Monthly Archives: December 2019

Are you switched on to “Renewable Energy Month”?

Make switching to renewable energy your New Year’s Resolution.

Here at Creative Carbon Scotland, we believe ethically-sourced* renewable energy is one of the best ways in which our arts and wider society can begin to shape a cleaner, greener future. That’s why, with some help from our energy partner, Good Energy, and other trustworthy sources like the Energy Saving Trust, we’ll be talking about renewable energy throughout January 2020.

Our aim during Renewable Energy Month is to provide some useful information, facts and figures and to answer some burning questions on the topic to help you (and your creative business / organisation) decide to make the switch. For example:

  • What is renewable energy?
  • What is greenwashing?
  • How does the weather affect renewable energy supply?
  • Why should you or your cultural organisation switch to renewable energy?
What’s your responsibility?

There is a global climate crisis.

Everyone, individually, has a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint. There are lots of ways to do this and every change, small or big, makes a difference: invest in a reusable cup (and take it everywhere!), eat a more plant-based diet, insulate your home, use public transport, cycle or walk instead of driving, fly less or not at all, and contribute to reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels by switching to renewable energy.

Pressure to act

Scotland has ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – 75% by 2030 and net-zero by 2045.[1] Glasgow and Edinburgh have even higher targets with both city’s councils declaring they will become carbon neutral by 2030.

Soon, Scotland’s arts, cultural and heritage organisations will feel the pressure of these targets and need to act, if they haven’t already. They also have a responsibility to use their unique position in society to act as a role model; sourcing genuine renewable energy for theatres, galleries, museums etc. demonstrates commitment to sustainability and sends a positive and influential message to staff, contractors, visitors and audiences.

Such organisations will not only reduce their carbon footprint, they’ll be at the forefront of driving investment in new and existing renewable projects too. This, in turn, may attract like-minded sponsors or partners with the potential to contribute to the ongoing success and long-term sustainability of the organisation.

Leading the charge

The good news is that Scotland is leading the charge when it comes to renewable energy and is on track to achieve 100% renewable electricity in 2020.[2]

In the UK, as a whole, “only around 3% of our electricity comes from coal today”[3] and “between January and May 2019, Britain generated more power from clean energy than from fossil fuels for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.”[4] This means it’s now easier to find authentic* suppliers of green energy, like our sponsor, Good Energy and helpful ways for organisations to make the switch, such as the Creative Energy Project.

Are you ready to make renewable energy your New Year’s Resolution?

Follow #RenewableEnergyMonth on social media to get the full story.

You can also contact Helen Franks at Good Energy if you would like further information or to request a quote for your organisation’s switch to 100% renewable electricity and carbon-neutral gas – not nuclear and not greenwashed.

m: 07791 399352

e: Helen.Franks@goodenergy.co.uk


Below are some useful links to further information and we’ll add to these as Renewable Energy Month progresses:

*Some suppliers claim their energy comes from renewable sources when it really doesn’t. This is greenwashing.

The post Are you switched on to “Renewable Energy Month”? appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

———-

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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We’re Winning

By Joan Sullivan

As far as decades go, the 2010s was particularly hard to swallow. It would be tempting to conclude that the decade that gave us the historic Paris Agreement ended in disappointment, disillusion and deceit. To wit:

  • The 2010s was the hottest decade ever recorded.
  • The Amazon is burning while the Arctic melts.
  • One million species are at risk of extinction (Gizmodo put together this list of all species that went extinct during the 2010s decade).
  • We are all eating, drinking and breathing plastic.
  • Eco-anxiety is a thing.
  • Oxford Dictionary selected “climate emergency” as its Word of the Year 2019.
  • COP25 was sabotaged by the fossil fuel industry and its petrostate disciples.

Lest we forget, the 2010s decade will also be remembered for a host of other equally disturbing news, including (but not limited to):

  • children in cages
  • missing and murdered Indigenous women
  • identity theft
  • cybercrime
  • fake news
  • Zika
  • opioid crisis
  • gun violence
  • terrorist attacks
  • Deepwater Horizon explosion
  • Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline
  • refugee crisis
  • #metoo
  • #blacklivesmatter
  • Brexit
  • the rise of nationalism
  • election and impeachment of Donald Trump

What does it all mean, and what does it portend for the 2020s?

As I ponder these questions, 90km/hour winds are literally shaking my old farmhouse in eastern Québec, while 4.3-meter high tide surges are pounding and eroding the Saint Lawrence coastline (which should be covered with thick ice at this time of year). On the other side of the Atlantic, 45 million people across nine Southern African countries face severe food shortages from a devastating multi-year regional drought. In Australia, residents near Sydney were told this week that it’s too late to leave their homes in the path of a 370,000-hectare bushfire burning out of control. An unexpected consequence: Sydney’s main drinking water reservoir is now being polluted with bushfire ash.

How easy it would be to just admit defeat – which is what the fossil fuel industry wants us to do – and escape into our soma-induced Instagram-perfect world! And while we’re hiding out in la-la land, why not upload another carefully composed photo of our fluffy new slippers, coffee mug and unread book (opened to the first page, of course) in front of a cozy fire? Don’t forget to ask your friends to [like]!

OK, back to reality.

Despite the relentless denial, obfuscation, obstruction, trolling and infuriating inaction of the past decade – all of which have contributed to the climate crisis and the planetary emergency – I’ve some good news about the 2010s: significant progress was made on a several important fronts. To remain sane, we’ve got to celebrate the victories, and there were many over the past decade. But they were drowned out by the constant onslaught of negative news from both the mainstream and social medias.

“The case for climate optimism is strong,” explains Assaad Razzouk in Episode 27 of The Angry Clean Energy Guy podcast. This particular episode is especially timely for those feeling shell-shocked after the failed COP25 talks. Assaad lists his top 10 reasons for climate optimism – each one compelling in its own right, but extremely powerful when presented together. I’ll list them below, but you really must listen to the full 30-minute podcast to appreciate Assaad’s optimism. He argues convincingly that this is truly an exciting time to be alive: we are living witnesses to massive, unstoppable changes that will transform and define the next decade – for the better.

