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vert bar IN THE NEWS, 1st May 2008

Hard Rain Exhibition

On 1st May the Hard Rain Exhibition will open at the National Botanic Gardens. It is an outdoor exhibition, displayed on a long banner, which will be mounted at the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin until late August. It is intended to move the exhibition subsequently to the Kilmacurragh Arboretum in Co. Wicklow for the autumn.

The Hard Rain Exhibition includes stunning photographs illustrating the lyrics of Bob Dylanís classic early song ĎA Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fallí.

The Exhibition has been devised by Mark Edwards, an internationally acclaimed photographer. It has been seen in major cities around the world but comes to Dublin for the first time this year. Mark Edwards's pictures have been seen by millions around the world, showing the related problems of climate change, poverty and environmental destruction.

The idea for the exhibition arose after Mark Edwards became lost in the Sahara Desert in 1969. Rescued by a Tuareg nomad, he was taken back to the camp where, by chance, a battered cassette player was playing Dylan's song ĎHard Rainí. Edwards will be at Glasnevin for the opening of the Exhibition. He has also written a book, A Hard Rain, to accompany the exhibition which will be on sale in Glasnevin for its duration. When the book was published it was sent to world leaders, including the Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern T.D., who commented as follows:

I read Mark Edwards' and Lloyd Timberlake's book, Hard Rain, with interest. The stunning photography supports the stark message of the text. Perhaps the simplest and strongest message comes in just one line: "Climate change alone has the potential to be catastrophic."

We are already seeing and feeling the effects of climate change and, indeed, the hurricanes and floods of recent years are evidence of exactly how catastrophic those effects can be. It is essential that countries, governments and citizens all play their part in protecting our world and our future. This could be achieved by using fossil fuels responsibly, by managing waste with care and consideration, and by examining responsible, sustainable means of developing industry, agriculture and energy. To this end, I believe the Kyoto Protocol is a healthy and worthwhile guideline. While it is not always easy to meet the challenges it poses, I am convinced that the effort will yield real dividends for those who apply themselves to it.

I wish Mark and Lloyd every success with this important book.

The exhibition includes photographs by Mark Edwards, Sabastiŗo Salgado, Chris Steele-Perkins and others, creating a compelling commentary on the issues that are defining the 21st century and the future of the planet.

Further information on the exhibition, and how to order the book, is available at the official website: http://www.hardrainproject.com/

Christy Moore wrote about the book Hard Rain: Each day I avert my eyes and steer my thoughts away from the inevitable outcome. I ignore the headlong rush which sweeps us all along and bury my head in silence and in shame. The monumental extent of that which brings about our end has seemed unassailable. Increasingly I have been unable to engage. Everywhere I look I see my own participation in this race to, and over, the precipice.

This book inspires me to try and stand again. To know that others share this bleakest outlook brings a ray of hope. At first I thought that Dylan's lines should not be illustrated. I was wrong.