Pledge

Feeding the 5000! – Trafalgar Square 18 November

free lunch was served to over 5,000 people in Trafalgar Square. All the ingredients used for the lunch are fresh and would otherwise be wasted – wonky carrots, mis-shapen potatoes and other fresh surplus produce.

There were live cooking demonstrations and plenty of other activities to get stuck into, all of which involved enjoying delicious food rather than throwing it away. Feeding the 5,000 invited citizens and businesses to all join in a pledge to reduce food waste. For more information please check this website http://www.feeding5k.org , or you can find it on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Feeding5k/141410032625501) and Twitter (Twitter @Feeding5k).

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Inhabitat Interview – Ian Garrett Reports on COP15 and the Arts #COP15

Moe Beitiks of Inhabitat (amongst other things) conducted an email interview with CSPA Executive Director, Ian Garrett (Me).  You can see the whole things here:

INTERVIEW: Ian Garrett Reports on COP15 and the Arts | Inhabitat.

Some Excerpts:

INHABITAT: What were your cultural expectations for Copenhagen?

GARRETT: At this point, I don’t know what my expectations are. I’m a big fan of the idea that if you get a lot of people together in one spot, talking about a thing, things can happen. The feeling I have from the news out of here and being in the streets is that there is going to be more civilian change out of this than there will be government change. My hope is that, with this many people of divergent origins, with the efforts being made from a cultural end, that it will reify something at the grassroots level. I can only hope that it makes it upwards, because that doesn’t seem like the case at the Bella Center.

INHABITAT: What have been some standout experiences thus far? What artworks have struck a chord, and why?

GARRETT: It’s hard to tell right now, there is so much more to see in this next week, but if I chose now my vote is in for wooloo.org’s efforts and partnerships. They’ve got Superflex’s sustainable burial contracts, the Yes Men’s Coca-Cola Pledge and New Life Copenhagen. Everything they are doing is very much in the spirit of unity and many people doing small things towards a bigger goal. I think that’s a message in and of itself. And since all three of the projects I mentioned rely on documentation and masses of people as the documenters I think that it’s got the potential to show the most real human aspects of the issues being discussed and the opportunities to work together.

There is the common thread these days of “Changing light bulbs won’t save the world.” Which is true, but you know, ultimately if everyone change all light bulbs, sure it would do something about energy use. The point being that lots of people making small efforts aren’t to be scoffed at. It’s those sort of efforts, that when combined, lead to tipping points. We just aren’t there yet, and light bulbs have no future as a tipping point for the climate.

Did #pm2un Tweet make Gordon to go to Copenhagen?

I was blogging last week in response to green.tv’s suggestion that there were too many climate campaigns. My view was that it wasn’t that there were too many, but that maybe they weren’t reaching the right people.

Last week the website BeThatChange.com were pushing hard on a campaign on Twitter,#pm2un, trying to persuade Gordon Brown to commit to go to the COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen. At the time this seemed like a great example of a well-targeted campaign.

Though it’s not that unusual for leaders not to commit to attending this sort of conference until the last moment, BeThatChange had cleverly spotted an opportunity there. It looks rubbish for Brown to be claiming to be leading the agenda at Copenhagen when he’s not even committed to going himself. A couple of days after BeThatChange cranked up the heat with their #pm2un campaign, @EdMilibandMP tweeted a survey on his Ed’s Pledge site, asking visitors what their priorities for Copenhagen were. Miliband offered the following options to chose from:

1) the Prime Minister attending Copenhagen to help deliver a deal

2) doing more to provide home insulation in the UK

3) more government support to create green jobs

Whatever you think about the yeas and nays of deliberative democracy, when I looked on Friday, “the Prime Minster attending Copenhagen to help deliver a deal” had received 93% of the vote. How much of that was due to the BeThatChange.com campaign is hard to calculate, but I suspect that the question was even on Miliband’s poll suggests that the original #pm2un campaign was bang on.

If anything, I suppose it’s possible the Labour Party saw how potentially embarrassing such a campaign could be if it gained much more momentum, and instead turned it to their advantage. Either way the news came through late last night, less than 48 hours before BeThatChange’s next #pm2un twitterstorm:

Gordon Brown urges world leaders to attend climate change talk

Whatever did happen behind closed doors, it was nice work all round, really.

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10:10 campaign launch: the video

Another hastily filmed Flipcam video. I am clearly no Franny Armstrong:

10:10 campaign launch, Tate Modern, London from RSA Arts & Ecology on Vimeo.

The strategy is to create enough of a mass movement to make people feel it’s OK to make changes in their life, and to give Ed M. the kick in the pants he requires to move forward. I’m not sure how successful the event was in achieving that. It was great to get the front page ofThe Guardian and a page in The Sun but because news of the event was sprung on most people yesterday, the event seemed a little thinly attended. It didn’t feel like the mass movement we need – not yet anway. It felt mostly like people a bit like me.

It’ll be interesting to see how many people have signed the pledge online…

[Takes a look]

6,472 so far. Less than one in ten thousand.

It may be early days, but given how well it was publicised, and the readership of media partners, The Sun and The Guardian, I would say that’s a little disappointing but I’ll leave the last word to the hardcore transitionist at the end who said, “When you see lots of other people getting involved it gives you confidence that you’re not a freak, you’re not out on your own.”

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London Leaders Programme

London Leaders brings together London’s leading lights in sustainability, to deliver real change, and inspire others to do the same“.

The London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) launched London Leaders in October 2007 to inspire and catalyse positive change, demonstrate sustainability in action, and increase London’s capacity for sustainable development leadership.

By bringing together sustainability leaders from all walks of life across London, SDC’s intention is to demonstrate the power of crosssector partnership and innovation for tackling London’s sustainability challenges and delivering improvements in quality of life. The goal is to motivate and empower individuals, organisations and communities to take responsibility and make the changes necessary to realise the vision of making London a global benchmark for sustainable development.

To find out more have a look at:
http://www.londonsdc.org/londonleaders/

Future Arcola was part of Ben’s London Leader pledge

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Collaboration in the face of chill winds

Anne Brodie @ National Glass CentreAnne Brodie @ National Glass Centre, Sunderland

This week has brought profound jolts with respect to political and economic predictions on climate change, the first from Rajendra Pachauri, leading the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He seriously doubts that the US will be able to make the pledge needed on carbon reduction. This is frightening given the latest revision on sea levels which has been given wide press coverage this week. Scientists think their rise will be nearly twice as much as they previously reckoned, which would be disastrous for an estimated 600 million people (the UK population was 60.5 million in 2006).

This is why increasing numbers of artist and arts organisations are focusing on the Arctic and the Antarctic for their subject matter.

The most recent exhibition relating to the Antarctic is at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. You have until 29 March to visit it. Anne Brodie has created a chandelier using a huge block of ice from the Antarctic lit not by electricity but by bacteria. It’s creativity and collaboration that we need and Brodie’s work is an exemplar of both, supported as it is by the British Antarctic Survey, Arts Catalyst and Arts Council England as well of course by the National Glass Centre – together presumably with the advice and support of scientists and technicians.

Anthony Giddens wrote in The Guardian on Wednesday 11 March of the “collaboration essential to coping with climate change” (more on this in his new book The Politics of Climate Change which will be available in a week’s time). It’s collaboration – relationships – which makes me sure that the word “ecology” is the right one for our centre here and of which we need so much more. We have a lot to learn on the subject from artists.

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