Yearly Archives: 2015

August Green Tease Reflections

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The Green Tease events are an opportunity for people interested in arts, sustainability or both to come together and discuss various ways in which the arts can engage with sustainability issues. This month, the Edinburgh Green Tease was led by a theatre company which has grown a living stage to be used in its latest production, while the Glasgow Green Tease was led by visual artist Rachel Duckhouse and looked into how we can use art to engage with climate change in our daily lives.

Edinburgh: Ecology & Theatre-Making with Eco-Drama

This Edinburgh Green Tease was led by Eco-Drama, the schools-touring programme of the Whirlybird Theatre Company. Their aim is to use theatre, music, storytelling and creative workshops to engage, entertain and inspire people of all ages to care for our natural world. Director Emily Reid, alongside Set Designer Tanja Beer and Assistant Set Designer Mona Kastell, came to discuss their latest production Uprooted, which features Scotland’s first ever Living Stage.

The Living Stage is exactly as it sounds: a stage composed of living plants. It is recyclable, biodegradable, edible and created from locally found and reclaimed materials. Tanja Beer, author of this wonderful idea, has travelled all over the world working with local permaculturalists and theatre-makers to create living sets. Since its debut at the 2013 Castlemaine State Festival in Australia (see video below), the project has only grown (no pun intended) and has since travelled to Cardiff where it was part of the Trans-Plantable Living Room and now into Scotland.

The Living Stage for Uprooted was created as part of Eco-Drama’s ‘Out to Play’ programme, working with four Glasgow primary schools to design, grow and build the living theatre set. Having seen that many of these inner-city schools only have concrete playgrounds, the idea of a touring garden developed to give the children a chance to experience the natural world. They were involved in designing aspects of the production (plants growing out of a toilet proved particularly popular) and they planted the first seeds in March 2015.

Of course there are many challenges to creating a Living Stage and touring it in a sustainable manner. They’ve successfully tackled this latter problem by becoming the proud owners of an electric car and ‘The Magic Van’, which runs entirely on repurposed vegetable oil (the best stuff comes from Indian and Chinese takeaways by the way – chippy oil has been used too many times). Some of the other challenges include having stunt-doubles for some plants which have active performance roles (so that they each have a time to recuperate) and ensuring that there is enough time to be sustainable.

Timing is key in any sustainable production. 80% of a product’s sustainability is locked in at the design stage, with the earliest stages of the design process having the greatest influence over its environmental impact. Careful planning is needed and sufficient time granted to locate sustainable components and, in this case, to grow the plants needed in the production. Gardening is arguably the slowest of the performance arts and cannot be rushed – a sunflower doesn’t care when you’re supposed to go on tour, it will bloom when it pleases!

The final challenge is deciding what to do after the production has finished. The Living Stage is a ‘Zero-Waste’ set so nothing will be thrown away or discarded. Rather, it is going to return to one of the schools which helped plant it and be installed as a permanent feature – turning an ugly metal fence into a thing of beauty. It will be in a public, and therefore unprotected, space but the hope is that, because the community helped to create the garden, they will have a deeper connection to it (and a desire to care for it) than if it had merely been dumped upon them.

Glasgow: Systems Breakdown with Rachel Duckhouse

The Glasgow Green Tease session was led by visual artist Rachel Duckhouse, who has held the associate artist position at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow for the past 18 months. One of the initial aims of this position was to engage the GoMA staff in questions around climate change and sustainability, thereby further considering what role art has to play in tackling sustainability issues.

Rachel began the position by considering the GoMA building and her artistic responses to it. For example, she researched and then drew energy flows through the building and made cyanotype prints from the light streaming through the stained-glass windows. As a point of interest, cyanotype printing is a photographic printing process which produces a cyan-blue print (hence the name). It was used by engineers well into the 20th century as a means of copying drawings, giving us the term ‘blueprint’.

