I’ve been back a few days from Copenhagen and the Cultures | Futures symposium. It was a great experience to be in one place with so many different perspectives on how the cultural communities / practitioners / arts councils and international arts bodies from around the world are joining together to discuss cultural responses to climate change. Presentations ranged from artists’ community actions in Island nations to leading engineering consultants discussing how our cities must be re-organised to focus on people, their culture and local economies, not energy consuming, carbon emitting cars (in a few years over 75% of the worlds population will live in cities). My head is still swimming with so many ideas and experiences shared. At times I was heartened to find so many activities occurring but realistically the Culture | Futures aim to change the entire culture of humanity to live on this earth sustainably, within a short time frame by year 2050, is so ambitious. However, policy documents produced at this meeting are being taken seriously by leading Arts Institutions, with representatives from the UK, Scottish Arts Councils, EU Cultural agencies although apart from a recent architect gradu
ate, I was the only representative from Ireland! At the next UN summit there is already a clear intent that this symposium will be centered in the main plenary sessions. Also don’t be
surprised in the near future that funding for your art project may require you to submit an eco statement (Julie’s Bicycle – an initiative to cut emissions across the UK Music creative industry is moving very fast to change many aspects of its energy consumption and its policies and initiatives (you’ll see it IG, Industry Green label on eco CD labelling and at future music festivals very soon) are being examined by other agencies right now).
All who are interested in Culture (the way we live in society); be it the arts as practitioners or cultural leading institutes, sports, faith groups, local authorities, are encouraged to join the now spiral level of activity that Culture | Futures is trying to promote at www.culturefutures.ning.com
I came back from Copenhagen to find my Martin trying to organise the only 350 Climate change vigil in the republic of Ireland, on Mt Leinster, for the global day of solidarity during the Cop15 talks last Sat. We had about 30 attend, it was cold but clear and the stars and shooting stars (meteor shower that night) were a real bonus and a lot of us walked to the top of Mt Leinster to show support for nations already affected by climate chaos. We even managed to send some large paper lanterns into the night sky – surprising since Mt Leinster can often be so wet and windy. The poor turnout shows that most in Ireland have little interest or understanding of climate justice, or know that there is only a 10 year window in which we must act to reduce global carbon emissions and prevent run away climate chaos. In fact, I think a highlight for me was in the key note presentation for Future | Cultures that a photograph of Bangledesh floods was shown next to a photograph of Ireland’s recent floods. I wish I could show Ireland how it now been seen overseas as a nation affected by climate change. As a country, I think we can be nowhere near 80% of our population understanding what climate change means – as in Sweden. In Ireland, we have so loved to hate the green sustainable message in our past decade of relentless economic growth.
Here’s some images from Mt Leinster and a new 350 video showing people from around the world gathering last Sat 12 Dec 2009; my sister helped organise a Vigil at Durham Uni, UK and I heard today from another friend of a small Vigil in the centre of Ljubljana. Tomorrow, Wed 16, is the planned day of non-violent protest in Copenhagen.