Conscient Podcast: e50 newton

There are so many amazing people across this country who are helping to make change and are holding such a powerful vision for what the future can be. We get trapped in thinking about the paradigm limit in which we currently live, we put bounds on what feels like reality and what feels possible. There are no limits, and the arts helps us to push against that limited set of beliefs and helps us to remember that the way that we know things to be right now is not fixed. We can imagine anything. We can imagine the future we want.

teika newton, conscient podcast, may 19, 2021, kenora, ontario

A lifelong, insatiable curiosity for understanding people and places, and the interrelationships of all things, and a passion for humanitarianism and justice has directed Teika to a career in environmental and climate justice advocacy. Teika’s academic training was in evolutionary biology, but she also has a strong interest in the arts, notably in hearing people’s stories of how we relate to our natural world. She is currently the Membership and Domestic Policy Manager, at Climate Action Network Canada.

I first met Teika in February 2020 at TP3, a strategic gathering in Waterloo, ON convened by the McConnell Foundation and Tamarack Institute to create a coalition of organizations to address the climate crisis, (including through the arts). Teika and I been exchanging about community-engaged arts and climate action ever since.

There were many moments during my conversation with Teika that resonated with me, such as this thought our disconnection with nature: 

I see that there are a lot of ways in which people in my community use the landscape in a disrespectful way. Not considering that that’s someone’s home and that a wild place is not just a recreational playground for humans. It’s not necessarily a source of wealth generation. It’s actually a living, breathing entity and a home to other things and a home to us as well. I find that all really troubling that there is that disconnection and it sometimes does make me despair about the future course that we’re on. You know, if we can’t take care of the place that sustains us, if we can’t live with respect for not just our human neighbours, but our wilderness neighbors, I don’t know how well we’re going to fare in the future. We need to love the things around us in order to care for them.

And this thought about the role of the arts:

Having the ability to come together as a community and participate in the collective act of creating and expressing through various media, whether that’s song, the written word, poetry, painting, mosaic or mural making, so many different ways of expressing, I think are really, really valuable for keeping people whole grounded, mentally healthy and to feel connected to others. It’s the interconnection among people that will help us to survive in a time of crisis. The deeper and more complex the web of connections, the better your chances of resilience.

As I have done in all episodes in season 2 so far, I have integrated excerpts from soundscape compositions and quotations drawn from e19 reality and other episodes, as well as moments of silence, in this episode.

I would like to thank Teika for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her deep scientific knowledge, her expertise in strategic climate action and her love of the arts and nature.

For more information on Teika’s work, see https://www.linkedin.com/in/teika-newton-926a5477/

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(traduction)

Il y a tant de personnes extraordinaires dans ce pays qui contribuent au changement et qui ont une vision si puissante de ce que l’avenir peut être. Nous sommes pris au piège en pensant à la limite du paradigme dans lequel nous vivons actuellement, nous mettons des limites à ce qui semble être la réalité et à ce qui semble possible. Il n’y a pas de limites, et les arts nous aident à repousser cet ensemble limité de croyances et nous aident à nous rappeler que la façon dont nous savons que les choses sont actuellement n’est pas fixe. Nous pouvons tout imaginer. Nous pouvons imaginer le futur que nous voulons.

teika newton, balado conscient, 19 mai 2021, kenora, ontario

Une curiosité insatiable pour comprendre les gens et les lieux, ainsi que les interrelations entre toutes les choses, et une passion pour l’humanitarisme et la justice ont orienté Teika vers une carrière dans la défense de la justice environnementale et climatique. Teika a suivi une formation universitaire en biologie de l’évolution, mais elle s’intéresse aussi beaucoup aux arts, notamment à l’écoute des récits des gens sur la façon dont nous nous rapportons à notre monde naturel. Elle est actuellement responsable des adhésions et de la politique intérieure au Réseau Action Climat Canada.

J’ai rencontré Teika pour la première fois en février 2020 lors de TP3, un rassemblement stratégique à Waterloo, ON, organisé par la Fondation McConnell et l’Institut Tamarack pour créer une coalition d’organisations pour faire face à la crise climatique (y compris à travers les arts). Depuis, Teika et moi avons échangé sur les arts engagés dans la communauté et l’action climatique.

Au cours de ma conversation avec Teika, de nombreux moments ont résonné en moi, comme cette réflexion sur notre déconnexion de la nature : 

Je vois qu’il y a beaucoup de façons dont les gens de ma communauté utilisent le paysage de manière irrespectueuse. Ils ne tiennent pas compte du fait que c’est la maison de quelqu’un et qu’un endroit sauvage n’est pas seulement un terrain de jeu pour les humains. Ce n’est pas nécessairement une source de création de richesse. Il s’agit en fait d’une entité vivante, qui respire, qui abrite d’autres choses et qui nous abrite aussi. Je trouve tout cela vraiment troublant, cette déconnexion, et cela me désespère parfois quant à la voie que nous suivons. Vous savez, si nous ne pouvons pas prendre soin de l’endroit qui nous nourrit, si nous ne pouvons pas vivre dans le respect non seulement de nos voisins humains, mais aussi de nos voisins sauvages, je ne sais pas comment nous allons nous en sortir à l’avenir. Nous devons aimer les choses qui nous entourent afin d’en prendre soin.

Et cette réflexion sur le rôle des arts :

La capacité de se réunir en tant que communauté et de participer à l’acte collectif de création et d’expression par le biais de divers médias, que ce soit la chanson, l’écriture, la poésie, la peinture, la mosaïque ou la réalisation de fresques, autant de moyens d’expression différents, est, je pense, très précieuse pour que les gens restent ancrés dans la réalité, en bonne santé mentale et se sentent connectés aux autres. C’est l’interconnexion entre les gens qui nous aidera à survivre en temps de crise. Plus le réseau de connexions est profond et complexe, meilleures sont les chances de résilience.

Comme je l’ai fait dans tous les épisodes de la saison 2 jusqu’à présent, j’ai intégré dans cet épisode des extraits de compositions sonores et des citations tirées de la e19 reality et d’autres épisodes, ainsi que des moments de silence.

Je tiens à remercier Teika d’avoir pris le temps de s’entretenir avec moi, de partager ses profondes connaissances scientifiques, son expertise en matière d’action stratégique pour le climat et son amour des arts et de la nature.

Pour en savoir plus sur le travail de Teika, consultez le site https://www.linkedin.com/in/teika-newton-926a5477/ .

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About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : claude@conscient.ca

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

Go to conscient.ca

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