Climate Scientist

EMOS 2015 – Call for Scripts

This post comes from Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

Earth Matters On Stage

EMOS ~ Ecodrama Playwrights Festival & Symposium ~ 2015
Hosted by the Department of Theatre and Dance
At the University of Nevada, Reno in May 2015

CALL FOR SCRIPTS

First place Award: $1,000 and workshop production
Second place Award: $500 and possible workshop production
Honorable mentions: public staged reading

Deadline for Submissions is April 1, 2014. 

The mission of EMOS’ Ecodrama Playwrights Festival is to call forth and foster new dramatic works that respond to the ecological crisis and that explore new possibilities of being in relationship with the more-than-human world.  The central questions EMOS asks are “when we leave the theater are things around us more alive? Do we listen better, have a deeper or more complex sense of our own ecological identity?”[i]  If your play does, send to us!

The EMOS Festival includes workshop performance/s of winning script, readings, talkbacks and discussions of the scripts that are finalists in the Playwrights’ Contest.  A concurrent Symposium will includes speakers, panels and discussions that advance scholarship in the area of arts and ecology, and help foster development of new works.

Past EMOS Winners:

  • 2012– Sila, the first play of The Arctic Cycle, by Chantal Bilodeau, in which “a climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard Officers, an Inuit Elder, and a polar bear—see their values challenged as their lives become intricately intertwined.”
  • 2009 – Song of Extinction, by Los Angeles playwright EM Lewis, in which a musically talented teen and his father whose mother/wife is dying come to understand the deeper meanings of “extinction” from a Cambodian science teacher.  Song of Extinction premiered in Los Angeles and was recently published by Samuel French.
  • 2004 – Odin’s Horse, by Chicago playwright Rob Koon, in which a writer learns something about integrity from a tree sitter and a lumber company executive, went on to premier in Chicago in 2006.

Judges: A panel of distinguished theatre artists from the USA and Canada will choose the winning plays from five finalists.  Finalist will be read by past EMOS festival directors, Larry Fried, Theresa May and Wendy Arons, as well as EMOS artistic staff at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Past judges have included:  Robert Schenkkan, playwright; Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL; José Cruz González, playwright; Ellen McLaughlin, playwright; Timothy Bond, Artistic Director Syracuse Stage, NY; Olga Sanchez, Artistic Director, Teatro Milagro, Portland, OR; Diane Glancy, playwright; Marie Clements, playwright, British Columbia.

Guidelines for Playwrights

Scripts must be original works which have not been published and have not had an Equity or “premiere” citation production.  (Readings or informal workshop productions are okay.)

Thematic Guidelines

We are looking for plays that do one or more of the following:

  • Put an ecological issue or environmental event/crisis at the center of the dramatic action or theme of the play.
  • Expose and illuminate issues of environmental justice.
  • Explore the relationship between sustainability, community and cultural diversity.
  • Interpret “community” to include our ecological community, and/or give voice or “character” to the land, or elements of the land.
  • Theatrically explore the connection between people and place, human and non-human, and/or between culture and nature.
  • Grow out of the playwright’s personal relationship to the land and the ecology of a specific place.
  • Theatrically examine the reciprocal relationship between human, animal and plant communities.
  • Celebrate the joy of the ecological world in which humans participate.
  • Offer an imagined world view that illuminates our ecological condition or reflects on the ecological crisis from a unique cultural or philosophical perspective.
  • Critique or satirizes patterns of exploitation, consumption, or other ingrained values that are ecologically unsustainable.
  • Are written specifically to be performed in an unorthodox venue such as a natural or environmental setting, and for which that setting is a not merely a backdrop, but an integral part of the intention of the play.

Submission Process

We are looking for full-length plays that are written primarily in English (no ten-minute plays, please; one-act plays are okay if 30+ minutes in length; no musicals, please).  Submitted plays should address the thematic guidelines as listed above. Deadline: April 1, 2014  ~ Early submission highly encouraged. / Electronic submissions may be sent; see #2 below for instructions.

