Ecologist

New metaphors for sustainability: mercury

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Mario Petrucci, poet, ecologist, physicist, essayist, continues our series of New metaphors for sustainability with shape-shifting mercury.

My chief reservation about sustainability is that it can mean so many things to different interest groups. For one protagonist, sustainability may demand a massive redistribution of resources and wealth, coupled with radical reassessments of consumer values and economic practice; for another, it involves no more than modest adjustments to what we already do in order to accommodate a few of the most urgent ecological imperatives.
As with Climate Change, then, there’s no overall consensus concerning the precise shape sustainability will take. ‘Sustainable forest’ can mean a rich and ancient woodland drawn upon occasionally but left mostly to its own devices, or it can be a perpetual pine plantation supplying wood pulp and with practically zero biodiversity in it.
That’s why I’ve chosen mercury as a metaphor for sustainability. It challenges any assumption we might have that sustainability takes a uniform or consistent form among those considering it.
The image of mercury scurrying across a surface is familiar to most people, and is apt here because it allows us to better grasp the current ungraspability of sustainability. Sustainability is a fraught and fugitive issue, beset by political and personal evasions and manoeuvrings.
What’s more, the way in which sustainability can be made to adapt shape is both weakness and strength. On the negative side, if mercury is mishandled it becomes a toxic nuisance; likewise, sustainability can be distorted, misrepresented or misapplied, either through ignorance or cynically, to allow damaging practices to continue beneath a veneer of acceptability.
On the positive side, if put to proper use in a careful and structured way, and if its complex nature is understood and worked with, sustainability also provides an extremely valuable, if not life-saving, tool.
Mercury can communicate what the weather’s doing outside, or signal the degree of fever in the human body; sustainability, too, could be harnessed to monitor and sustain the wellness of our species in relation to its environment. Either that, or we can let the concept mess with our brains and slip through our fingers.

 

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

Go to The Ashden Directory

The Art of Ecology – Transdisciplinary Research In Practice

This post comes to you from Cultura21

A symposium at the 2011 World Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER)

SER2011 WORLD CONFERENCE ON ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION – Merida, Mexico – August 21-25, 2011 – Re-establishing the Link between Nature and Culture

Please submit abstracts (see link below) indicating the title of the symposium and the name of David Haley, as session organiser. The deadline of the call for abstracts is May 15th.

http://www.ser2011.org/en/ser2011-scientific-program/call-for-abstracts-posters/

SER is a scientific organisation concerned with environmental remediation in many countries. It has, previously, held three ‘World Conferences’, at two of which ecological artist David Haley was invited to coordinate and chair sessions on ecological art (Liverpool, 2000 and Zaragoza, 2005). In addition, David has contributed to Richard Scott’s ‘Creative Conservation’ initiatives at these and other SER conferences. Richard is Senior Programme Manager with Landlife, the National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool, and was a close colleague of the eminent ecologist, Professor Tony Bradshaw. David and Richard  shall be convening this Symposium together.

The SER World Conferences offer great opportunities to meet with some of the world’s top ecological scientists and activists from diverse cultures. On occasion, the language of art and that of science have converged, to emerge as a common language – an ecology of cultures, perhaps. And this Symposium seeks presentations that pursue this concept – ‘The Art of Ecology: Transdisciplinary Research In Practice’.

Please, also, take advantage of early registration facilities which will be available through the Conference web page next week (http://www.ser2011.org).

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)

– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)

– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)

– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Call for Papers: SER2011

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The Art of Ecology: Transdisciplinary Research In Practice at Society for Ecological Restoration 2011

WORLD CONFERENCE ON ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION
Merida, Mexico – August 21-25, 2011

Please submit abstracts on the following site:

http://www.ser2011.org/en/ser2011-scientific-program/call-for-abstracts-posters/

indicating the title of the symposium and mentioning David Haley as session organiser.

Please, also, take advantage of early registration facilities which will be available through the Conference web page next week (http://www.ser2011.org).

SER (Society for Ecological Restoration) is an important and authoritative scientific organisation concerned with environmental remediation in many countries. It has, previously, held three ‘World Conferences’, and for two of which David Haley was invited to coordinate and chair sessions on ecological art (Liverpool, 2000 and Zaragoza, 2005). In addition, Haley has contributed to Richard Scott’s ‘Creative Conservation’ initiatives at these and other SER conferences. Richard is Senior Programme Manager with Landlife, the National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool, and was a close colleague of the eminent ecologist, Professor Tony Bradshaw. Haley and Scott will be convening this Symposium together.

The SER World Conferences offer great opportunities to meet with some of the world’s top ecological scientists and activists from diverse cultures. On occasion, the language of art and that of science have converged, to emerge as a common language – an ecology of cultures, perhaps. And this Symposium seeks presentations that pursue this concept – ‘The Art of Ecology: Transdisciplinary Research In Practice’.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland