Politicians

Laughing Matters

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Subhankar Banerjee, who’s recent book Arctic Voices, highlights the oil business in the North from the perspectives of the people who live there, has written a piece for ClimateStoryTellers.org on humour.

Arctic Voices was well received,

“One of the great strengths of Arctic Voices is that it shows how Alaska and the Arctic are tied to the places where most of us live. In this impassioned book, Banerjee shows a situation so serious that it has created a movement, where “voices of resistance are gathering, are getting louder and louder.” May his heartfelt efforts magnify them. The climate changes that are coming have hit soon and hard in the Arctic, and their consequences may be starkest there.”—Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books

In the piece Laughing Matters he highlights the long history and importance of humour as a means to shame otherwise impervious politicians.

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

Powered by WPeMatico

Mediating Change

‘Mediating Change: Culture and Climate Change’- A panel of experts engaging in discussion

Talk of climate change has grown prevalently in recent years and continues to be a focal point in discussions amongst politicians and scientists. But behind the highly-publicised media attention we read about so frequently in the newspapers, the arts have been responding to the issues surrounding climate change and encouraging a cultural shift in our understanding of these significant issues. Artists, writers and performers have been inspired to explore and question the issues surrounding climate change and deliver responses that may trigger people to talk, think and act on this subject.

To learn more about ‘what happens when culture meets climate change’ take a look at the pod cast below called ‘Mediating Change’, a four-part series chaired by BBC’s Quentin Cooper who is joined by a panel of experts.

Produced with the Open University and the Ashden Trust, the series sits on the homepage of the OU’s iTunes U:

Go to Arcola Energy

Hands off culture and media in Hungary! – Petitions24.com

Hands off culture and media in Hungary

Artistic freedom and freedom of the press are under threat in Hungary.

If one theatre director can be dismissed for political reasons, anybody can be dismissed for anything: for being liberal or conservative, for having blue or brown eyes, for being Catholic, Jewish, Roma or homosexual.

Art is a profession and evaluation of art is also a profession. Art should be evaluated by professionals, not politicians. If politicians can decide what is good or bad, what is contemporary art and what is not, what is moral and immoral, political control over the freedom of expression will break loose. We had enough of that in the 20th century.

If a politically biased committee other than the court can have legal control over the content of media, freedom of the press will be curbed.

We cannot accept political control in art and media.

(If you cannot sign this petition, try doing it with another browser)

For more infomation go to:

http://www.wan-press.org/article18748.html

http://www.enpa.be/en/news/hungarian-media-law-fuels-international-concern_50.aspx

via Hands off culture and media in Hungary! – Petitions24.com.

Arcola Intern goes to climate negoitations in Cancun #COP16

After the disappointing outcome of Copenhagen last December the next climate change negotiations have started to  take place in Cancun, Mexico.

Arcola intern, Anthony Ford-Shubrook has been chosen as one of a group of eight to represent UK youth at the UN conference. He will be part of the UKYCC (UK Youth Climate Coalition) delegation, to campaign for politicians to sign up to real emissions cuts and cap temperature rises before it’s too late. There’s a lot of scaremongering and even scepticism around about climate change but when a recent study shows that 98% of climate scientists that publish research on the subject support the view that human activities are warming the planet and that this warming will lead to catastrophic events such as floods, droughts and violent storms across the world he feels we have to do something. Anthony says, “I’m going to go and take part in the movement trying to call for something to be done. If we act now to cut emissions we really can make a difference.”

At the conference Anthony will be campaigning and sitting in on the negotiations each day.

Visit www.ukycc.org for more information on Anthony’s trip.

Go to Arcola Energy

Charles Clover: “environmentalists are very boring”

How 2009 became the year of the campaign movie from RSA Arts & Ecology on Vimeo.

Charles Clover energised the campaign to alert the world to approaching fish stock collapse earlier this year with the film The End of the Line. It was a great example of how a single coordinated attack using the right media can produce a quantum leap in awareness. I spoke to him and  the Guardian’s Environment Editor John Vidal about how an imaginative, passionate and above all clever approach can galvanise action and force suppliers and politicians to rethink their strategy.

But he’s scathing about how the broader environment movement has failed to grip the public imagination. Responding to a recent IPPR survey that said the public were “bored” with climate change:

It’s because environmentalists are very boring, he says. They used not to have jobs when I got into this business. They had something very burning and interesting to say which quite a lot of people wanted them not to say, and people tried to shut them up. They were very exciting people to know, and they didn’t have a pension fund. Now they have pension funds and sit around in offices and try and think of something interesting to say, and not a lot of them achieve it.

Has the professionalisation of the climate movement creating a beast that feeds itself? Is that part of the reason the public finds climate activists, in the words of the report “smug”?

