Monthly Archives: March 2012
Massive thanks for all who help make this happen, fun times, more to come…
When you know where everything is, will it be used because you know where it is?
Thinking about energy, so we were looking at some solar stats, here is a good map showing how much solar irradiation Sweden gets over the year. However looking here the calculations are a bit less positive.
Were putting on a little gathering to witness a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event: the transit of Venus in summer 2012. More details can be found here, this is in collaboration with Super Collider a not-for-profit collective which promotes science through the creative industries. working with illustrators, photographers, filmmakers, artists, designers and other creative folk we explore the myriad worlds of science – from geology and chemistry to astronomy and physics
It’s been a while. I hope you don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. I’ve been working some things out and not really coming to any conclusions, such is life.
Last week I helped organise and attended the TippingPoint Newcastle event; 200 artists and scientists and others (I nicely fit into the “others” category) joined us for a 3-day event exploring creative responses to climate change. What do I think the future will be? What can I do about the future? These were the key questions for the event. You can see some responses to the event on twitter using the #TPNewcastle – we had balloons and trips to the seaside. Aces.
The event started with a debate between “rational optimist” Matt Ridley and climate scientist Kevin Anderson and a debate it was. Matt, in the blue corner, argued that our responses to climate change are worse than climate change itself; the “cure worse than the disease”. Kevin, in the red corner, argued that we must act now, must dramatically reduce our carbon emissions to avoid imminent tippingpoints of the near future. The debate raged and raged. Voices got louder. Arguments more personal.
It led to quite the debate amongst the audience too. What was really interesting was the backlash at allowing Matt to voice his opinion. “He shouldn’t be allowed to say things like that” was something I heard more than once. Well why shouldn’t he? Everyday I listen to things I don’t want to hear, to people I think are wrong. Experts on the news, neighbours on the buses, my Mum when she reminds me yet again to clear out my crap from the loft, quite honestly I don’t want to hear climate scientists when they tell me increasingly depressing news about ice caps. But I listen and I interpret, happily ignoring the things I don’t want to hear and thus the loft remains uncleared for 16 years.
Climate change has been turned into a belief system; you’re either with us or against. You, the “non-believers” will be the destroyers of the future. Us, the “believers” its saviour. Religious connotations are impossible to ignore. At the same time as this somewhat contrived belief system has been hoisted upon us, we want this belief system to be based on fact. The facts from the Climate Scientists. The facts about carbon emissions. But if religion has taught us anything about belief systems it’s that facts get lost along the way and by the time you come to killing your neighbour 2000 years after Jesus died because he’s dared to touch the skin of a pig on a Sunday, the facts don’t really matter.
The facts really do matter with climate change. What matters from a global long-term perspective is that we stabilise and reduce the carbon parts per million. Reducing our parts per million relies on action, on ensuring that people understand why we must make changes and if not to be the makers of those changes to embrace any changes that are thrust upon them. The nature of a belief system, of a “them” and an “us” means that if there’s one person standing in the blue corner telling us the world is fine and another in the red corner telling us we’re fucking fucked then we’re all going to head to the blue corner. This doesn’t mean we should silence those who happen to disagree, free speech will prevail. Action will be the Creator of the future and not standing from the red corner shouting “YOU’RE WRONG, SHUT UP”.
It would probably help if I cleared out the loft too.