Fossil Fuels

New articles about energy alternatives

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Museum of Fetishes, by Nicholas Hildyard and Larry Lohmann

Too often, discussions about energy alternatives resemble a visit to a 1950s world’s fair exhibition displaying exhibits of the wonderful technology of the future. Against one wall stand shiny replicas of new green machines – wind turbines, solar panels, fuel cells, hypercars, supergrids – alongside diagrams showing how environmentally benign they are. Against another are arrayed labeled bottles of new “substitutes” for oil, coal and gas – corn-based ethanol, rapeseed-based biodiesel, hydrogen cracked out of water, hydrocarbons extruded by algae.

Most of the politics and material realities associated with the various contraptions and conveniences on show, or with the energy they use and transform, are simply missing, as are the strategies of popular movements that might be considering and agitating for different futures.

How should these new visions of technological or economic salvation be read? What role do they play in the real-world politics of energy? How and what can we learn from them? And, if necessary, how can we change the subject? What is glossed over in such displays of “alternatives”is usually more important than what is in them, and there is work to be done in finding out what that is.There is little question that an “energy alternatives” discussion is at least as essential as any other regarding human futures, especially for the industrialised societies whose use of fossil fuels is threatening human survival. But if it is not to degenerate into an irrelevant show of magic tricks, an overdue debt of attention must be paid to voices which up to now have too seldom been heard.

Energy Alternatives – Surveying the Territory, by Larry Lohmann with Nicholas Hildyard and Sarah Sexton

What with a growing climate crisis and increasing uncertainty over the future of fossil fuels, it can be no surprise that the question “what’s the alternative to current energy systems?” is in the air. And there has been no shortage of answers competing for space and attention. In energy policy today, the main conflict is not between business as usual and “The Alternative”, but among the different proposed alternatives themselves. How are these alternatives to be evaluated against each other? The suggested solutions are diverse. The questions being asked are also different, as are the criteria for answering them, the vocabularies in which they are expressed, and the politics with which they are associated. The point of this introduction to the energy transitions issue is not to simplify this debate but to clarify how complex it is. What is on the table in the discussion? Is there a place for everyone there? If so, how will the discussion proceed?

To read more about :http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/sites/thecornerhouse.org.uk/files/The%20Museum%20of%20Fetishes.pdf

http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/sites/thecornerhouse.org.uk/file/ENERGY%20ALTERNATIVES%20–%20SURVEYING%20THE%20TERRITORY.pdf

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

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Do the math – 350.org

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

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Do the math flow chart by Rachel Schragis – zoomable version here http://zoom.it/4rEM.js

350.org has been focusing on the math argument (see previous post), arguing to leave fossil fuels in the ground, whatever their value on company balance sheets.  Rachel Schragis has contributed a flow chart – zoomable version here.

 

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

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A Brilliant Idea: Warning Labels

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

6d09c2110d48d9cad9b014e93787c706I just came across this blog post by Robert Shirkey, lawyer and executive director of the Toronto-based organization Our Horizon. Shirkey argues that, just like we have warning labels on cigarette packages, we should have warning labels on gas pumps that remind us that the use of fossil fuels contributes to climate change. A very simple but powerful idea.

Filed under: Climate Communication

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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The tide could turn with ‘Ten Billion’

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory
Wallace Heim writes:

Theatre critic Kate Abbott in today’s Guardian joins Michael Billington in reporting a life-changing experience watching Ten Billion at the Royal Court.

Like the facts that Stephen Emmott presented, Abbott can recite the well-polished instructions to “help us out of this hole”:

“Never buying a car, iPod, or cotton T-shirt again … stopping our addiction to fossil fuels, starting a mass-desalination programme, building green energy power points on every strip of land, harnessing every scrap of wind, and every turn of the tide …”

But one change is missing. What about demanding that theatre itself changes? What about demanding that mainstream theatre no longer turns away from the compelling emotional, moral and intellectual questions of how humans can continue to live in a time of climate instability? Theatre is more than science, more than facts, more than an instruction manual. What about demanding that theatre takes on its full life-changing role, somewhere between fiction and fact, and becomes the place where audiences wrestle with their future?

See ‘Ten Billion’ from another side.