Charles Clover and John Vidal were in the house to discuss The End of  the Line at a screening organised by RSA Events who run the best public lectures series you’ll find in London – and you don’t have to work here to think that. Follow them on http://twitter.com/RSAEvents

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Are there too many climate campaigns?

Just as we’ve been publishing our ever expanding lists of campaigns in the run up to COP15, and as we’re on the verge of launching our own one, Arts for COP15, Green.tv asks the question “Are there too many climate campaigns?” [Their blog is currently down today… so you’ll have to take my word for it]. Have we become “bored” with the issue of climate change because of campaign overload?

For climate campaigners the real frustration is the slowness of change. The public still seem reluctant to clamour at politicians in the way we’d like them to. Could this be because they are just getting too many messages? That list of sixteen actions for COP15 is by no means exhaustive. Is this a case of too much information?

I don’t think so. Three reasons:

1) For a start, the nature of social media means that this fragmentation is going to happen, whether we like it or not. For better or worse, there will no longer be a single source of authority on any political discussion like this. On the plus side, climate campaigners like Franny Armstrong have shown how incredibly effective social media are for spreading a message.

2) Secondly, though the campaigns are diverse,  climate NGOs are showing a great deal of resourcefulness. Most of the campaigns listed below are actually partnerships between several campaigns – Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, Age of Stupid et al. Charities usually have a parochial tendency to defend their own turf with one eye on their own future fundraising – but in this case there is a lot of sharing going on.

3) So what’s the problem? With all this heat being created why aren’t more poeple taking action? Perhaps in this case we’re blaming the medium, not the message.  Most campaigns on energy and climate do not interest the mass of the people worldwide. The avaaz.org map of actions for Monday 21 September is worth looking at. Why is there a huge disparity between the numbers of actions being taken in different countries? We have to think hard about what messages appeal to the mass of people who are more aspirational than ourselves. (That’s not to say they need to be directly aspirational messages; the most effective political campaigns in recent times have usually been based on fear.)

We are in a research period, still looking for the right message. We have not found it yet. Now is not the time to start cutting down on the multiplicity of voices. Eventually one of us is going to get the right campaign, the killer one, the one that convinces more than just our friends.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

“Global warming is as much a cultural problem as a scientific or political one…”

Robin McKie, science journalist for The Observer, has been to see Steve Waters’ The Contingency Plan, and has noticed that that there is something significant happening across the arts:

Until now, scientists, journalists and politicians have dominated the debate about the threat of greenhouse warming. Many have fought well and brought a proper sense of urgency to the debate. However, it will be our writers, artists and playwrights who will finally delineate the crisis and explore in human terms what lies ahead. Only then can we hope to come to terms with our endangered world….Thus global warming is as much a cultural problem as a scientific or political one and deserves to be addressed through the activities of those who define our culture: our artists and writers.

These individuals will be the ones who reveal to us the kinds of lives we may lead in the near future – not just in physical, but in moral and social terms – as our planet heats up. In other words, we need an Orwell or a Huxley to help us define the terrible issues that confront us – and to judge from the recent efforts of Waters, McCarthy and McEwan we can have a fair amount of confidence that our artists and writers will deliver. Whether or not we choose to listen to them is a different matter.

“Writers and artists are getting warmer” by Robin McKie

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

“Global warming is as much a cultural problem as a scientific or political one…”

Robin McKie, science journalist for The Observer, has been to see Steve Waters’ The Contingency Plan, and has noticed that that there is something significant happening across the arts:
Until now, scientists, journalists and politicians have dominated the debate about the threat of greenhouse warming. Many have fought well and brought …
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Stern changes predictions: says now we have to contemplate six degrees

At Copenhagen, Nicholas Stern admits his 2006 Stern Report underestimated the gravity of the problem – not so much the economics of it, or in terms of the more recent data coming in, but the stunning lack of political response:

“Do the politicians understand just how difficult it could be? Just how devastating 4, 5, 6 degrees centigrade would be? I think not yet. Looking back, the Stern review underestimated the risks and underestimated the damage from inaction.”

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Why does it always have to be Chas?

This morning’s Telegraph leads with the story of Prince Charles giving the  warning that we have “less than 100 months to save the world“.

Wonder what sort of crisis would it take to get a mainstream politician to make a similarly unequivocal statement  – one which in the light of new data emerging now on an amost daily basis is, after all, hardly scientifically controversial?

As long as the public continues to doubt the climtate science, as IPSOS Mori polls show they do, politicians remain reluctant to call a stick a stick – though to move swiftly from one metaphor to another, it’s unclear in this case which is the egg and which is the chicken.

In such circumstances, it’s not surprising that the undemocratic medium of green custard will continue to be used.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology Blog