Yearly Archives: 2009

Marcus Brigstocke’s #COP15

Just in case you’d missed the BBC’s Now Show clip, here’s the transcript. Brigstocke was one of those on the 2008 Cape Farewell expedition.

The delegates came and the delegates sat
And they talked and they talked till their bums all went flat
Then a delegate said of the country he knew
“We must do something quick but just what should we do
So they sat again thinking and there they stayed seated
Sitting and thinking “the planet’s been heated”
“I think” said a delegate there from Peru
“That we all must agree on some things we could do
Like reducing emissions at least CO2″
So they nodded and noted then vetoed and voted
And one of them stood up and suddenly quoted
“It’s the science you see, that’s the thing that must guide us
When the leaders all get here they’re certain to chide us”
So they sat again thinking about what to think
Then decided to ponder what colour of ink
To use on the paper when they’d all agreed
To be selfless not greedy McGreedy McGreed
“But how do we choose just what colour to use”
Said a delegate there who’d been having a snooze
“We need clear binding targets definitive action
We must all agree clearly without more distraction”
So they sat again thinking of targets for ink
But the ink in their thinking had started to stink
And they started to think that the ink was a kink
In the thinking about real things they should think
“If ze climate needs mending then zis is our chance”
Said the nuclear delegate sent there by France
“We need to agree on one thing to agree on
Something we all want a fixed guarantee on”
“Yes” said another who thought this made sense
Some value for carbon in dollars or pence
But the mention of money and thoughts of expense
Had stifled the progress and things became tense
The fella from China with a smile on his face
Said “Who put the carbon there in the first place”
“Wasn’t us” said the U.S then Europe did too
Then a silence descended and no words were spoken
Till a delegate stood up, voice nervous and broken
“Is there nothing upon which we all can decide
Because on Wednesday my chicken laid eggs that were fried”
“We all like a sing song” said the bloke from Down Under
But then the great hall was all shouting and thunder
Policemen had entered and were wearing protesters
Who they’d beaten and flattened like bloodied sou’westers
The police had decided to downplay this crime
With prevention detention and beatings in rhyme
The Greenies who’d shouted and asked for a decision
Were now being battered with lethal precision
All sick of inaction and fed up of waiting
All tired of the endless debated placating
They’d risen up grating berating and hating
So the police had commenced the related abating
Ban Ki-moon put his head in another man’s lap
And was last heard muttering something like “crap”
But the chap next to him said “It’s more like it’s poo”
So the great hall debated not what they should do
But how to decide between crap cack and poo
“It is poo” “It is cack” “It is crap” “We agree”
Which was written and labelled as document three
“I think if we all find one thing we agree on
Then maybe Brazil might be left with a tree on”
So they sat again thinking of trees and Brazil
And of glaciers which had retreated uphill
And they thought of the poor folks whose homes were in flood
But less of the protesters covered in blood
They pondered the species so nearly extinct
It’s as if they all thought that these things might be linked
“We need a solution we need action please”
Said a lady who’d come from the sinking Maldives
The others all nodded and said it was fact
That the time must be now not to talk but to act
Then Obama arrived and said most rhetorical
“Action is action and not metaphorical”
“Wow” they all thought “he must mean arregorical [sic]“
“I love it when Barack goes all oratorical”
“But the problem I have is that Congress won’t pass it
“Bugger” said Ban Ki then “sorry” then “arse it”
Then Brown said “I’ve got it now how does this strike you?
It’s simpler when voters already dislike you”
He suggested the EU should lead from the front
So The Mail and The Telegraph called him something very unpleasant indeed
So the delegates stared at the text with red marks on
Ignoring the gales of laughter from Clarkson
No-one was satisfied nobody won
Except the morons convinced it was really the sun
And they blew it and wasted the greatest of chances
Instead they all frolicked in diplomat dances
And decided decisively right there and then
That the best way to solve it’s to meet up again
And decide on a future that’s greener and greater
Not with action right now but with something else later