“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)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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Land and energy

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Northumberlandia, Charles Jencks, 2012 (photo provided by Banks Group)

Matt Ridley is the author of a number of books on the subjects of evolution, genetics and society, and has been variously a scientist, journalist and businessman.  There was an article in Saturday’s Times and the full version is on Matt Ridley’s website.  It’s worth reading.

His family leased land to a mining operation in the North East of England and have sponsored Charles Jencks to create Northumberlandia, the latest of Jencks’ earthworks.

When the Banks Group approached my family to dig out coal from under farmland we own, creating 150 local jobs, they also came with an imaginative suggestion. Instead of waiting ten years to put the rock back and restore the surface to woods and fields, which is the normal practice, why not put some of the rock to one side to make a new landscape feature that people can use long before the mine is restored?

Ridley makes an argument around energy and land.  It’s an economic argument about fossil fuels and land use.

The replacement of muscle power, burning carbohydrates, with fossil power, burning hydrocarbons, has been one of the great liberators of history.

Unfortunately the argument doesn’t look to the future.  It is true that fossil fuels have transformed society, but that’s the transformation of the industrial revolution.  The current transformation is focused on renewable energy and the need to massively reduce our footprint.

And in terms of art practices, this is not innovative, just large.  Cutting edge art practices look to integrate the future into the landscape, not just shape it aesthetically.  Whether it’s AMD&ART addressing Acid Mine Drainage, or the Land Art Generator Initiative  bringing together at scale renewable energy and art, or any of a number of other artists working on energy and land futures (see greenmuseum.org for examples), Northumberlandia misses a trick and a big one.  The creation of new public space is important, but the use of that process to exemplify new futures is vital.

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

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MICRONATION/MACRONATION Democratizing the Energy

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

How can a social cultural organisation take on issues that are creating social unrest? Earlier this year Indonesia experienced demonstrations and clashes between protesters and police over proposed price hikes in fuel.  Indonesia, like most of the rest of the world, is highly dependent on fossil fuels.  Whilst the immediate crisis was averted by a the Government withdrawing the price hike, the challenge remains.

HONF (House for Natural Fiber) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia has responded to the energy crisis and the results are presented at the Langgeng Art Foundation.  The project draws on local knowledge of plants as well as ways to use new media and technology.  They have framed the project as follows:

The presentation—as a sustainable design prototype—consists of 3 core components: a) Installation of a fermentation/distillation machine to process hay (raw material) into ethanol (alternative energy to substitute fossil fuel); b) Satellite data grabber: to obtain data related to agricultural production (weather, climate, seasons); c) Super-Computer: to process data (weather, seasons as well as ethanol production capacity), which is also capable of predicting when Indonesia can reach energy and food independence if this MICRONATION/MACRONATION sustainable project design were to be implemented as a public strategy and policy to achieve the condition of energy and food independence in Indonesia.

This presentation is a good opportunity for us to reassess basic performative premises of various practices combining science, technology and arts. HONF’s project—as with their previous projects—actually blurs the boundaries that have thus far been setting apart science, technology and arts. They combine all three, which to us brings home the question: where is the boundary between aesthetic experience and function? What possibilities could the relationship among science, technology and arts bring when confronted to actual problems in today’s communities?

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

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Brief to make KEYSTONE XL an international issue

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Brief for a campaign extension

Bill McKibben‘s team along with a number of other NGOs and activist groups in the US and Canada have been campaigning to stop Obama signing off the Keystone XL project.  The extension of the Keystone pipeline is a fundamental to the development of tar sands oil.  Tar sands are one of the most polluting forms of oil extraction and only viable because of the approach of peak oil.  We are faced by a choice: get off our addiction to fossil fuels, or continue into even dirtier and more destructive habits.

The Keystone Pipeline and its extension run from up near Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, down to Houston, Texas (see transcanada’s map).  They are literally a throat down the middle of North America with which to feed the addiction.

The Tar Sands Action campaign in the US is well supported and reaches out to a large environmental community, but there is relatively low awareness in other parts of the world.

In an email exchange with members of McKibben’s team it became clear that there was a need for creative and environmentally active people outside the US to create artworks, actions, logos, graffiti and other forms of intervention in order to raise awareness and show solidarity.

Current campaigning in Washington seems to be focused on encircling the White House, visibility at all Obama’s public engagements, securing mass arrests of celebrity figures to maximise news coverage.