Her ultimate ambition for the project was to produce work that genuinely responded to the people who worked at the GoMA. This led to her creating ten pen-and-ink portraits (of sorts) of different staff members. In these she tried to map the individual in relation to the Gallery of Modern Art both as a building and an organisation, but also in the wider context of the outside world and the issue of climate change. Rachel’s portraits can be seen here.

To do this she used a complex system of indices and it became apparent throughout the process that it is very difficult to feel that climate change is something close or central to our lives. It always seem separate, distinct from our day to day goings on and the relationships we hold. Encouraging people to realise that climate change is a personal issue that will affect every aspect of our lives is one of the greatest challenges to sustainable action, and is also one of the areas where art may be most effective.

Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing, and so to help us understand her methodology Rachel set us the task of breaking into pairs, interviewing each another and then attempting to create similar portraits based on our interpretations of what that person had described. Rather than our connection to GoMA, we were asked to think about our relationship to the Green Tease, Glasgow and the wider environment.

Click to view slideshow.

The fact that our portraits were interpretative as well as representative saved the artistically-challenged among us from embarrassment (I never was very good at drawing!). It was also a really useful exercise as we all benefited from the physical process and act of drawing. Trying to visualise abstract concepts about questions of climate change helped us to pin-down and refine our understanding of them, which in turn developed the ideas that we had about climate change and how to relate to it in our daily lives.

September Green Teases

If these events sound like something you’d be interested in, come along to our Green Tease events in September.

Edinburgh Green Tease: September 29th, 5pm – 7pm

Glasgow Green Tease: September 30th, 5:30pm – 7:30 pm.

In Edinburgh we’re teaming up with the Edinburgh & Lothian Green Spaces Trust to go on a special canal barge tour where we’ll learn about Edinburgh’s urban green spaces and discuss their connection to the Green Tease network. Alternatively, come along to our Glasgow Green Tease where there’ll be a practical model-making workshop led by design practice Dress for the Weather, exploring the East End of Glasgow in relation to art and design.

All are welcome!

[Top image courtesy of Whirlybird Theatre Company]

The post August Green Tease Reflections appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Climate Change: A Panel Discussion

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

Last night I was a panelist at the Noyes Museum with this distinguished group, Michael Lemonick, journalist for TIME magazine; Andrew Revkin, The New York Times environment writer and blogger; Aaron T. O’Connor, founding director of The Arctic Circle expeditionary residency program; Dr. Jeff Niemitz, Professor of Earth Sciences at Dickinson College. Moderated by artist Diane Burko whose work focuses on issues of climate change. The panel weighed heavily on the science side of the discussion and I learned a tremendous amount about everything climate change related including the very slow changes of deep geologic time and the intense speeding up of these changes since the relatively recent (200 yr old) industrial age. Wise words in the conclusion by Andrew Revkin were that we all must do everything we can to effect changes in behavior and policy – but that we can’t fix this problem quickly or all at once. He pointed out that we need way more young people engaged in science and funding for science education and research is very slim. The good news – we had a full house and audience of many students asking great questions. — Amy Lipton

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ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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#GreenFests: Meet Sarah Diver Lang, the crafter of the 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Back in June Creative Carbon Scotland advertised an opportunity for a local artist to craft this years Fringe Sustainable Practice Award. Those of you that know the award well will remember the original piece of paper we gave to award winners at the live ceremony. Things progressed from there and we presented our winners with a beautifully carved wooden plaque. This year however, we wanted to present the winner with a hand crafted award piece that took into account the ideas and aspirations of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award.

Sarah Diver Lang

After sieving through all of the proposals, we commissioned Sarah Diver Lang, a printmaker and graphic designer working from Process Studios. The award piece Sarah crafted was beautiful. We therefore wanted to share the story behind its creation, and talk a bit more about Sarah herself.

The concept of the award was to use only found or recycled materials to reflect the spirit of sustainability. Sarah sourced her materials from local areas including Sam Burns Yard in Prestonpans, various car boot sales, and gathered objects from her studio collection.