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

APInews: Public Conversation: Public Art & Sustainability

Artists will lead a conversation about public art and sustainability during “Waterpod: Autonomy and Ecology,” an exhibition at New York’s Exit Art this winter. The show is a survey of a five-month voyage around the boroughs of New York by Waterpod, a floating, sculptural structure and community-building space designed as a futuristic habitat and an experimental platform for assessing the design and efficacy of living systems. It visited the five boroughs and Governors Island from June to October 2009. The discussion, February 4, 2010, includes Jennifer McGregor of Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx; public artist Mary Miss; Mierle Laderman Ukeles, a “maintenance artist” known for her service-oriented artworks; Mary T. Mattingly, Waterpod founder; and members of her team. The exhibition, January 9–February 6, 2010, is part of Exit Art’s SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics) program. Posted by Linda Frye Burnham

via APInews: Public Conversation: Public Art & Sustainability.

Joe McElderry not No 1: how to stop a juggernaut


In a fitting end to Simon Cowell’s four year dominance of the Xmas number ones, this year’s festive pop pick is an expletive-filled polemic against the American military-industrial complex “Killing in the Name”. A man who has always stood with admirable consistency on the law of pop – that sales mean what the public want, and the public knows better than the critics –  was last night skewered on his own petard, significantly outsold by a campaign which in a few weeks gathered almost a million followers.

And what do we learn from this?

Two things.

One: Social media can do extraordinary things. To get a number one hit after appearing on national television every Saturday for three months is really not hard. Yet that old media juggernaut careering down on us was stopped a Facebook campaign started by a couple from Essex and a single live performance on Radio 5.

Two: Ultimately we British are best motivated against things, rather than forthings. The best way to increase democratic participation in the UK would be to ask people to vote against candidates, rather than for them. Can you imagine it? There would be queues around the block, come polling day. (Of course there’s the small problem that the political landscape would be poisoned forever, but you would have participation.)

This, of course, provides tricky lesson for those of us interested in the enviroment – and those of us here at the RSA who prefer an optimistic, positive  approach.

But it does go some way explain why it is so hard to motivate people to action when it comes to issues like climate. Which particular machine are we supposed to be raging against? Try as we might to divide society into the environmentally good and bad, there is no covenient Cowell figure to blame everything on. As Paul Kingsnorth suggests in a comment on a blog post earlier, there is no clear enemy other than ourselves. Though we can rage against our leaders for failing at Copenhagen – and the scale of the failure was immense – few leaders wanted to stick their neck out without a clear mandate from their people – and let’s face it – that clear mandate just isn’t there yet.

Point one though provides at least one clue to how to change that. Social media is not the answer to everything. Maybe the gains it can make in terms of the environmental agenda are only small ones, but if social media campaigns are witty, smart and well-directed they can still do remarkable things.

Thanks to Anne Helmond for the RATM photo.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Mo`olelo’s Green Theater Choices Toolkit

click hereto downloadIn Fall 2008, Mo`olelo received a MetLife/TCG A-ha! Think it , Do it grant to research and develop a tool to measure the environmental impact of theater and help the industry make choices that do not cause long-term damage to our communities. We partnered with Brown & Wilmanns Environmental Consulting and adopted their “Green Choices” methodology. The Green Theater Choices Toolkit was finally completed on December 18, 2009. Click here to download the 24-page pdf.

via GREEN MO`OLELO.

HQ Copenhagen » HEADQUARTERS, PART 2 – FROM JANUARY 8TH AT 17:00

Headquarters reopens in Gallery Poulsen on January 8th at 17:00.

Headquarters, part 2, will be a total installation including works made by *HQ members and documentation of their activities during COP15.

The exhibition will run until January 22nd.

We look forward to seeing you at Gallery Poulsen.

HQ Copenhagen » HEADQUARTERS, PART 2 – FROM JANUARY 8TH AT 17:00.

Land Art Internet Coma

Thanksgiving long past, and holiday feasts ahead, but I’m already stuffed, thank you, with this years’ steady eco-art diet of Land Art adventures and COP15 coverage. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed with art-nerd-glee. There is such a thing as an information coma, I swear.

