New metaphors for sustainability: the surprises

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Wallace Heim writes:

When we’ve asked people to think of a metaphor, we tried to present the idea of ‘sustainability’ in neither a positive nor a negative light, but to leave it as open as possible for people to interpret it in their own way. Even for the DVD, we filmed the four people without knowing ahead of time what their metaphors would be. We didn’t want to promote any one idea of sustainability.

It’s been surprising how positive the metaphors have been, even from those people for whom sustainability is not a strong idea, or from those who acknowledge its ambiguities.

It’s also been surprising to see how people have found something, maybe not the grand conceptual metaphor, but something in their lives that relates to their view of sustainability. This is as important as the encapsulating metaphor, like the ‘iron curtain’ or the ‘glass ceiling’. The metaphors have not been about a concept imposed from the outside, but about a relation between the idea and something from one’s life that makes sense.

We’ll be presenting more metaphors in the next two weeks.


“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

Think it, Do it, Blog it: Green Feedback!

Seema Sueko from Mo’olelo invites your feedback on the latest version of the Green Theater Toolkit!

Available at – be patient, it may take a moment to download.

Leave your feedback here:  Think it, Do it, Blog it: Green Feedback!.


Hello Think it, Do it, Blog it readers:

We’ve posted the updated Green Theater Toolkit scorecards for Wood Products; Plastics and Foams; Metals; and Glass, Ceramics, Earthen Materials here. Please take a look and post your comments and feedback – feel free to be as direct as you wish with feedback. These scorecards arent final, so your ideas will be extremely valuable to their development. If you dont feel comfortable posting your feedback on this public blog, you can email me directly at please write “Green Theater Toolkit” in the subject line.

Some questions for you to consider:

1) Do you understand the charts below?
2) Is any of this useful for your theater-making process?
3) Are there any materials you wish were on the list; or anything you wish were not on the list?
4) Are there any surprises for you on this list?Thanks for taking the time to contribute to this project!


    Seema Sueko
    Artistic Director
    Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company