Can a circular economy save us?
Posted on: September 17, 2017 at 4:41 pm
Artwork: ‘Ouroboros‘ by Marilyn Foehrenbach
The circular economy is a relatively new concept that has been gaining attention due to its promise to decouple growth from resource consumption. It is being promoted by a growing number of researchers and organisations, and has already earned a prominent place in political and business realms across the globe.
The potential of a circular economy to design out waste and serve as a solution for almost all of the major environmental and economic concerns of today gives it a strong appeal. But is it actually the panacea its proponents claim it to be?
Oxana Lopatina, Strategic Advisor for Swarm Dynamics illuminates. Read her excellent blog in full as first published on LinkedIn here
If climate change were to transform artists’ relationship to nature: An interview with Agnès Prévost
Posted on: June 23, 2017 at 2:33 pm
Text by Agnès Prévost. Introduction, interview questions and translation from French (including quotations and French titles) by Noora Puolamaa. Click the title of each artwork to view in detail.
Copyright: Agnès Prévost. Title: Commun (Common)
“Artists, be it even modestly, face a […] huge issue here, which could, which should, mobilize them entirely.”
Thomas Schlesser (2016) L’Univers sans l’homme. Les arts contre l’anthropocentrisme (1755-2016), (The Universe without Man. Arts against Anthropocentrism (1755-2016)), Paris: Hazan, p. 259
Visual artist Agnès Prévost’s work explores nature, moved by a feeling of connection to its multiple shapes and forms. She tells us about her ties to this source of inspiration, highlighting that a work of art representing nature implies a certain relationship of the artists to nature, shown to the viewer through the work of art. Agnès shows us how some artists’ vision of nature is changing today under the effect of climate change. Reverberating through the arts, this shift generates new types of works of art, which create pathways towards a new relationship to our environment within the wider society.
Could you tell me a bit more about your work: there seem to be a lot of trees and plants, shapes inspired by nature; why choose these themes? What do these shapes represent to you?
Yes, as you can see from my work, I have always been fascinated by the beings and shapes of what we call “nature”: its beauty, its abundance, its diversity of appearances and scales, its seasonal changes, its specific local and geographic features. This great “Other”, or rather these innumerable “Others”, made of the same atoms as our species but taking on other appearances, wild or tamed; contemporary or ancestral “Others”, fleeting or lasting, caught up in their own duration, shared temporarily or sustainably with us.
The type of relationship I had with the natural world during my childhood has had a profound impact on me. At the time, during my stays on the countryside, my vision was emotional, instinctive – primary –; it was a way of seeing which, by its quality, strongly connected me to this world. I don’t consider childhood only as a phase of human life: I think there is an infancy of vision, of being-in-the-world, which refers to a state that is relatively free of societal conditionings.
Copyright: Agnès Prévost. Title: Fragment VI
Today, choosing to draw or paint trees, mountains, leaves, branches, animals, sea, or other lifeforms existing in nature is simultaneously keeping alive and questioning the relationship I maintain with them over time. Looking, drawing, are deeply empathetic and connecting actions to me; they are also moments of distancing ourselves, ways of considering that and those we are witness to. Also, drawing and painting involve, through their movements, the body – a body which reacts depending on its own memory – and intuition – because creating is a process, it isn’t entirely predictable. For me the power of art consists precisely in its capacity to thus make the intuitive and the cultural interact, or even confront one another.
That being said, proposing new representations of nature despite the plethora of already existing representations over time and space may seem ludicrous. The history of art proves otherwise. This choice even seems to me, in the era of the “Anthropocene”, to be truly crucial. The advent of this new geological era – whatever it may be called – which establishes mankind as a geological force, is in itself properly disrupting: it radically alters our vision of nature. New questions, new representations emerge as a result; it therefore seems to me that there is a symbolic history to pursue, if not to write. For myself in any case, my artistic approach has been transformed by this.
What is it about Swarm that speaks to you? (Perhaps similarities between your work and what you see as Swarm’s ideals…) What made you want to be part of this network? What is Swarm to you?
I discovered the existence of the Swarm Dynamics organization (called ForeverSwarm then) during the COP21. Its founders David Holyoake and Chris Aldhous made clear, strong statements and actions to name and try to respond to the difficulties capitalist societies face because of the ecological crisis. Their stance seemed very accurate to me.
At the time, Swarm Dynamics recognized especially the momentary powerlessness of human imagination to respond positively and concretely to the alarming challenges of our time. It therefore called for new creative visions, following an important principle David Holyoake named “radical dreaming”: a (renewed) appeal to the imagination, put to the test of current knowledge in science, technology, law, humanities… concerning ecological questions.
Moved by the ecological and philosophical disruptions under way, it is true that I felt the need to connect with other thinkers and creatives tackling the same questions, and to incorporate my works into a body of research and proposals. It was not so much about becoming part of a movement, to me it was about sharing with others the conviction that climate change and the Anthropocene placed us – scientists, thinkers, creatives, or simply humans – in front of a new horizon. Since ten or fifteen years – in a very short amount of time because the window for action is extremely short – a lot has happened in the artistic and other research fields that contributes to creating the “radical dream” we need.
After movements such as the Arte Povera, Land Art, and other strong individual works in their wake (Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, Joseph Beuys, hermann de vries, Piero Gilardi, to mention only a few of them), we know that the artistic action, summoning experience and imagination, opens up perspectives on environmental questions. Similarly, reality and contemporary scientific knowledge interact profoundly with human sensitivity.