The art-and-landscape dishes started churning out of the Nevada Museum of Art kitchen with its LAND/ART symposium way back in June: that event kicked off a summer-into-fall series of lectures, performances, exhibits and tours that made NMA the best excuse to want to go to Nevada since Burning Man. Later in the year Land Arts of the American West, a field program directed by Chris Taylor, took some lucky followers on a tour of renowned site-specific installations and Land Artworks. Unfortunately, some of us had to stay at home with our Winnebagos, experiencing most of the glory over the internet.

This month, while the delegates at COP15 tried to negotiate our way into a non-binding middle ground, Ian Garrett and William Shaw told us what artists were doing to mitigate the damage. There’s great coverage of actions, protests and memes by Shaw on the RSA blog– Garrett did comprehensive exhibition coverage and interviews for CSPA. It seems the artworks that struck the most resonant chord were also political actions: New Life Copenhagen, The Yes Men’s fake press release, actions that addressed COP15’s inaccessibility and ineffectiveness. Comedian Eugene Mirman voiced a couple of unanswered questions. The philosophical culmination is GOOD COP, an alternative Bella Center installed at Gallery Poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where everyone from Daryl Hannah to Bill McKibben got some time on the mic to make their international declarations. If the dialogue keeps running this fierce, I’m not worried. That is to say: Burp.

Go to the Green Museum

ashdenizen: not bothered by parallels

The big new Christmas movie, James Cameron’s Avatar, which opened yesterday, has some striking green themes.

There’s deforestation: a truly massive tree gets destroyed. There's a threatened indigenous people: the home of the Na’vi tribe gets obliterated. And there’s a new-agey idea that that there’s a mutual thing going on between the people living in forest and the forest itself and there may even be scientific evidence (Sigourney Weaver tells us) of electro-magnetic impulses that allows the forest to act like a brain, communicating between its many constituent elements.

The baddies of the piece, of course, don't have such a sophisticated brain. What the US military has is muscle – a massive arsenal of weaponry which it aims to use ( ‘shock and awe’) to get the ‘savages’ moving out of an area where there they have discovered a very precious mineral called – yes! – ‘unobtanium’;.

This raises an interesting question. I assume you can't have a successful blockbuster movie that’s anti-American. So there must be plenty of people watching this movie who aren’t remotely bothered by the parallels suggested by the storyline.

Update: in this interview Cameron refers to the themes of imperialism and biodiversity and attacks the way America has ‘had eight years of the oil lobbyists running the country’. But he points out that anti-imperialism is American too. ‘You can take it back to the origins of America in a fight of rebels against an imperial dominating force.’ Except the rebels in question were hardly fighting on behalf of indigenous people.

via ashdenizen: not bothered by parallels.

RSA Arts & Ecology – Jan 14 | State of the Arts Conference

State of the Arts Conference
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Park Plaza Riverbank, SE1 7TL
Tickets: £115 (includes VAT)


The State of the Arts Conference, organised by the RSA and Arts Council England, brings together a wide range of creative voices to debate the value and purpose of the arts at a time of significant change.

We recognise that arts and cultural experiences are more diverse, disruptive and fast moving than ever before. The conference will explore with artists, entrepreneurs, cultural leaders and policy makers what kind of arts landscape we need and how we might get there.

Join us in examining the key role of the arts and arts policy in building a strong future for the nation.

Keynote presentations by:

Riz Ahmed, actor and performer
Ben Bradshaw MP, UK Arts Minister
Alan Davey, Arts Council 
Andy Field, Forest Fringe
Dame Liz Forgan, Arts Council
Jeremy Hunt MP, UK Shadow Arts Minister
Nicholas Hytner, National Theatre
Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre
John McGrath, National Theatre Wales
Lord David Puttnam
Matthew Taylor, RSA

For more information see the main State of the Arts Conference page at RSA Events.

Please visit our FAQ page if you have any queries on the conference.

via RSA Arts & Ecology – Jan 14 | State of the Arts Conference.