The award consists of wood, copper, glass and graph paper. Graph paper was used to highlight the process of planning that goes into a sustainable production. The idea of using mixed materials was proposed in the hope that the materials, over time, would react with one another, reflecting our changing attitudes and response to dealing with sustainability.

Only hand techniques were used, without glues or electrical machinery, to keep the energy used to create the award to a minimum. Sarah used a screen print technique to print logos and the crucial winners information onto the wood and paper.

Click to view slideshow.

We asked Sarah what it was that attracted her to the award?

“I was attracted to the award due to the theme of sustainability. It is important to me, as a maker, to consider how or why something is made. It is especially relevant to celebrate this during the Fringe; amongst all the amazing things going on, I feel, there is also far too much of everything. Food and packaging, flyers and brochures hang out of over flowing bins, so it is essential to bring sustainable consideration to this ever growing festival.”

And, what other sustainability initiatives she is engaged with?

“Sustainability is a subject of great interest to me as I become more aware of my responsibility as an artist/ producer. In a lot of ways I add to the problem, as a graphic designer I work mainly in print over digital and am constantly finding my work adding to the world’s ultimate waste. It is conflicting to work in this way, and is a problem a lot of creative people struggle with. To combat this, I am currently making a magazine that deals with compostable paper and ink: ‘Outline’. The magazine will hopefully lead to raising awareness about our throw away culture; with this form of paper its fine to throw away…even encouraged!”

For more information on Sarah Diver Lang and her other inspiring projects, check out her webpage here.

The 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award for sustainable design, content and production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, was awarded to Paines Plough for their production of Lungs, written by Duncan Macmillan, and performed at the Roundabout at Summerhall. For more information on Lungs, see our blogpost here.

The post #GreenFests: Meet Sarah Diver Lang, the crafter of the 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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#GreenFests: How the Edinburgh MELA is making us eat green

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The end of August generally sees the winding down of the summer festivals. Not so for the Edinburgh MELA which burst into life last weekend. Communities and cultures came together to participate in Scotland’s biggest multicultural event and celebrate the best in world music and dance. Colourful costumes, incredible music and an electric atmosphere made for a truly wonderful celebration.

You can’t have a good celebration without food though, so the Global Food Village was once again a beacon of delicious and delectable delights that tantalised taste buds and satisfied stomachs. These meals taste all the sweeter given that the MELA is fully committed to sustainable packaging. All traders are contractually obliged to use only fully compostable packaging, including knives, forks, plates, cups and containers. This saves mountains of plastic and polystyrene from ending up in landfill.

Vegware, the company that works with the MELA to satisfy all of its packaging needs, is the only completely compostable packaging company operating globally. Their catering disposables are low carbon (their cutlery has 90% less embodied carbon than plastic), made from renewable and recycled materials, and all can be recycled along with food waste

Check out this video to learn more about the steps that the MELA has taken to be sustainable and the role that Vegware has played in this:

[Top image courtesy of Vegware]

The post #GreenFests: How the Edinburgh MELA is making us eat green appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

‘Dead niche’ green festivals need to move mainstream

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The Fields of Green research team share reflections on their summer research at Xpo North Festival and Solas Festival, exploring how Scotland’s music festivals are engaging with environmental sustainability and the issue of climate change.

For more info on how Creative Carbon Scotland is addressing the question of sustainability in festivals follow our #GreenFests blog!

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people up sticks and camp out at UK music festivals. These events are more popular than ever – there are now scores of festivals, ranging from the massive, mainstream Reading Festival to smaller-scale “boutique” festivals such as Buddhafield, catering for every taste.

The UN Music and Environment Initiative observed recently that music is “one of the most powerful media to communicate environmental messages to billions of people worldwide regardless of race, religion, income, gender or age”. While music’s ability to excite the senses is unquestionable, the whole industry faces a range of significant challenges if it is to become more environmentally sustainable. Production and consumption sit at the heart of the music industry, meaning that any change might question its economic model.