Assaad Razzouk’s top 10 reasons for climate optimism:

  1. Massive increase in awareness and mobilization, not just among citizens but entire cities, countries and companies.
  2. Cost of capital of oil/gas is going up, up up: “Big oil will find it increasingly expensive to finance new projects.”
  3. Renewable costs are going down, down, down: “Fossil fuel is out of the game, it’s just that some countries don’t know it yet.”
  4. Electrification revolution of transport: “Electric bicycles are on fire; 100 electric planes are currently under design. Electrification is unstoppable today.”
  5. Climate lawsuits galore: “More than 1,640 lawsuits right now against fossil fuel companies and governments. We won’t win them all, but the sheer number of lawsuits is a big cause for optimism (by) increasingly exposing the misinformation and obfuscation of big oil.”
  6. The rating agencies and central banks are on the move: “A huge lever for change: financial markets will stop mis-pricing climate risks”
  7. Gradually stronger and global pushback against single use plastic and its proponents (big oil, big gas, big petrochemical): “More than 40 countries have some form of ban or surcharge on single use plastic, which represents a big chunk of future demand for oil. If you take out single-use plastics, demand for oil and gas will decline. That has all kinds of consequences for capital costs of oil and gas companies, which means they will not be able to finance new oil and gas exploration.”
  8. Reforestation, coupled with an increase in nature and marine reserves.
  9. We are at or near peak emissions, finally.
  10. You: “There are activist citizens everywhere I look: activist lawyers, activist teachers, activist engineers, activist bankers, activist politicians. Even activist oil and gas professionals. Climate change is affected by decisions we all make, every day. It is always worthwhile to cut carbon emissions. We have the solutions. We are implementing them. Slowly yes, but soon they will be ubiquitous, kind of like your mobile phone.”

Assaad saves the best for last, and it’s the sweetest medicine for any war-weary activist:

“Always remember that we’re winning. We are winning for now… slowly, slowly. But soon, we’re going to be winning all of a sudden.”

Assaad Razzouk


Paul Gilding reached a similar conclusion in his provocative 2011 book The Great Disruption: “When we [decide to] act, we will eliminate net CO2 emissions from the economy in an amazingly fast transformation and then move on to the rest of sustainability.” Eight years later, in his most recent Cockatoo Chronicles post, Climate Contagion 2020-2025, Paul predicts that this shift is now imminent: “anytime from tomorrow morning to 2025, but not later.”

“Any time from tomorrow morning to 2025, but not later.” This quite possibly could be the most important forecast of the decade. We’re winning, folks.

“The financial logic of acting is now impeccable, meaning the only thing left is for there to be a shift in sentiment – that moment of an intangible, hard to define flip in how the decision makers in the market see the world. That can happen overnight. And because markets hunt in packs – when they go, they’ll all go. Everything is ready, everyone knows it’s coming, we’re just waiting for the storm to hit.”

Paul Gilding


Paul lays out the four critical factors that led him to conclude this shift in sentiment is imminent:

  1. Clean technology is available, scalable, superior and investable.
  2. Physical climate change is obvious and accelerating.
  3. Public engagement and political momentum are rapidly turning.
  4. The financial markets are primed – from central banks, to lenders to stock markets.

The clean energy transition is just one of many reasons for climate optimism. I was privileged to have spent the entire 2010s focusing my cameras on the men and women who are building our post-carbon future. Being surrounded by such talented people who are actively building climate solutions is the main reason why I have managed to remain optimistic throughout this very depressing decade.

https://twitter.com/CleanNergyPhoto/status/1072879652358815745?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1072879652358815745&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fartistsandclimatechange.com%2F2019%2F12%2F19%2Fwere-winning%2F

I believe this is what Greta Thunberg meant when she said:

“The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.”

Greta Thunberg, TEDxStockholm, December 2018


For a truly inspiring discussion about climate optimism, check out this live conversation (starting at 15:40) between TED’s Chris Anderson and Global Optimism‘s Founding Partner Tom Rivett-Carnac. In addition to discussing the history of The Paris Agreement, Chris and Tom introduce Countdown, their new global collaboration to turn the tide on climate.

Here’s my quick summary: According to Tom, “Optimism is most relevant when the outlook is the darkest. It is a strategy to drive ambition, and to drive dedication towards something more positive.” In response, Chris added “Optimism is not a feeling; it is a stance. You don’t need to believe that something is likely or that it will happen; you need to believe there is a pathway there. To be optimistic, you take the stance that ‘What better thing do we have to do than roll up our sleeves and try and tackle this?’”

Four decades ago, during the turbulent Vietnam War and Watergate eras (which were overshadowed by the constant threat of nuclear war), we sang collectively there’s something happening here. Then, as now, people took to the streets in the tens of thousands. Then as now, they managed to shift the needle. If you stop and listen, you can feel it: the times are definitely changing. Just listen to this powerful cover by Brandi Carlile:

As the 2010s comes to a close and we turn our attention toward the next decade – literally the make-or-break decade for climate action – we must ask ourselves: is the glass half full, or half empty? Are we winning, or are we doomed? Do we continue to focus on (and contribute to) the dominant negative news stories, or will we train ourselves to look beyond the doom-and-gloom and align ourselves with those who are rolling up their sleeves, taking concrete action?

On December 31st, I will raise my glass to winning. Not because the alternative is unacceptable. Because, as the poet and climate activist Emily Johnston said, “And because we can, we must.

We can let them kill this beautiful world— or we can get to work making space for a decent future.

Emily Johnston


Here’s to new friendships and collaborations in the next decade!

(Top image by Joan Sullivan)

This article is part of the Renewable Energy series.

______________________________

Joan Sullivan is a Canadian photographer focused on the energy transition. Her renewable energy photographs have been exhibited in group and solo shows in Canada, the UK and Italy. She is currently working on a documentary film and photo book about Canada’s energy transition. In her monthly column for Artists and Climate Change, Joan shines a light on global artists, designers and architects experimenting with renewable energy as an emerging art form. You can find Joan on Twitter, Visura and Ello.

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog 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 the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Blog: Round-up of emissions and carbon reporting 2019

This year, we at Creative Carbon Scotland have once again been supporting 121 Creative Scotland Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) to fulfil the environmental requirements of their funding. With the recently declared Climate Emergency and net zero emissions targets, our work has never been so topical.

New this year!

2019 has been the first year we have worked with organisations receiving funding from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Culture Fund to support them in their first year of creating carbon management plans, which are now required by their funding. It’s been great to welcome these organisations on board and help them think through the specific challenges they face.

Last year, all of the RFOs were asked to develop a three-year plan to manage and, ideally, reduce their carbon emissions and this year we used an online survey to ask them to give us an update on how their plans were progressing. We also collected the annual emissions data (from utilities, water, waste and travel) for last year (2018-19), which all RFOs have been required to record and report since 2016.

Having access to emissions data at the same time as information about carbon management plans meant we could give more detailed and specific feedback, looking at each organisation’s plan to reduce their emissions in the context of their current carbon footprint. Each individual feedback report charted a breakdown of the organisation’s emissions, gave a qualitative evaluation of how their carbon management plan addresses their footprint and evaluated plans on how realistic, relevant, and ambitious they were.

