Ever wanted to feel like an astronaut, seeing our world from outer space? Well, you're in luck. A famous art installation is currently in the Isle of Man that will help you scratch that itch. Kind of. It won't send you into space. But it's been put in a space... So, same word there... The space in St Thomas' Church. To be specific. Space-ific.   

‘Gaia’ – named after the Earth Goddess in Greek mythology - is a giant illuminated hanging Earth created by Luke Jerram to give people a sense of the 'Overview Effect' felt by astronauts. Jerram created the installation with NASA imagery of the Earth's surface, and each centimetre of the sculpture represents 21km of our planet. Inspiring people around the world, they are uplifted by the mesmerising and mighty size of it, but it also gives the sense that we all connected and sheds light on its fragility - it’s our only home.  

56 years ago in 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 became the first humans to see and photograph Earth from space. The famed photo they captured known as “Earthrise” fuelled the environmental movement and launched the first Earth Day in 1970, which is now held on 22 April every year.  

Jerram’s artwork has been brought to the island in time for this year’s Earth Day in partnership with Net Zero Isle of Man, the Isle of Man Arts Council, and sponsors Ørsted in the hope to get conversation flowing more easily about climate change and the challenges facing the Island’s environment and our UNESCO Biosphere.

Last year, Net Zero Isle of Man commissioned Island Global Research to ask the great Manx public how they feel about climate change. They found out:   ‘The majority of locals recognise the importance of climate change with 76% thinking it is important. 62% of people want government to be doing more to reach net zero.  However, more than a third of people (36%) agreed there is 'so much information about climate change it is difficult to know what to do'.   

So, to try and increase engagement and understanding about climate change, Net Zero is turning to *pause for dramatic effect* ART. GAIA.

As well as helping breach, what can be, difficult conversations about the state of the world, it’s hoped Gaia will inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy culture and the arts. Our Earth is something everyone can relate to and, framed between the grand archways of St Thomas’ Church surrounded by the magnificent murals by Manx artist John Miller Nicholson, it is sure to be an impressive sight.  

Joff Whitten from the Isle of Man Arts Council said, ‘Personally I’m thrilled Gaia is coming to the island, Luke Jerram is a world class artist, and his fascinating work sits somewhere in between art, science, and engineering.   

It will be incredibly poetic to see the installation in a place of worship rather than an art gallery. Hopefully, it will give audiences, young and old, a chance to have a look at our planet with a new perspective, and perhaps a chance for inspiration and enthusiasm. We only have one world and I think we could all do with finding a bit of love and awe for the blue marble we call home.’ 

Gaia is designed to be accessible, impactful, memorable, and experiential but in a way that's at least 365 times better than any GCSE drama production you've watched. 

Visitors can spend up to 45 minutes during a session, walking under it or sitting watching the world go by, putting it to rights. Gaia is accompanied by a bespoke surround sound composition by BAFTA award-winning Composer Dan Jones. It'll be playing alongside the sculpture to add to the awe-inspiring atmosphere. And if 'being wowed' by this six-meter sized replica of our planet isn't enough to get you to go along to see Gaia - you high maintenance soul you - then added incentive is if you go and get a snap of it your socials will blow up. In a good way. Just make sure you use #EarthArtwork with it.   

Gaia will be installed at St Thomas’ Church in Douglas, which is on trend with the message of the artwork because it's registered as an Eco Church under the A Rocha UK project. It's also working towards an Eco Church Award, focussing on energy efficiency and using Fairtrade products. Plus, every Autumn the church celebrates Creationtide, which explores our relationship with the natural world and responsibilities towards safeguarding it. Really putting the saint in St Thomas' with all that environmentally excellent work.   

As part of Gaia, Net Zero will be inviting Islanders to make a pledge that’s a win for them, our Island and our planet. Can you spend more time in nature, could you go car-free on more occasions, choose more seasonal local foods and better insulate your home to save energy and money?  

Together we can make waves and show the world what our small island can achieve. We are a proud Biosphere nation after all. 

Gaia is on public display from 20 April to 12 May, coinciding with Earth Day on 22 April. Daytime tickets to see Gaia are FREE, and there will be a small charge to go see it in the evening. Donations to St Thomas’ Church are most welcome. 

If you find yourself feeling uneasy about climate change and your head's spinning with information, then you’re very welcome to come along to one of the new Climate Cafes. It’s a safe space where you can share your feelings on climate change with trained Climate Psychology Alliance facilitators who are there to listen. It’s hoped this can help bring some relief to climate anxiety and help people feel less isolated and more resilient.    

There are three sessions; two on 22 April (Earth Day) the first at 2:30pm, the second at 5:30pm and one on 1 May at 2:30pm. All taking place in St Thomas’ by the gorgeous Gaia installation. It’s free AND there’ll be cake. Sessions are for anyone over 18 and are limited to 10 people.

For more information or to book, message [email protected]   

Events under and as part of Gaia:   

20 April: Biskee Brisht 

from 7.30pm hosted by St Thomas' Church, £5  

22 April:  Climate Café at Gaia 

2:30- 4:30 pm / 5:30 - 7:30 pm at St Thomas' Church Free to attend, donations for refreshments.   

27 April: Shenanigans Band

from 7.30pm hosted by St Thomas' Church, £5   

27 April - 5 May: Manx Wildlife Week


1 May: Climate Café at Gaia

2:30- 4:30 pm at St Thomas' Church Free to attend, donations for refreshments.   

3 May: The Bop Katz – Rocking around the World

from 7.30pm hosted by St Thomas' Church, £5   

4 May: Reimagining Our Biosphere: co-creating a nature-positive future on the Isle of Man

Drop-in art workshop with Ali Hodgson, the Biosphere Artist in Residence

10am - 1pm (choose a Gaia session at 10am, 11am or 12pm to join the workshop) at St Thomas' Church, Free – donations welcome.  

7 May: Manx Voices Choir

from 7.30pm hosted by St Thomas' Church, £5   

To book a session to visit Gaia and the associated events see www.netzero.im/gaia