Festivals in particular have a significant impact on the area they occupy, often causing traffic, waste, water, litter and sustainability issues that are bad for the local environment.

Festivals and gigs account for 75% of total carbon emissions of the UK music sector – 43% of which is just from audience travel. These are conservative estimates that do not include waste and emissions from food and drink, even though large gatherings test the capacity of water and energy resources and generate significant amounts of waste.

Europe leads the way

Across Europe, a range of festivals have signed up to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) initiative. In addition, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 2012 was developed as a standard for those wishing to stage environmentally sustainable events. Highlighted music festivals include Hove in Norway, which has become carbon neutral, and Roskilde in Denmark, where the European Environment Agency distributed various messages on the state of the European environment during 2009.

Many UK festivals have also started engaging with climate change. Glastonbury has devoted an enormous amount of effort towards improving its sustainability by installing 1,200 compostable toilets, encouraging the reduction of waste, promoting the culture of recycling on the site and donating large proportions of the festival’s profits to environmental charities.

Meanwhile, Julie’s Bicycle, an organisation that exists to promote sustainability in the arts, has developed a number of tools to allow festival coordinators to measure and reduce their carbon footprint.

The high profile T in the Park festival, held at Strathallan Castle in Perthshire, sparked controversy this year when the festival relocated to a site where protected ospreys visited. Planning approval was only granted when the main stage was moved and exclusion zones were created.

Changing behaviour

But there is always more to do. The hundreds of smaller festivals must not be overlooked. Our research focuses on Scotland and goes beyond technical attempts to provide green energy sources and deal with waste management. We want to probe the different understandings of sustainability among the temporary communities that gather at festivals.

So, armed with surveys and musical instruments, we have attended two such festivals. At one, we encountered a catering van that reused food waste and sought to subvert the economic system by asking festival goers to pay what they thought was a “fair” price.

Audience behaviour remains tricky to unpick. We engaged in many climate change conversations from divestment to recycling. We often heard that “Scotland has plenty of water. We don’t need to conserve it”; or that people felt they were on a “responsibility holiday”, confirming evidence from the tourism sector that even the most committed environmentalists take a break from routine during a down period. Tellingly, our activities were described by one festival-goer as “dead niche”.

We hope to start a conversation on how to move from being “dead niche” to making climate change a mainstream issue in the Scottish live music sector and beyond. There needs to be a cultural shift from below as well as above and this means communicating the climate change challenge through all available formats and working beyond the purely technical domain of energy efficiency targets.

It is a challenge that needs a wide variety of people to make work: from suppliers to audiences and musicians, lest we fulfil the vision conveyed in an environmental protest song from 1971:

I was working one day at my desk
The air was thick with pollution
The trees existed no more
For we hadn’t found a solution.

Authors of blog: Dr Angela Connelly, Dr Jo Collinson Scott, Dr Matt Brennan, Gemma Lawrence

Originally published in The Conversation: theconversation.com/dead-niche-green-festivals-need-to-move-mainstream-43872 

Front image credit: EvaRinaldi/flickr, CC BY

The post ‘Dead niche’ green festivals need to move mainstream appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

#GreenFests: Antigone and Climate Change

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Sophocles’ great tragedy Antigone is the gem in the crown of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Directed by Ivan van Hove, this production features a stellar cast, with Juliette Binoche an unusual but effective choice in the titular role. I’m not here to give it a review though. Rather, I wish to discuss those aspects of the play that seem pertinent to modern issues, especially climate change.

Now, you may well ask, what does Antigone have to do with climate change? In a literal sense, not much. Antigone is a Theban noblewoman, daughter of the doomed Oedipus and his wife/mother Jocasta, niece to the new king Creon. Her brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, have both just died at each other’s hands in a bloody civil war. Eteocles, who fought on the side of Creon, is buried with full military honours, whiles Polynices is left to rot in the open as a warning to traitors.