One hundred and fifteen organisations have provided all the information we asked for with only a very small number of organisations still finishing their environmental work for this year. Some organisations have seen less progress than they had hoped for, but a large majority of organisations are on track or exceeding targets in the carbon management plans they put in place in 2018. Most are reducing emissions and almost all have positive stories to tell about more qualitative and structural progress within organisations. All the reporting organisations see their carbon management plans as active documents informing their practices and many of these organisations have been actively contributing to the Green Arts community across Scotland for years, as we have learned during our interactions with Green Champions and colleagues over the past few months.

“The carbon management plan has taken a serious and worrying issue and turned it into a message of hope, empowering staff to feel that our actions can make a significant difference.” RFO, 2019

Interesting facts and figures about emissions reported

Now we’ve been gathering data since 2015, we’re able to build an increasingly clear picture of what emissions look like for Creative Scotland RFOs over the past four years. We classify organisations by type and use the data to help us provide them with appropriate resources and support.

Lots of factors have changed over the years:

  • There are more RFOs collecting and reporting emissions data
  • Organisations are better at collecting data (there are more data and they’re more accurate)
  • More of our electricity is coming from renewable sources so electricity is less carbon intensive, meaning less kgCO2e per kWh of electricity
  • There have been some impressive efforts by larger organisations to reduce gas and electricity use

Despite more organisations reporting that all adds up to a general downward trend in emissions for the whole group in all areas apart from travel. Reducing emissions from flights in particular remains a challenge for everyone in the arts community as we strive to lower our emissions while maintaining the world class nature of what Scotland creates and the global recognition we receive.

colour bar chart

Every organisation has different priorities and does different work – even from year to year, so we don’t spend time comparing them with each other or creating competition. We’re (actually) all learning together, after all. However, it might be interesting to see the average carbon footprint for 2018-19 for each organisation type.

Organisation TypeAverage carbon footprint 2018-19Number of reporting organisations
Theatres286 tonnes CO2e14
Arts Centres65 tonnes CO2e29
Tenants43 tonnes CO2e67
Who’s doing what?

Here are some actions that a number of organisations are taking as part of their Carbon Management Plans

  • Rolling out LED replacements for more efficient lighting
  • Replacing boilers with more efficient models
  • Fitting secondary glazing on windows where double glazing isn’t an option
  • Investment in electric vehicles
  • Not flying for work within the UK (some organisations take this wider to not flying within Europe) and encouraging visitors to do the same

We are also very happy to see a spread of innovative projects engaging with audiences, artists and staff around climate change themes, and dealing with the specific areas some organisations work in.

Paragon Ensemble are about to start on their project ‘Whoosh!’ creating new music inspired by renewable energy, while specifically measuring and minimising the carbon emissions from the project itself.

Scottish Sculpture Workshop are starting their project to examine the sustainability of supply chains for the materials their artists use.

Organisations based at Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) are part of an active and successful Green Team, supporting each other to make lower carbon choices and understand their environmental impact

It has been a busy time for both Creative Carbon Scotland and all the RFOs getting all of this information , collecting, analysing and feeding back on all of the data but we continue to learn and get better at making great art sustainably.  Creative projects like this show us that carbon reduction can be an opportunity rather than a barrier.

Carbon management for all!

For support on your own carbon management, whether you work for an RFO or not, please have a look at our carbon management pages, which describe the process of effective carbon management at any level, and provide a number of useful tools and resources.

The post Blog: Round-up of emissions and carbon reporting 2019 appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

———-

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Opportunity: REPAIREL CIC is looking for board members

We’re looking for board members who want to do something about the climate emergency!

REPAIREL CIC is a new social enterprise created to respond to the climate emergency at a local and actionable level and we are looking for new people to join our board of directors. It is an opportunity to join us at this exciting startup stage and directly participate in shaping our organisation and make a real impact.

REPAIREL’s first aim is to create an environmentally conscious Shoe Repair Hub/Lab in the North West of Glasgow that will help people break away from the throwaway culture of buying and discarding shoes, reduce shoe waste and facilitate innovation and circular design practices through three interlinked elements joined together in one creative space:

  1. Repair Hub: Providing access to shoe repair equipment and support for people to repair their OWN shoes and extend their lifespan.
  2. Sustainable Fashion: Accepting shoe donations, fixing shoes that are repairable and repurposing those that are beyond repair to make our own sustainable shoe collection.
  3. Fab Lab: facilitating digital fabrication and rapid prototyping within a small-scale workshop, democratising access to the tools, education and resources for invention and manufacturing, rethinking supply chains and exploring how communities can be powered by technology at the grassroots level.

Why shoe waste is a problem: The apparel and footwear industries together account for more than 8% of the global climate impacts, more than the aviation and shipping industries combined. Footwear represents approximately one-fifth of that, about 1.5% of global climate impacts and accounts for 700 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Some 300 million pairs of shoes are sold each year within the UK alone. Sadly, most of them end up in landfills, where an average pair takes more than fifty years to decompose, releasing chemicals from the glues and rubbers into the environment, when they could be repaired, reused or repurposed.

For our board, we are looking for people from a wide range of backgrounds and skillsets. Read: For more detailed person specification, additional information and on how to apply.

The post Opportunity: REPAIREL CIC is looking for board members appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

———-

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Podcast: 100 conversations about climate change

CliMates podcast – now available!
Brought to you by Hazel Darwin-Clements.
  • How do we talk about climate breakdown with each other?
  • What are people doing, thinking and feeling about it?
  • How are people experiencing their own internal journey?
  • How are we coming together?
  • Where is the hope?
  • What are the threads that run through these conversations?
  • What can I do with the power that I have?
  • Can I really accept that we can’t save the world?

I set myself the challenge of having 100 conversations about climate change with my friends, friends of friends, my family, their friends, their dogs (not really), folk I met on the bus (ok, again not really) and pretty much anyone who would talk about it with me (really!). I’ve edited the conversations together to share all the best bits with you.

There will be 10 episodes over 10 weeks (beginning 27th November 2019). It’s recommended to start at the beginning, there’s an arc. (We might need one.)

LINKS
https://climates.captivate.fm/
https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/climates/id1489446806

The post Podcast: 100 conversations about climate change appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

———-

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

Green Tease Reflections: COP Tales and Cocktails

On a wet and wild evening on the 10th of December 2019, almost a hundred people gathered together to share their plans for COP26, discuss their goals, and make new connections and plans, accompanied by cocktails and snacks. This page records the speakers and discussion and provides links for further resources and information.