  1. All submissions should include a cover page with:
  2. Two blind copies of the FIRST 30 PAGES OF THE SCRIPT ONLYPlease do not put the author’s name on the script, only on the title page.
  3. A synopsis of the play and cast requirements.
  • Play Title
  • Author Name
  • Contact Information
  • Additional requirements for Electronic Submissions:
    • Files must be saved in PDF; cover page may be a separate PDF file
    • Send to Jonathon Taylor at emos@unr.edu by April 1, 2014

Paper submissions must be received by April 1, 2014 to:

EMOS Festival
Jonathon Taylor, Department of Theatre and Dance,
University of Nevada, Reno
1664 North Virginia Street / MS 0228
Reno, NV 89557-0228

Evaluation Process

After reading the first 30 pages of all submitted plays, we will narrow the pool of submissions.  We will then request two full paper copies be sent to us by July 1, 2014.  Winners will be selected from this smaller pool.

Questions?  See our FAQ on the EMOS Website.  If you still have a question, email: emos@unr.edu.

Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

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ashdenizen: wanted: a portrait of the climate scientist as a real person

In his preface to The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard makes the point that writers can have real political influence. His example is Turgenev’sSportsman’s Sketches, which Stoppard writes,

“were plausibly said to have done more than anything else to turn the ‘Reforming Tsar’ Alexander 11 towards abolishing serfdom.”

But the writing has to be precise and observant. Earlier in the preface, when discussing Alexander Herzen, Stoppard writes,

“What he detested above all was the conceit that theoretical future bliss justified actual present sacrifice.”

Twentieth-century history was on Herzen’s side. It’s easy to imagine, today, that many playwrights’ resistance to climate change as a political subject comes from this idea that it deals with a “theoretical future” and that it is being used to justify “actual present sacrifice”. Playwrights like to write about real situations, flesh and blood characters, the here and now. And they like jokes.

In some ways, then, the most interesting characters to put on stage right now are climate scientists: not a climate sceptic disguised as a climate scientist (as happens in The Heretic), but the climate scientists who are simultaneously appalled and fascinated by what they are discovering.

At last year’s TippingPoint conference in Oxford, climate scientists spoke candidly and wittily about how their work had altered their lives and their world views. If caught accurately, that kind of portrait might have real political influence.

via ashdenizen: wanted: a portrait of the climate scientist as a real person.

ashdenizen: is climate change a zombie concept?

Kellie Payne reports on the Tipping Point event, held earlier this month, where Mike Hulme suggested climate change was a zombie concept:

as a metaphor it has done its work. As a concept, it connects a large swathe of issues combined through the scientific narrative and perhaps there are other ways to make progress.

Much less the as-billed scientific update, the Tipping Point event held on Wednesday 13th April at Kings College, London was a philosophical exploration of the status of our current conceptualisation of climate change.

Hosted by Tipping Point, the arts organisation that seeks to build bridges between artists and climate scientists, the afternoon featured Mike Hulme, UEA climate scientist and author of Why We Disagree About Climate Change, climate change adaptation specialist Emma Tompkins and Greenpeace’s Senior Climate Advisor Charlie Kronick . In attendance were past Tipping Point conference attendees, a mix of artists, academics and a few scientists.

Hulme is a veteran climate scientist whose career has included serving as the founder-director of the Tyndall centre and contributing scientist to UK climate change scenarios and reports for the IPCC. However, writing his recent book led Hulme to take a more philosophical perspective: his interest being more in the positioning of our larger conceptualisations of climate change and interrogating different epistemological constructions of climate change. Moving beyond the merely scientific understanding of climate change, he investigates how climate change is understood in disciplines varying from economics, ethics, politics and humanities. In particular, he argues that climate change is a value laden concept that reflects our views of the world, nature, the economy and ethical frameworks.

Hulme’s presentation was largely an explanation of the four myths he explores in his book: lamenting Eden which draws on a sense of nostalgia, presaging apocalypse based on a sense of fear, constructing Babel (hubris) and celebrating jubilee which builds upon our sense of justice. In essence, what Hulme argues is that every individual brings their own agenda, applying the challenge of climate change to their own problems, that is, climate change is the raw material that is used to work on our individual projects. Hulme suggested we ask ourselves whether stabilising the climate was indeed our ultimate goal or whether stabilising climate was instead a means to an end, and we were using climate change to achieve our other goals.

