Power Of Music

Arts transmit messages of climate change youth campaign

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

Pakistan_GPSbanner“Check out the colorful banner that was painted by our team in Pakistan! And click LIKE if you believe that more art in the climate movement is a very good thing,” wrote the organisers of a climate activists’ summit on Facebook to highlight photos of participants bringing banners to the event.

While Istanbul in Turkey is in the news for its protests on Taksim Square and Gezi Park, another kind of civil society mobilisation with a global perspective is currently taking place in one of the suburbs of the city.

500 members of Generation C – the climate generation – have travelled from 134 different countries to attend a youth climate activists’ conference in Istanbul. The American climate campaign organisation 350.org organised the event, which they call ‘Global Power Shift’, in an attempt to build a global movement to solve the climate crisis.


And as the picture above shows, music and dance to centre stage right from the opening plenary on the first day, where the participants also stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Warriors of the Pacific, when they sent a message that as the ocean waters rise around their island homes, they are not drowning – they are fighting.


“Using the power of music to transmit the message of environmental sustainability and behavior change in energy uses” is a strategy which the 350.org Southeast Asia coordinators formulated and launched in their national programme.

In Ho Chi Minh City on 20 June 2013, they hosted a music night in anticipation for the Global Power Shift campaigning where top Vietnamese singers and ‘GPS Goodwill Ambassadors’ like Thanh Bui, Pham Anh Khoa, Sy Luan, Thuy Hoang Diem, and PiBand, pulled a crowd of over 400 young people.

“If we want to change the world, we have to first change ourselves. I believe in the power of music because music is the best way to inspire and change people’s perceptions about the Earth’s problems,” singer and musician Thanh Bui shared with the crowd.


“Our special guests went beyond performing their songs to comment on their shared love of nature, humanity, and the country, revealing personal stories concerning climate change through improvised rap,” reported Nhi Thoi on 350.org:

The Global Power Shift meeting in Istanbul is meant to be a launchpad for something much bigger – national mobilisations throughout the world. In the next week, the organisers will start a planet-wide project to scale up the movement and establish what they hope will become a new course for the global climate movement.

Mike Spine – a singer, recording artist, and music teacher on a six-month global humanitarian music tour to six continents raising awareness for social, economic and environmental justice – was quoted by 350.org as saying:

“I’m very lucky to work with 350.org in the United States. Climate change is a huge challenge, and I’m very impressed to see young Vietnamese people respond strongly to 350’s movement. I hope to be able to bring this enthusiasm to the young communities in the countries where I pass through in my tour, and I’m confident that global youth are those who will make a change.”


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Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.
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NOMADS Mix It Up, Make It Up On Human Rights Day

The NOMAD Lab Art Project for children celebrated Human Rights Day on December 10 by envisioning a world – real or imagined – that they would like to live in. Multimedia artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and musician/composer Kevin Robinson led the event, held in an apartment complex at the Valle del Oro Neighborhood in Santa Clarita, CA., where the children live.  The Trailer Trash Project organized the event in collaboration with NOMAD Lab founder Evelyn Serrano, who uses art to encourage children to work together build a peaceful, tolerant multi-cultural neighborhood.
Musician/Composer Kevin Robinson with NOMAD kids

Tenor Saxaphonist Kevin Robinson, who is a firm believer in the power of music to heal, demonstrated how the sound that comes out of his instrument is influenced by his stance, breath, emotions – even the rate of his beating heart.  He showed how musical instruments can be fashioned from found objects such as hat stands, lamp stands and shades. Even the voice, hands and feet can be effective instruments, he said. A lesson in learning about how the music becomes one with your body came with Kevin encouraging the kids to clap their hands to a set beat, while he riffed and a NOMAD kid repeated sounds to a tune.This winter, the Kevin Robinson Ensemble (KREation) will be on tour in New York City and Baltimore this Winter (see dates)

For her part, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle recounted tales from her Kentifrica homeland, providing maps and drawing of the people who live there and the instruments they play.  She encouraged the NOMADS to draw maps of their own home country (real or imagined) and then asked them to describe what life was like there.

Artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle's shows her portrait of a fellow citizen of Kentifrica to kids with the NOMAD Lab Art Project

Kevin Robinson, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and the NOMAD Lab Art Project collaborate with Sam Breen’s Trailer Trash Project in its mission to foster creativity and a sense of community through a program of art performances, exhibits and residencies in local Los Angeles neighborhoods.

NOMAD Lab founder, artist and CalArts faculty member Evelyn Serrano

In recognition of Human Rights Day, two international human rights lawyers based in Geneva, Switzerland joined the group.  Tom McCarthy and Anna-Lena Svensson McCarthy who were in California on a family trip, provided an opportunity to explain to that shelter is a human right.

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housingand medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” (article 25(1))  Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Thanks to Whole Foods of Valencia and  Steve’s Valencia Florist for their donations. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.