Spoiler alert! Antigone decides that her moral obligation to honour and bury Polynices outweighs her obligation to the state. As punishment, Creon sentences her to death by walling her up in a tomb. His son Haemon, Antigone’s fiancé, pleads with his father to be reasonable, as does a trusted seer. Creon eventually concedes but is too late: Antigone has hanged herself and Haemon is dead by his own sword. To top it all off, Creon’s wife Eurydice, distraught at the loss of her son, then also kills herself and Creon is left to wonder where it all went wrong.

In what ways is this tale relevant for the climate change debate? The first is that what is required from law and what is required morally can be distinct – the dictates of the state are not necessarily right. Often the distinction is not as sharp as it is in the play: we are not normally required by law to act in an immoral fashion. However, we can be encouraged into certain behaviours.

This is especially true if we take into account government structures such as subsidies or tax reductions. Antigone’s lesson here is that what is encouraged needn’t be right either. For example, the UK government has just reduced renewable energy subsidies while continuing to heavily subsidise fossil fuels. Indeed, the IMF estimates that the fossil fuel industry is subsidised by governments to a tune of £3.4 trillion a year. This encourages investment in and the perpetuation of a damaging industry – arguably an immoral act.

Antigone’s second lesson is about the qualities required of good leadership. Ironically, this comes directly from Creon who truly believes that he is doing what is required of good leadership. He says:

 “As I see it, whoever assumes … the awesome task of setting the city’s course, and refuses to adopt the soundest policies but fearing someone, keeps his lips locked tight, he’s utterly worthless … whoever places a friend above the good of his own country, he is nothing.”

Unfortunately Creon couldn’t follow his own advice. He refuses to yield for fear of appearing weak, placing himself above the good of Thebes. However, it remains good counsel, though  many governments ignore it. For example, it is hardly surprising how heavily fossil fuels are subsidised given the many government officials who are themselves financially invested in the fossil fuel industry. To give but one example, the UK’s Conservative government introduced tax breaks for the fracking industry following advice from their chief election strategist Lynton Crosby. Crosby it transpires also works closely with the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association, who have a UK branch exploring shale gas in the North East. Facilitating the development of the fossil fuel industry in the face of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change does not seem to be “the soundest policy”.

The third analogy is that Antigone addresses the issue of younger generations paying for the crimes of those that went before. In the play it is understood that the misfortune befalling Antigone and her kin is a curse resulting from Oedipus’ crimes of patricide and incest. Whilst Antigone seems to accept this as fate and punishment from the gods, making people suffer in response to crimes they did not commit is abhorrent to modern minds. Yet climate change is resulting in just this injustice, with the global poor and future generations paying the price for damaging activities in which they were not involved.

Finally, Antigone demonstrates the dangers of pride. Creon is so convinced of his position that he refuses to listen to those who question him, often accusing them of holding their positions out of self-interest and bribes. His pride blinds him to the possibility that he is wrong and prevents him from backing down. It is only when faced with the terrible predictions of an infallible seer that he reluctantly yields. Though, of course, this is too little too late.

The analogy between this and climate change sceptics seems clear. No matter how much evidence is gathered there is a small but vocal minority who protest and refuse to accept the dangers we face. Those gathering the evidence are accused of being part of a socialist conspiracy or of twisting the data to suit the interests of their sponsors. And disaster will strike if mitigating action is not taken in a timely fashion. Creon eventually realised the error of his ways, but he was too late to save his family.

We too seem to have realised the error of our ways. Most governments agree that anthropogenic climate change is real (Tony Abbot, prime minister of Australia, is a notable exception – conveniently, given his country’s massive coal reserves) but will they act in time to prevent tragedy? This December nations will gather in Paris for COP21, hugely important climate talks that will determine the answer to this question. We have received the scientists’ warning, terrible dangers head our way if we do not act. Hopefully there is still time for our tale to have a happier ending than that which met Antigone.