Emma Tomkins on the other hand bases her work on a belief that climate change is happening and asserts that the government is leading the way on adaptation. Based at Leeds and the Government’s Department for International Development, Tomkins outlined types of adaptation currently being implemented including risk management policies and attempts to build resilience. When Tomkins asked the audience how many were currently taking adaptive measures, it became clear that the line between what constitutes mitigation activities and adaption is often blurred in the minds of many. The government makes a clear distinction between mitigation measures (limiting ones emissions) and adaption (preparing for the impacts of climate change). For instance when asked about what types of adaptation individuals were taking, some audience members mentioned the work of the Transition Town movements, but from the government perspective Transition Town activities would constitute mitigation measures as their main focus is reducing emissions.

Tomkins conducted an exercise to see how we as an audience would allocate adaptation funds, whether we would base our decisions on: equitable distribution of resources, reward mitigators, help those facing the most exposure, help the most vulnerable, or offer developmental assistance. At the moment, current government policy (Adaptation Policy Framework) is based on risk mapping and awareness and therefore has its focus on those who face the most exposure to risk. Tomkins stressed the need to be aware that in any adaptation policy there are a number of decisions to be made about the type of losses we are willing to take and warned that there is a potential to make serious mistakes unless we seriously consider the issues.

Charlie Kronick weighed in with the activist viewpoint, reminding the audience that in the past adaptation wasn’t even considered because to do so would be to accept defeat. Further, he didn’t see the need to separate out adaptation and mitigation as he sees them as one and the same. For Charlie, climate change isn’t about science, or art, but about power politics, ‘the deal makers and takers’ and inequality is a major driver.

Hulme agreed that it’s about politics and our ambitions about what type of society we want to inherit. Hulme suggested that perhaps climate change was indeed a zombie concept, and as a metaphor it has done its work. As a concept, it connects a large swathe of issues combined through the scientific narrative and perhaps there are other ways to make progress.

Kellie Payne is a PhD student in the Geography department at the Open University researching culture and climate change

“Civil resistance”, science and ethics

We are in for a season of civil disobedience. The Save Vestas campaign has gone national.Kingsnorth rumbles on, as does the Heathrow protest – which is likely to be the focus of the next Climate Camp at the end of August. Next month also sees Wales‘  and Scotland’s first Climate Camps. As COP15 focusses minds, there are even plans to disrupt the Copenhagen meeting.

A generation of jobless students will now swell numbers. But should those less used to participating in civil action also be getting stuck in?

In a recent newsletter [PDF 147KB], climate scientist/activist James Hansen concludes with a short section titled “Civil Resistance: Is the Sundance Kid a Criminal?”, suggesting the urgent need for what Gandhi called “civil resistance” rather than “civil disobedience”, especially directed towards companies who are guilty of passing the bill for carbon clean up to future generations. Even though his choice of gun-slinging Western hero rather shows which era he’s coming from, I guess he’s qualified to talk, because James Hansen himself was arrested alongside Daryl Hannah last month for his part in the West Virginia coal mining protests.

The excellent climate science blogger Jo Abbess has just raised his arrest in a post which argues that such action by scientists is vital because, as George Marshall of the New Scientisthas been saying, the public as a whole are not changing their behaviour in the way that those scientists know they should be .

This argument implies that scientists, as the people who really understand the bottom line, are now ethically bound to start to do more than produce data. They must join with scientists like Hansen. But if scientists remain hesitant to get start linking arms and chaining themselves to fences, Hansen’s own reputation as a leading climate scientist is an example of why. The man warned Congress back in 1988 about the perils of global warming has been under assault ever since he turned activist. Despite his role as a leading scientist and head of the NASA Gordon Institute for Space Studies, his name has been dragged through the mud by global warming sceptics. His arrest last month prompted the New York Times headline “Does NASA’s James Hansen Still Matter?”

What are the responsibilities of those who know to act? And what are the consequences if they do?

“Well done ThWART” photo by darrangange

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