COP26 will be the 26th annual UN climate conference, probably the most important gathering on climate change since the Paris Agreement (2015). For COP26 decision makers from governments around the world will converge on Glasgow to measure progress and set targets for the future. In addition COPs have become a flashpoint for environmental protests and civic engagement – as well as fossil fuel lobbying. This event provided an opportunity to hear speakers present their plans for the COP and space for free-form discussion and opportunities to record ideas on whiteboards positioned around the room.

Our Speakers

Recordings of all the speakers are available as a podcast.

Ben Twist from Creative Carbon Scotland kicked off the evening with some reflections on his experiences of creative engagement with COPs in the past. He emphasised some of the challenges that need to be overcome, such as:

  • getting access to the COP itself, or even close to its venues, especially given that most of the decisions announced at each COP will have already been made in advance.
  • the problems with getting a message through during the COP itself given the many other events and news stories to compete with.
  • the difficulty overcoming the divide between artistic interventions and the actual negotiations that take place at the COP, with the potential for these to barely interact.
  • how to engage members of the public and show what they can actually do.

Ben stressed that arts and culture do have a lot to offer as a means of engaging international and local communities or decision makers and can take advantage of the spike in awareness that will come with the presence of the COP to spread their reach more widely, especially during the run-up to the COP. He recommended subscribing to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin as a means of keeping up to speed with developments and looking at Season for Change as a planned major programme of artistic engagement with COP26. He also recommended attending the Creative Carbon Scotland Cultural Adaptations conference taking place in Glasgow just before COP26.

Chris Fremantle from ecoartscotland followed this with a different approach, involving attendees in a performance of an extract from eco-artists Helen and Newton Harrison’s Lagoon Cycle. He also quoted Helen Harrison in saying

‘Our work begins when we perceive an anomaly in the environment that is the result of opposing beliefs or contradictory metaphors. Moments when reality no longer appears seamless and the cost of belief has become outrageous offer the opportunity to create new spaces – first in the mind and thereafter in everyday life.’

and discussed their idea of the ‘Urgency of the Moment’, emphasising that decisions made within this ten-year period will have repercussions over a far longer time-span.

Green Tease: COP Tales and Cocktails 2

We then heard elevator pitches from:

  • Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is a coalition of around 50 NGOs, charities, and community organisations around Scotland who are coordinating a wider coalition of civil society organisations working towards COP26. They are creating a network of hosts to look after people coming to the COP from abroad and are organising a civil society hub around Charing Cross Glasgow that will be open for anyone to use. They are also creating an online platform that will allow organisations to publicise what they are doing. Nick stressed the importance of arts organisations sharing space with scientific or environmental organisations and of facilitating greater diversity than will be present within the COP itself. He recommended joining their mailing list to keep up to date.
  • Manchester Science Festival is organised by the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry and is specifically targeted at audiences without particular science expertise. The 2020 instalment will focus on the theme of climate change science and making the subject engaging and real for non-specialists using the question ‘How do we change how we live?’. They are interested in bringing the work organised as part of this festival to Glasgow as part of the COP and  co-commissioning work.
  • Glasgow National Park City is a volunteer-run organisation seeking to have Glasgow follow in the footsteps of London by becoming a ‘National Park City’ to emphasise the importance of green spaces and wildlife as an essential part of a sustainable city and facilitate connections between different environmental projects in Glasgow, allowing them to build pressure on decisions makers from the grassroots. They aim to use COP26 as a means of publicising and growing this idea, emphasising the importance of cities for sustainable living in the future.
  • Creative Climate Symposium is a planned two-day symposium bringing together academics, scientists, artists, and designers to foreground the importance of sustainable design, using the presence of COP26 as an opportunity to bring people together. They are also in conversation with Glasgow School of Art,Zero Waste Scotland and RSA Scotland to develop a design residency leading into the symposium.
  • Ellie Harrison is an artist and activist whose work has frequently engaged with the climate crisis and travel, looking at ways to improve public transport in order to reduce inequality and carbon emissions. She is looking to use COP26 to highlight the integrated public transport campaign ‘Get Glasgow Moving‘, particularly trying to get public transport made free in Glasgow for the ten days during COP26 and organising a car free day. She will also be bringing an art project called Early Warning Signs back to Glasgow and is looking for venues to ‘adopt’ a sign for the duration of the COP.
  • RSPB’s ‘Giving nature a home in Glasgow’ project are working in partnership with Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and are looking to focus their work in 2020 on COP26, planning events for British Science Week in March, working with the Natural History Museums Network, and hoping to put on a collaborative art project with local communities. They are also involved in organising ‘City Nature Challenge’, an international competition to record as many species within an urban environment as possible, at the end of April. They are planning a youth conference in October, bringing together young people from communities across Glasgow to discuss how to make local communities better for people and nature.
  • Brendan Hill of Edinburgh data visualisation meetup group talked about their plans to run a conference on data visualisation to coincide with the conference, which will include an associated exhibition featuring creative means of presenting climate change data. He also discussed plans to put on an open air theatrical performance as a means of articulating clearly the state of climate crisis.
  • Dundee City of Design were unable to make it on the night due to bad weather but are looking for collaborators for their ‘The Future We Want’ project. This will be a large scale global event, produced and curated by young people from across the UNESCO Creative City network, culminating in a parade and exhibition of placards and banners made with the help of professional artists and writers,

You can listen to a recording of these talks as a podcast.

Artist, Julia Barton also sent us a video about her plans for the COP with a call for collaborators, which can be viewed below:

Glasgow COP26 pitch by Julia Barton. @LittoralArt. Please share from Julia Barton on Vimeo.

Notes made during the discussion

Some of the most important themes to come out of the discussion were:

  • The importance of planning engagement events in the lead-up to and after the COP itself to take advantage of a spike in awareness. Zero Waste Scotland, Glasgow Science Centre, RSPB, Scottish Youth Theatre, and others are planning for this.
  • The brief period during COP26 was agreed by many to be a more appropriate time for creative protests or hosting alternative or ‘people’s’ events.
  • There was strong agreement that work should have a strong Climate Justice angle and involve working with minorities that are being most affected by climate change.
  • There was somewhat of a divide between those who wanted to focus on engaging ‘ordinary’ members of the public and those who wanted to influence those in positions of power: decision makers, businesses, finance. Both of these are important, but they require very different approaches so having a good understanding of who your work is aimed at is clearly essential.
  • There was a lot of interest in collaborating across disciplines as a means of reaching new people or sharing ideas in new ways. This will require good communication and an understanding of the differing agendas that people might have coming from different backgrounds.
Original images:
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Below is a transcript of the images for easier reading. Pluses (+) indicate where others have shown their agreement with an idea using ticks or stars.