[Top image courtesy of the Edinburgh International Festival]

The post #GreenFests: Antigone and Climate Change appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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In For the Long Haul

This post comes to you from the Broadway Green Alliance

In For the Long Haul
National tours go green where the rubber meets the road.

By Stan Friedman

A basic tenet of New York City living is that the longer you dwell here, the less cognizant you are of the large land mass to our west known as “the rest of the country.” To an average urban theater-goer, a Broadway show is a show on Broadway, and when it’s gone from the Great White Way, out of sight means out of mind. But for another entire universe of working professionals, the party is just getting started as America comes calling in the guise of a national tour.

At any given time, a couple dozen current or former Broadway successes are crisscrossing the countryside. Broadway productions in the coming year are scheduled in more than 240 North American cities, which means that you will be able to find national tours of Pippin in Portland,Beautiful in Buffalo and Wicked in Wisconsin.

In the early days of touring, productions traveled by rail and thus turned up only in the larger cities along the major train routes (i.e. Another op’nin, another show / in Philly, Boston or Baltimo’). But all of that changed in 1949, when the Broadway production of Mr. Roberts was loaded into a specially designed tractor trailer and became the first show to travel à la bus and truck.  Other great plays of the era, like Death of a Salesman and South Pacific, soon followed. Five years later, 11 national tours, including ballets, operas, and philharmonics racked up over 160,000 miles. Fast forward to 2015 and entertainment-based touring covers more than 5 million miles annually.

Leading the way today, as it did in the 1950’s, is a family-owned trucking company known as Clark Transfer. To understand the complexities that the Clark team handles on a daily basis, or just for any fan of behind-the-scenes theater action, their 10 minute “Life on the Road” video is mandatory viewing. Clark is also at the forefront of their industry in terms of environmental responsibility. They are a member of the EPA’s SmartWay program, their Executive Vice President, Charlie Deull, serves as co-chair of the Broadway Green Alliance and, since 2008, Clark has been operating their ownTouring Green initiative.

With so many miles being traveled, and with shows often requiring multiple trucks to satisfy audience demands for the same extravagant sets as a New York production, the carbon footprint is indeed deep. Those millions of touring miles equate to over 8,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The Clark fleet does what it can to manage emissions – proper tire inflation and reduced idling times are key. But the heart of Touring Green is their efforts in carbon offsets. Each touring show that wishes to participate pays Clark a penny and a half per mile for each trailer they haul. One hundred percent of those funds are then sent to Clark’s energy partner, NativeEnergy, to be used in investing in clean technologies. Over 110 productions to date have taken part and their contributions have been used in such efforts as the Brubaker Farms Anaerobic Digester Project in Pennsylvania, which uses amethane digester to create enough electricity to power a farm and up to 200 nearby homes, and the Iowa Farms Wind Project which, beyond the Man of La Mancha’s wildest dreams, employs wind turbines to reduce approximately 8,165 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. For more information on Touring Green, visit the Clark website. And go to NativeEnergy’s site to learn more about their widespread carbon offset projects.

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The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is an ad hoc committee of The Broadway League and a fiscal program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Along with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, the BGA is a founding member of the International Green Theatre Alliance. The BGA has reached tens of thousands of fans through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media.

At the BGA, we recognize that it is impossible to be 100% “green” while continuing activity and – as there is no litmus test for green activity – we ask instead that our members commit to being greener and doing better each day. As climate change does not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions, progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. To become a member of the Broadway Green Alliance we ask only that you commit to becoming greener, that you name a point person to be our liaison, and that you will tell us about your green-er journey.

The BGA is co-chaired by Susan Sampliner, Company Manager of the Broadway company of WICKED, and Charlie Deull, Executive Vice President at Clark Transfer<. Rebekah Sale is the BGA’s full-time Coordinator.

Go to the Broadway Green Alliance

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