Stephen Emmott, an acclaimed scientist, stands in a re-creation of his cluttered Cambridge office and delivers, under Katie Mitchell’s astute direction, an illustrated 60-minute talk on the consequences of over-population. He tells us that we are facing “an unprecedented planetary emergency” and, under his calm exterior, you sense a concealed fury at our failure to address the crisis.
The Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight, under occupation by a handful of workers, is set for closure at the end of this month, citing “lack of demand”; that this happened in the immediate aftermath of Ed Miliband’s Energy Transition White Paper is ironic, to say the least. Three years ago, as Seamus Milne points out, Nicholas Stern nailed climate change as “the greatest market failure the world has ever seen”. It’s time to nail the myth that “lack of demand” is a natural state, to which everything must submit.
The illustration is from an installation by the British artist Michael Pinsky at this July’sKortrijk annual all-night arts festival. The four supporting columns of Belgium’s tallest wind turbines were transformed into giant meters, monitoring the ecological impact of Kortrijk’s all-night event. The consumption of energy and water, the production waste, and noise levels were all metered by two rings of projectect light moving up and down the turbines, as if, to quote the artists’s statement, the festival was “feeding” Monometer.