When are you planning for?

Before the COP

  • Around July:
    • National tour Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble new theatre work on climate change
  • Around October:
    • Junior COP
    • End Oct exhibition
    • ‘Sense of here’ exhibition opening in Cumbria
    • CCA
    • Model UN (Glasgow Science Centre), Citizen science
    • Tie in with COP-in-Italy pre-event
  • Zero Waste Scotland: series of events raising awareness of the role of ‘consumption emissions’ in climate emergency
  • Glasgow science centre run a series of workshops on weather, climate, climate change for community groups so people can engage with topics/politics/activism globally and locally
  • Glasgow Science centre ’Our World’ adult science late
  • Video speaking to people on the street about their climate change big issues. Play this at the COP.

During the COP

  • Conference and exhibition on visualising climate change
  • Large scale street theatre/climate change demonstration (thing Olympic opening ceremony)
  • Youth hub at Scottish Youth Theatre studios (Merchant City)
  • Artistic demonstration as close as possible to SEC urging decision makers to commit to more meaningful action. This worked with the Scottish Climate Bill! (Contact Glasgow Science Centre)
  • Using community spaces for debate and rest <3 Museums <3
  • Make placards and distribute
  • CCA

After the COP

  • Around January:
    • COP/Cumbria and overlapping Here’s event at Cumbria uni
    • Build on climate consciousness boom to influence businesses to change
  • How do we feed into Scottish Government and Glasgow City cultural policies?

Who do you want to work with?

  • Museums
  • Community energy groups (e.g. Glasgow community energy)
  • Film makers
  • Musicians
  • Heritage organisations
  • Festivals (Glasgow, Edinburgh) +
  • Extinction Rebellion
  • Friends of the Earth (Scotland)
  • Art not Oil Groups (e.g. BP or not BP)
  • Collaborators for exhibition- public engagement in climate issues
  • Woodland Trust and similar
  • Policy Makers
  • Minorities ++
  • Community groups +
  • Academics
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • Artists
  • Schools +
  • Cultural Innovators
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Like-minded international networks

What are the most important issues to work on?

[It looks like somebody leaned on this one so I’ve reconstructed what I can]
  • Carbon footprint target in line with net zero target (ie consumption and production emissions accounting) (75% of emissions related to consumption of resources, and 50% of those emissions produced abroad) (Zero Waste Scotland) +
  • Widespread acceptance of the reality of a low carbon society +++
  • Language and awareness: what is climate/climate change, why it matters to all of us
  • Climate justice and awareness of the climate debt owed by rich countries to the global south and marginalised people. Stronger carbon reduction targets for developed countries and compensation to developing countries +++++
  • Cultural regeneration [in areas historically connected with oil production], e.g. Aberdeen, Shetland
  • Communicate the facts – Science Library
  • Advice – what can people actually do
  • Divestment
  • Making climate change accessible for all audiences
  • [Connecting to] things that ‘feel’ more important right now – austerity etc.
  • CCA open for partnerships

Who do you want to influence?

  • Younger generation: kids, teens, young adults 1 +
  • Governments and public institutions ++
  • Financial institutions +
  • Business community and management organisations ++
  • The people currently in/with power [pointing to previous three]
  • Communities – everyday people +
  • Other artists around the world and festivals
  • Consumers
  • ‘We are a world of altruists led by psychopaths’. These people [arrow to ‘altruists’] to overcome these people [arrow to ‘psychopaths’].

What are your goals?

  • To use digital arts and social media as a tool for collective and inclusive climate action across Glasgow +
  • To integrate art for cross disciplinary discussions
  • Play a role in behavioural change
  • Make public feeling tangible so politicians and corporations find the pressure to act irresistible
  • To give young artists a platform to be heard +
  • Making the ripples spread out further +
  • To reduce business’s climate impact in Glasgow
  • To raise awareness and action, reducing consumption related emissions
  • Create exhibition to engage general public on climate issues
  • To inform accessibly, organisations and public

Green Tease

Green Tease is a network and ongoing informal events programme, connecting creative practices and environmental sustainability across Scotland.  Creative Carbon Scotland runs the Green Tease Open Call, which is a funded opportunity supporting sustainability practitioners and artists to exchange ideas, knowledge and practices with the aim of building connections and widening understanding of the role of arts in influencing a more sustainable society.

The post Green Tease Reflections: COP Tales and Cocktails appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

———-

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

Green Tease Reflections: Island Futures

This page documents the speakers at a Green Tease event we held in September 2019, looking at the role of islands and island communities in relation to environmental issues through the contributions of two islander poets, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and Roseanne Watt.

We also heard from Mairi Davies of Historic Environment Scotland who demonstrated the connections between the issues raised in the poetry and their work here in Scotland. The event sought to interrogate issues of climate justice – island communities are among those least responsible for climate change but are facing its effects first – as well as the role poetry can have for engaging with environmental issues.

Film, part 1: Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (who appeared via videolink) is a Marshallese poet, environmental campaigner and teacher of Pacific Studies who spoke at the 2014 UN Climate Leaders Summit in New York. Her most recent poetry collection Iep Jāltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter was published in 2017. Kathy presented two of her video poems, Anointed and Dear Matafele Peinam.

Film, part 2: Roseanne Watt and Mairi Davies

Roseanne Watt is a Shetland-born poet who writes in a mixture of English and Shetland dialect and often works with combinations of words and film. Her debut poetry collection Moder Dy (Mother Wave) was published earlier this year. Roseanne read a selection of poems from Moder Dy and presented a video poem, Kishie Wife.

Mairi Davies is Climate Change Manager at Historic Environment Scotland and an expert in coastal adaptation.

Green Tease Film: Island Futures 1
Discussion

The event included with small-group discussion, which have not been included in the film. Some of the most interesting points that came out of the discussion were:

  • Poetry is often concerned with ‘amplifying’ experience, feelings, or issues. Likewise environmentalists in Scotland should be trying to amplify the messages coming from communities already facing climate change impacts.
  • The value of poetry in engaging with environmental issues may come from its ability to draw connections between personal experiences and wider issues in a way that is often difficult for environmental writing to achieve. Both poets work comes from their connection to a specific place and culture but it speaks to audiences from outside of these.
  • As island communities are among the first to face severe climate change impacts they are among those best placed to conceptualise innovative solutions and should be listened to.
  • We need to find a way of expressing the value of poetry beyond communication, but also as a different means of understanding, as a way to engage people in a new way, or even as a form of therapy for dealing with ‘climate anxiety’.
Green Tease Film: Island Futures

Green Tease

Green Tease is a network and ongoing informal events programme, connecting creative practices and environmental sustainability across Scotland.  Creative Carbon Scotland runs the Green Tease Open Call, which is a funded opportunity supporting sustainability practitioners and artists to exchange ideas, knowledge and practices with the aim of building connections and widening understanding of the role of arts in influencing a more sustainable society.

