Featured video: hollywood diaries screen reel: 2008-2012... SD & HD 8:54
notes on a small conifer plantation being transformed to a mixed species, permanent forest
Image from my recent talk for ‘Collective Conversations about Sustainability’ (organised by the UCD Art in Science programme with The Lab Gallery, Dublin). Yes, its me aged five!
Sustainability as a concept is a term that we hear all the time. But aren’t we, in fact, catastrophically poor at recognising the unsustainability that threads through our daily lives and which is rapidly increasing. I know I feel that when I consider one of the planetary tipping points, biodiversity loss, is rarely mentioned in public discourse of current land practices or in contemporary art that might be focussed on new debates concerning landscape art photography. The other day I had a group of college art students visiting Hollywood – most of them didn’t seem to know the rate of biodiversity loss that industrial land and ocean practices are causing – the estimated and unprecedented loss of 150 species a day (UN, 2010 figures).
And our rate of biodiversity loss exceeds one of 4 planetary boundaries scientists have confirmed as needed to sustain life on Earth (frighteningly, climate change which is more often discussed comes in behind biodiversity loss of the 9 planetary boundaries that the UN accepted in 2009). How do we face these realities and proceed? Do we need more science to add to the volumes of facts that we have known for decades? More sustainable ‘development’ policies that seem to suggest that we can continue to grow our consumer lifestyles infinitely?? Instead, in my recent talk for Collective Conversations about Sustainability (see below) at The Lab Gallery, Dublin a few weeks ago I speak about the crucial, and often overlooked role, that the arts have for societal change in this time of environmental emergency.
Philosopher, nature writer and activist Kathleen Dean Moore recently spoke with writer and environmental activist Derrick Jensen of the urgency of this decade as the ‘hinge decade’ where we must come together to create a ‘social tipping point’ for new relations to others and the environments that sustain life. Dean Moore and Jensen argue we need to recognise the simplistic or distracting dangers in concentrating our discussions on recycling or adaptation. Instead, it is vital to resist the conventions that industrial culture perpetuates and, critically, we need to recognise where and with whom the power of unsustainable industrial practices lie. But to reach this point Dean Moore argues we have to develop the moral discourse, the skills of rational moral reasoning and add these urgently to our scientific understanding to help propel society in other more life sustaining directions. (more…)
Holly charging around on our visit to hear Fritz’ plans on planting a woodland; Fritz has been inspired to plant a woodland from the recent talk in Hollywood – YAY!!!
Since behaviour is contagious to the third degree, you don’t know which friends – and friends of your friends’ friends – might be moved, by your example, to also turn the page to the next chapter of the adventure story they were meant to live in mutuality with you.
Kare Anderson, Mutuality Matters (2012)
I’m looking forward to this Wednesday 11 March where I will be joining a panel for a discussion on Pathways Toward Sustainability – a joint initiative from the UCD Art in Science programme and The Lab Gallery (Dublin arts office). Each of the panel will be talking briefly from different perspectives, from the coast to the forest, from science to local authorities, which is so important as moving toward sustainability affects so many aspects of our lives.
I’ll be very briefly talking about the ‘culture of un-sustainability’ that modern industrial society is immersed in. And, how my modest project of transforming a small monoculture plantation into a forest is creating a ‘story’ that envisions deeper sustainability understandings and agency, to help us move away from the status quo of monoculture, industrial forestry. I will very briefly talking about how my own project connects with people from non-art areas: foresters, educators, writers, politicians, and some of the local people in the area the Hollywood project has touched. (more…)