If you are interested in responding to this (unofficial) brief then do something.  If you want to, you can send proposals to ecoartscotland.net and also to the Tar Sands Action team, but we’ll just say “get on with it”.

Budget: whatever you can invest in time and materials.

Timescale: sooner the better – 6th November is a key date when it would be good to have some shared plans.

Insurances: none required.

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

Sustainable progress, one art piece at a time

The Sustainability Review seeks submissions that address sustainability issues and also function as a call to action, meshing artistry with advocacy. Potential pieces could feature novel technology, innovative re-use, or solutions for specific human/environmental interactions.  We embrace work that employs a multi-faceted approach, especially that which makes use of emerging media (though traditional media is also welcomed).  This includes (but is not limited to) creative and innovative design, conceptual cartography, and statistical art.

For our upcoming issue, we are particularly interested in pieces on resource scarcity. Some possible topics include increasing scarcity of resources such as rare earth metals, fossil fuels, nutrients like phosphorus, and land. Submissions dealing with resource scarcity will receive higher priority, but we will consider all submissions.

Please include with your submission a 300 to 450 word statement describing your work.  This should address the guidelines set above, introducing your work to TSR readers in a way that compliments the mission of the publication.  For established works, the statement should portray the submitted piece in a manner that is unique to TSR.  Additionally, please provide a concise artist statement to accompany your submission.

Submissions for this issue will be accepted until February 18, 2011 and will be published starting March 11, 2010.

Send submissions to Arts Editors, Blake McConnell and Tamara Lawless at (arts@thesustainabilityreview.org)

Technical Guidelines

Art Slide Submissions:

640×480 px slides
1280 width or larger full-size images
JPG format only
No Adobe Formats (PDF, AI, etc)

All art submissions will be displayed in a 640×480 slideshow with the ability for readers to view full-size image by clicking on individual slides. It is up to the artist to render/crop their works to the best of their ability given these size constraints.  Please include one title slide with your name and any copyright notices.

Graphic Figure Submissions:

Graphs, charts, etc. should be a maximum of 640 pixels wide (if necessary a full-size image may be included)

Please standardize dimensions for embedding within your research article.

GIF, JPG, or PNG formats only

Video Submissions:

Uploaded to an embeddable hosting site such as Youtube or Vimeo

Preferred:

720×480 or 640×480 maximum resolution

h264 or webM video codec

AAC or mp3 audio codec (at least 128kbps)

Alternate:

480×320 minimum resolution (artistic, documentaries)

h264 or webM video codec

AAC or mp3 audio codec (at least 128kbps)

Send submissions to Arts Editors, Blake McConnell and Tamara Lawless at (arts@thesustainabilityreview.org)

MISSION

The core mission of The Sustainability Review (http://www.thesustainabilityreview.org/) is to provide a forum for meaningful, comprehensible, and stimulating discussion related to the field of sustainability.  We want to encourage engagement among scholars, students, professionals, and the informed public interested in addressing the  pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of the age.

TSR has had the honor of working with members of the sustainability and art community, including Barry Sparkman and Grisha Coleman. Our intention in collaborating with artists like these is to provide our submitters wider exposure in the arts community while ensuring that the artwork published in TSR is of the highest quality.

Rock the Bike at Sunday Streets Mission | Soundwave Festival ((4)) Green Sound » June 20

Featuring the rockabilly acoustic punk sounds of Kemo Sabe (mandolin, guitar, upright bass)

Soundwave partners with Rock the Bike for this incredible free environmental music event. Rock the Bike is group that has created a pedal-powered stage, using off-the-grid electricity in the form of bike pedaling human energy to power amps, mics and instruments.

Pedal power is not only environmental but also community-building: an ice-breaking, fresh social activity that connects strangers in an electrifying new way: working shoulder to shoulder, rocking the party as a team. The musicians and Rock the Bike crew magically arrive on cargo bikes loaded with sound equipment, set those same bikes up to power the sound system, then load the bikes back up and vanish, all without consuming any fossil fuels.

Green Sound rocks Sunday Streets with the wicked sounds of Kemo Sabe on the Rock the Bike Stage. Come down and watch the spectacle, or help power the performance by pedaling away.

Soundwave Festival ((4)) Green Sound » June 20.