The post Green Tease Reflections: Island Futures appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

———-

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

Green Tease Reflections: 60 Harvests Left?

On Monday 25th November 2019, delegates converged on the James Hutton Institute’s Glensaugh research farm in a remote part of Aberdeenshire to discuss the future of food.

The event was organised in collaboration with the James Hutton Institute and brought together a diverse array of their researchers with farmers, representatives from environmental and arts organisations, and independent creative practitioners. Our aim was to discuss the ways that research at the Hutton Institute ought to engage with the issue of how to reduce the environmental harm of farming and food systems and the ways that they could work with arts and culture to present their research in new ways in order to increase their reach and impact. It was also a chance for those from an arts background to benefit from their up to date research.

About the event

The day started with a few short presentations that set the scene for what challenges Scotland currently faces regarding food. The issues raised included erosion of and depletion in the quality of soil (leading to the controversial ’60 harvests left’ prediction), the destructive potential to wildlife of some of the chemicals used in farming, the damage that oversimplified large scale farming can result in by replacing biodiverse countryside with monocultures, unnecessary surpluses, and the transport emissions of importing and exporting food.

There was also discussion of the threats that climate change poses to food production worldwide, with ‘breadbasket’ being those who climate is also forecast to change the most radically, and 1 in a 100 year shocks to food production set to increase to  1 in 30 by 2040. Another issue raised was that sellers were also responsible for creating sustainable food systems. 70% of UK food is sold in supermarkets and around 100 buyers dominant the food market in the UK, meaning that finding solutions is likely to involve working with them. WWF are working with Tesco on the sustainability of their food, for example.

This was followed by presentations and debate around what the solutions to these problems are. These ranged from practical solutions that are already in use such as planting fields with mixtures of crops, avoiding leaving soil exposed by planting a covering crop over winter, avoiding driving heavy machinery over soil, and increased tree planting on farms, to research into ‘precision agriculture’ and ‘vertical farming’ that could take place in cities and independently of soil quality. One recurring theme was that of ‘regenerative agriculture’: farming that helped protect and restore soil and wildlife rather than damaging it.

During the locally-sourced lunch artist Frances Davies handed out ‘menu cards’ that presented delegates with a 25-year-old art work that engaged with farming – Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield: A Confrontation, which involved her planting, maintaining, and harvesting a field of wheat on a landfill site two blocks from Wall Street – with prompts for conversation. This intervention aimed to encourage attendees to think more broadly about their aims, how they frame their research, and creative ways of engaging people on the issues, paving the way for the more open-ended discussions later in the day.

Green Tease: 60 Harvests Left? 1

Lunch was followed by a tour of part of the farm, which included discussion of the limited options available to farmers working on lower quality land – like 80% of Scottish farmland Glensaugh is designated ‘less favoured’ meaning that it is an ineffective context for growing most crops – and combining farming and forestry on the same land to encourage tree planting.

After the tour we heard from director and theatre-maker Lu Kemp, who discussed her play A Six Inch Layer of Topsoil and the Fact it Rains, which was based on interviews with Scottish farmers and taken on tour round village halls. The production aimed to catalyse discussions in farming communities about the future of farming and audiences were encouraged to stay and discuss their thoughts on performances after they finished. Lu also gave her thoughts on the value of the arts as a way of ‘telling stories’ and contributing to wider shifts of opinion, giving examples such as the Manhattan Theatre Club.

The final discussions of the day focused on making plans for the future including new research projects and new ways of promoting research. Suggestions included inviting artists to attend the next Hutton Institute research symposium and encouraging them to produce work in response and organising a ‘Hutton Institute Fringe’, collaborating with arts and culture to educate and engage members of the public.

Reflections

Annabel Pinker, a researcher at the James Hutton Institute and co-organiser of this event , said:

I was glad to see that there was a lot of interest and curiosity in the room about being in dialogue with artists in different ways – I think that people saw and felt the value in it. The atmosphere seemed unusually open and exploratory to me – which I think was heavily down to the presence of artists in the room. It de-stabilised the business-as-usual sorts of discussions we so often have.

The idioms used by artists and scientists are different and in any interdisciplinary setting lots of time is needed to listen and feel into the assumptions/values/logics at work in someone else’s way of seeing. So one clear take-away for me was that we need significantly more and ongoing conversations between researchers and artists around how we might work together and what collaboration might look like.

Lu Kemp said:

Food for thought! A rare opportunity to listen to experts in a variety of fields, and to have that inform our thinking around story and public conversations. I would love to create more space for playwrights and scientists to connect, allowing their respective crafts and research to inform one another.


Green Tease

Green Tease is a network and ongoing informal events programme, connecting creative practices and environmental sustainability across Scotland.  Creative Carbon Scotland runs the Green Tease Open Call, which is a funded opportunity supporting sustainability practitioners and artists to exchange ideas, knowledge and practices with the aim of building connections and widening understanding of the role of arts in influencing a more sustainable society.

The post Green Tease Reflections: 60 Harvests Left? appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

———-

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

Holding This Climate in My Body

By Evalyn Parry

Five months ago, I was up high in the mountains of Banff for a weekend, along with thirty theatre colleagues, leaders of institutions from across Canada. It was a historic Summit, the first event of the National Arts Centre’s (NAC) two-year research initiative, Climate Change: Reimagining the Footprint of Canadian Theatre, organized and conceived by NAC associate artistic director Sarah Garton Stanley, with co-curator Chantal Bilodeau.

Several months later, Chantal asked if I would consider writing a reflection on the weekend. I accepted her invitation in much the same way I had accepted the invitation to go to the Summit in the first place: an immediate “yes”… with a simultaneous, overwhelming feeling of terror in my gut.

I said yes to attending the Summit because, well, obviously. Here was an opportunity to dig into the single most pressing issue of our time – an issue that has motivated my creative work and many of my personal and political choices since I was a teenager. Climate is a subject I care about on a visceral, animal level. It is something I’m never not thinking about. The weekend at Banff promised a chance to be in the company of brilliant theatre colleagues and to hear from inspiring scientists, artists, psychologists, and activists working on climate across the globe.

Warm-up at the beginning of one of the sessions.

