So why has a sea of 1,000 white gnomes appeared in the middle of the Eden Project?
They call themselves the Keepers of the Ice, and they’ve come here to help show visitors how climate change is affecting Arctic ice.
Laid out in the form of a map of the Arctic region, some of them will disappear each week over a six-week period – to represent Arctic ice melt.
A key cooling system for the planet, Arctic sea ice has declined by more than a third over the for summer Arctic sea ice.
The good news is that, every weekend, visitors have the chance to get involved in the art installation and pledge to do something to reverse the melt. There’ll be the chance to take home a gnome in return for your pledge – simply have a chat with one of the volunteers manning the Arctic Gnome.
For example, you could pledge to turn off unneeded lights, to put a jumper on to warm yourself up rather than reaching for the thermostat, or to jump on your bike for short journeys instead of driving.
The gnomes told us: ‘We want to protect this special garden… Join us as we celebrate the ice and what it means to us all. You may even be able to take one of us home!’
If you can’t make it to Eden to see the art installation you can still take part online, uploading a photo of yourself with a garden gnome to the Arctic Gnome’s Facebook page or the Arctic Gnome website, or simply follow the Arctic Gnome on Twitter.
About the installation
The Arctic Gnome is part of our Slow Art Programme – a collection of long-term public engagement art projects commissioned to respond to Eden’s unique site.
The installation has been conceived by media agency Bullet Creative, and the original Arctic Gnome figurine, depicted sitting on top of a Biome, was designed by Eden’s very own designer-maker Elly Voisin – before being cast in clay 1,000 times!
Visit the Arctic Gnome exhibition
You can visit the installation, just near the ice rink, every day during Eden open hours – up to and including Sunday 6 January 2012. You can make an environmental pledge – with the chance of taking home a gnome – when the exhibition is manned, between 2.30 and 6pm each Saturday and Sunday.