate change

Climate change is attributed to the global warming effect of increased greenhouse gases being released by human activity since the mid 20th century. These greenhouse gases trap the radiating heat from Earth toward space, causing the atmosphere to become warmer. The increasing global temperature also increases the intensity of rainfall, which accelerates the effect of weathering on the earth’s surface.


Weathering is a process that occurs where the solid earth meets the atmosphere. It is a mechanical, biological and chemical alteration that occurs not only at the surface of the earth, but within an undefined zone, extending downward into the ground to whatever depth water and air can penetrate. In this critical zone the agents of weathering are water, ice, salts, plants, animals and changes in temperature and the durability of this critical zone varies with composition, climate, texture and degree of exposure to weather. Not only is the critical zone affected, but also our built environment, where for example materials used in buildings begin to degrade more rapidly and need to be renovated or replaced more frequently due to the effects of climate change. 

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