In the same instant as I say yes, I feel my breathing speed up. The sensation of pressure building inside me, like a body of water ready to overflow the banks.

The news and the information coming in daily about the climate crisis is overwhelming, increasingly terrifying, unprecedented, paralyzing. Too much to take in.

I’m adding another trip to my already packed schedule. I have been on tour a lot, flying to places with a show about climate change and colonization, an uneasy paradox. I’ve been away from home and from Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the company I lead in Toronto, too much. But this invitation feels important. Urgent. How can I say no?

I think, I am holding this climate in my body.

I think, Banff will be a time to listen. To immerse myself in this critical conversation, to strategize with colleagues. To be inspired.

Or maybe it will be the thing that finally sends me over the edge.

Anyway, I say yes. Yes to attending the Summit, yes to writing this reflection.

Because I recognize this feeling of terror in my guts. It’s a signal. Over the course of my career, I feel it whenever I embark upon any truly meaningful new creative project. When I step into the fray with the determination to harness ideas and visions and translate them into something concrete, to create something that doesn’t yet exist. The terror is not knowing: not knowing if I have what it takes to do justice to the task at hand, or what the outcome will be, or if I’ll succeed or fail. But I do know that saying yes to the attempt is the only way ambitious and meaningful things ever get made.

We arrive at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, a conference centre and artist retreat in the Rocky Mountains. Stunning alpine vistas in every direction. Nature stops me in my tracks, many times a day.

Most of us have flown great distances to get here. This irony is not lost on anyone.

We are theatre leaders inside a small industry working in a geographically enormous country. Many of us do a lot of flying. Touring, working in other cities, attending festivals. Canadians generally have a big carbon footprint. Our geography and climate implicate us inside resource-heavy infrastructure: sprawling distances between our major urban centers; long drives or flights between stops on tour; long winters through which we must heat our homes, theatres, and public spaces.

We gather in the BP Canada Energy Room. Paradox at every turn.

It’s oil money that pays for this amazing retreat centre, and that’s no secret; we are in Alberta, home of the tar sands. It strikes me that we are in a moment equivalent to the one just before the arts sector unilaterally rejected the sponsorship of big tobacco back in the nineties.

Sonali McDermid, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at New York University gives a presentation about the science of climate change.

We are welcomed by a local Indigenous Elder, Una Wesley, from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. She offers us smudge and blessing on our time together, and we begin.

There is a lot of energy in these mountains. I’ve heard many other artists talk about having wild dreams at night when they stay at the Banff Centre. It’s a good place for us to dream together.

Co-curators Stanley and Bilodeau have programmed an incredible lineup of “inspirers.” Over two days: nine speakers, each with ninety minutes to present. It’s inspiring, devastating, overwhelming, fascinating, breathtaking, sweeping in scope and scale: an onslaught of information, with breaks only for meals and refilling our refillable water bottles.

I take notes, lots of notes; my notebook becomes a wild, sprawling collection of facts, words, new thoughts, reminders, new information, things to look up later, random ideas to remember and take back with me to my Toronto theatre community:

Canada is warming at twice the global rate.
The ICPP Report.
Indisputable evidence.
Inertia.
Tipping points.
Ocean acidification.
Understanding that our atmosphere can “hold” a lot of energy, and it can take time to feel and realize the impact of this trapped energy. The way our oceans have been absorbing heat, holding it so we haven’t really felt it… until recently.
Arctic amplification.
Carbon capture, carbon dioxide removal.
Canadian boreal forests pulped for American toilet paper.
Hydroelectric dams as a significant source of methane gas emissions.
Environmental psychology. Grief.
Environmental melancholia.
Climate justice. The right of all people to work, play, and pray in a healthy environment.
Environmental racism.
Who has the benefit of environmental protections under the law.
How most of Canada’s most toxic industries are located directly adjacent to Indigenous communities.
Extractive industries. Predator economics.
“Reconciliation” vs reparations. Right relations.
The Truth and Reconciliation recommendations.
How violence against the Earth creates violence against women.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Permaculture.
Theatre made in rainforests, in ice houses.
Industrial fragility. Like white fragility.
Emergency preparedness. Rehearsal for disaster.
Embodied carbon.
Embedded carbon.
The carbon footprint of email. How sending a large document probably has a footprint similar to printing it out. My mind is bending.
Urgency vs. capitalist rush.
Neo liberalism vs collectivism.
Performance as intervention.
Recovery from failure.
Eleven years to enact massive change.
1.5 degrees.

Alison Tickell, Founder and CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, gives an overview of her organizations efforts to support the creative community to act on climate change and environmental sustainability.

I want to tell you everything we heard, everything that was shared, everything I thought, everything I’m thinking.

But I don’t know how to do it.

Trying to write about this feels like trying to capture a hurricane in a handbag.

As our intense forty-eight hour climate summit comes to a close, we try to figure out next steps. How to carry all this energy and information forward, into our respective lives, theatre communities, artistic practices, institutions. The folks from Toronto agree we’ll get together locally, later in the summer.

It’s July when we gather at Why Not Theatre’s new office in Toronto’s West End. It’s been an exceptionally hot summer. It’s cherry season and almost everyone brings cherries to share, along with stories of what we’ve been doing since Banff.

I’m inspired by my colleagues. A new travel policy has been implemented at the Luminato Festival: no more flights for artists and companies travelling along the Quebec/Windsor corridor; the festival will pay for train travel instead. There’s a new green committee at Soulpepper, and they’ve started rooftop composting and a garden, and are transitioning their office into being paperless. There’s the creation of an upcycling and disposal rider for all set designs, which has been built into contracts at the Stratford Festival. I’ve been focused on renovating Buddies’ building, which has been a project of mine for the past few years: upgrading roofs, walls, and windows for better heat and cooling retention, installing new bathrooms with lower water usage.

But we know individual actions are not enough. It’s clear that we can all recycle our bottles and compost until we are blue in the face, but this will not solve our climate crisis. If there is one thing that the Summit made clear, it is the scale of the crisis, and the industrial scale of the response that is needed. Governments must hold corporations accountable, and corporations must take responsibility for everything they produce. We need far-reaching, radical, visionary climate policy. We need it immediately.

These last few weeks, when I have tried – over and over – to begin writing, when I’ve tried to reflect on the Summit I’ve mostly felt the need to sit down, or lie down and take a nap. It’s felt impossible and I’ve felt inadequate, unqualified, and terrified.

And to be honest, lately, personally, I’ve been struggling with sustainability in my own life, this career in theatre, the challenge of leadership.

I’m struggling with how not to treat myself, and my staff, as inexhaustible resources. Not to succumb, as an artist, to the consuming capitalist framework that constantly reinforces the idea of productivity and unmitigated growth.

Struggling with how to keep moving at the breakneck pace of the city, where everyone is always on the hustle because it’s so expensive, so increasingly difficult to afford to live here so everyone needs seven jobs to survive, all of us working inside a sector that never has enough time or material resources yet values constant production. Struggling with my own ambition: to do more, have more, tour more, raise more, be able to support artists more, produce more…

I’m holding this climate in my body.

I try to remember some basic rules of farming (not that I’ve ever been a farmer, it’s just a dream – I joke it’s my fantasy backup career if I ever give up theatre), like letting the fields have a fallow year, a year when nothing is planted and harvested so the soil rests, or when a different crop is sowed in the field so new nutrients can rejuvenate it. I remind myself that I can say yes to a different way of doing things, that perhaps the most radical and creative thing I could do is slow down, stop the rush to produce. But then how to survive? I’m scared again.

The paradox of terror and yes. The yes that arises when I know – a deep, intuitive, body-knowing – that something new is calling out to be made. It needs to be made, and I want to be part of making it.

The terror that arises from all the things I don’t know yet.

We’re holding this climate in our bodies.

Here we are as a society, standing on the brink of that terror and yes.

(Top image: Participants in The Summit at the Banff Centre.)

This article was originally published on HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theatre community, on October 1, 2019.

______________________________

Evalyn Parry is an award- winning, queer feminist performance-maker and theatrical innovator whose work as a director, writer/performer, musician and collaborator is inspired by intersections of history, social justice and auto/biography. She is the artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto and the recipient of numerous awards, including the KM Hunter Award for Theatre, the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, and the Ken McDougall Award for upcoming director; in addition, she has been acknowledged with multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for her work as director, writer, performer and composer, and most recently, a nomination for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards for her play Gertrude and Alice (with Anna Chatterton and Karin Randoja).

———-

Artists and Climate Change is a blog 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 the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Opportunity: Climate Museum Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship

The Climate Museum Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Climate and Inequality

The Climate Museum seeks applications from humanities scholars who wish to engage the public on climate change and inequality to fill a two-year full-time Post-Doctoral Fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Fellowship will run from August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2022, concurrent with a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship on climate and inequality also funded by the Mellon Foundation.

The Climate Museum is the first climate-dedicated museum in the United States, working to mobilize the strengths of museum programming for public engagement. Since early 2017, the Museum has been building a practice of engaging the public and making climate solutions accessible through programming across the arts, sciences, humanities, and design. We had a breakout year in 2018, presenting In Human Time, an art exhibition about polar ice loss, deep time, and humanity, and Climate Signals, a citywide public art installation. In 2019, the Museum developed Climate Speaks, an ongoing, citywide, youth climate spoken word program, and Taking Action, a five-month solutions-focused exhibition, which closed in late October. 

The Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Climate and Inequality will serve on the leadership team responsible for the development and implementation of an exhibition at Governors Island in 2021 and will integrate an environmental humanities and justice framework throughout our programming, including the Museum’s Spring and Fall arts interventions and ongoing lectures and panels. Fellows will be encouraged to propose and help implement new approaches to engaging the public on issues of climate and inequality. 

The Mellon Fellowship is open to all candidates who have received their PhD in the humanities within the last five years and who have experience in climate and inequality. The Fellow will be in residence at the Museum full-time from August 2020 through July 2022, during which period they will become a key member of the Museum’s public engagement team. 

This Fellowship offers the opportunity to receive hands-on immersive experience developing and expanding public engagement strategy for the first museum in the United States dedicated to climate change. The position offers an unprecedented opportunity for Fellows to work at the intersection of climate and justice in a museum setting, supporting our early-stage initiative to meet the rising public demand for pathways into climate engagement and action. 

The fellowship includes a stipend of $63,000 a year, as well as health and dental insurance. Applications are due by March 15, 2020, video interviews will be arranged, and offers will be made by mid-April. Fellows will begin work on August 1, 2020. The Museum offers relocation assistance and a modest research budget to Fellows. 

Responsibilities 

The Post-Doctoral Fellow will support the expansion of the Museum’s engagement of the public on climate change, with a particular focus on the role of the humanities in justice-centered climate programming, through research and exhibition development. Both Mellon Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their public engagement skills and advance the work of an initiative at a formative moment of growth potential. 

After a training program on current best practices in climate communications and the Climate Museum’s approach to pedagogy, engagement, and outreach, with additional topics to be added based on Fellows’ backgrounds, Fellows will begin developing public engagement content and outreach. Their responsibilities will include: 

• Supporting the development of adjacent public programming for the Climate Museum’s 2020 exhibition

• Playing a central role in the planning and executing of the Climate Museum’s 2021 exhibition at Governor’s Island 

• Integrating an understanding of the intersections of climate and inequality throughout the Museum’s work, with a particular focus on developing adjacent public programming around our spring and fall arts interventions and our interdisciplinary programming 

• Conducting ongoing research on best practices for public engagement and outreach concerning the climate crisis and in particular its intersections with issues of inequality and justice 

• Envisioning and proposing new justice-oriented programs for the Museum 

The Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow will collaborate closely with the Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellow and other members of the Museum’s public engagement team, including our Director, Arts Marketing Coordinator, and Special Assistant for Operations. 

Qualifications 

All applicants must: 

• Be recipients of a PhD degree in the humanities after June 2015 and before June 2020 

• Be able to work from the Climate Museum’s New York City office with periodic visits to Governors Island and other programming locations from August 2020 – July 2022. 

• Have a keen eye toward the role of the environmental humanities in expanding public engagement with climate change 

• Have an academic background informed by historical inquiry and subject-matter expertise in climate, inequality, or both 

• Have a strong orientation towards collaboration 

• Have an ambitious mindset and excellent time management skills 

• Be inclined to kindness and humor under pressure 

Application Process 

Applications are due on March 15, 2020. 

Application materials should include the following: 

  • A cover letter detailing why you are a strong candidate and why this would be a good fit for you as well as the Climate Museum 
  • A Curriculum Vitae 
  • A 2-page single-spaced proposal outlining the public engagement work and research you would propose to conduct at the Climate Museum 
  • Names and emails of 2 references who are able to submit confidential reference letters.  References will receive a request from the Museum to email letters of referral to careers@climatemuseum.org with the subject line “Mellon Post-Doctoral Reference Letter for [Your Name]. If you have experience doing public engagement work, or work around climate and/or inequality, one letter of reference should come from a person familiar with that work. 

The Climate Museum highly values diversity and views the climate crisis as a social justice crisis. People of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and people who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Submit Application