I read a few lines you wrote about a “change in representation.” What did you mean by that? In what ways do you think climate change affects art, perception, representation?
If we look at the facts, the term Anthropocene was first used in the year 2000 – a historic moment in the field of geology. This term was coined by Dutch chemist Paul Crutzen during a conference in Mexico; two years later he developed his statement in the journal Nature, noting himself that the Anthropocene “modifies not only the perception of the world in the field of science, but deeply infiltrates other disciplines – especially social sciences”.
Indeed, an international conference entitled “How to think the Anthropocene?” took place in 2015 at the Collège de France, in Paris, gathering many disciplines in the natural, human and social sciences : anthropologists, philosophers and sociologists each showed the profound changes in premises, perspective and methodology which anthropogenic climate change brought about in their fields.
Why, then, would this question spare artists? Mankind and artistic production have always been affected by the conception humans have of themselves within the universe. A simple chronological look at the history of Western art, and especially the shift from sacred societies to profane societies, shows this well. Moreover, in the exhibition La Fabrique des Images (The Making of Images), Philippe Descola clearly distinguished the fundamental differences between the productions of naturalist, animist, totemic and analogical societies: humans’ understanding of their place within the world and their relationship with other beings conditions their representations.
In L’Univers sans l’homme (The Universe without Man) published recently, the art historian Thomas Schlesser compares the artistic approaches which, since the 18th century, question the centrality of mankind within the cosmos. Taking as a pivotal date the earthquake which ravaged the city of Lisbon in 1755, the work follows a chronological path showing the impact that major historical and scientific events affecting our relationship to nature and the world have simultaneously on parts of contemporary artistic research. The book ends on the beginning of our century and creations expressing the implications of the ecological crisis and the advent of the Anthropocene.
The linear perspective reflected a state of the world and of knowledge at a certain moment. Without claiming that all artistic productions will be affected by the shift in the historical human experience we are living through – historical because it also affects our perception of time and space – we can already see that frameworks of thought, representations and action are undergoing significant changes.
Concerning the change in representation, are there particular authors, philosophers, artists who have written about this and whose thinking you strongly identify with?
This question reminds me of the call for contemporary artists published in 2014 by the anthropologist and philosopher Bruno Latour, the sociologist and philosopher Bronislaw Szerszynski and the art historian and journalist Olivier Michelon, calling on artists to comment through works of art the advent of the Anthropocene. Giving an artistic expression to this disruption allows us to fully realize it as well as to admit its symbolic significance. This call resulted in a large exhibition at the Musée des Abattoirs in Toulouse, France.
Numerous contemporary artists contribute today to showing an empathetic representation of living things, an art going beyond the dualist vision of culture versus nature, or aiming to translate the disruption that the natural world is undergoing under the effect of human action. Works using very diverse language are thus connected by these questions.
Then, I would gladly first mention the internationally known work of Giuseppe Penone. His work consisting of sculptures, drawings and photographs proceeds through empathetic movements; the hand of the artist alternates between being receptive and active, sensitive organ then master of a technique. The work gives simultaneously a shape and a voice to living things; and at the same time, mixing natural materials and human movements, it transmits a particular form of relationship with these living things, a relationship that is shaping techniques.
Thus, notably through a rather frequent use of human imprint on matter, the work tends to involve – or even incorporate – the human body and organs into matter itself. Then, far from proposing only the visual shape of the imprint, the work also shows its processual dimension (as in the series Propagazione, for instance); it therefore seems to me that it directly questions man’s capacity to mark his passage, briefly or sustainably (this dimension of memory is expressed for example in the ensemble Il vuoto del vaso, 2005). Origin and future at once, the totality of the living seems to be considered in equal parts in the work of Penone, and is integrated into a shared, common duration.
Copyright: Agnès Prévost. Title: Dessin invisible II
I could of course mention other artists who have participated to the Arte Povera, for whom nature is important. And various other works also move me in this way. The works of hermann de vries, Per Kirkeby – whose experience as geologist seems to have truly shaped the pictorial language as animated by telluric movements of matter –, the last works of Hans Hartung – significantly passionate about astronomy –, the work of Lee Ufan, or more recently Stéphane Thidet and Abraham Poincheval, for example.
Giving an important role to matter, experience and duration, these works go beyond the mere aesthetic dimension to summon several of our senses, call out to our body and our sensitivity as a whole. And since the tangible experience of the world is a component of these works, it is what they call out to within us. Having humble attitudes, the poetic dimension they carry reinforces this call.
Going from a visible pictorial space to a sensory pictorial space, I try to create these kinds of thresholds. This is what I have attempted to do in works such as Dessin invisible (Invisible Drawing), where the outline of the drawing is deliberately a transparent outline which will later be revealed by the ink that will partly cover its oily matter; or Fragments, imprints of leaves showing the trace of a contact between the plant, the page of paper and the palm. More than a limited object, framed and closed on itself, the picture, the piece of paper (the plant origin of which is eminently evident) can be open, mediating spaces, places of passage and transitivity.
My anthropological readings have also had a profound impact on me, notably the works of Philippe Descola, as well as the thought of geographer and philosopher Augustin Berque.
Please visit the artist’s website: http://www.agnesprevost.com
Agnès Prévost, Commun (Common), 150 x 170 cm, oil on canvas, 2016
Agnès Prévost, Fragment VI, 4 x 50 x 65 cm, gouache on paper, magnets, 2015
Agnès Prévost, Polyptyque Burkhard (Burkhard Polyptic), 90 x 150 cm (8 x 30 x 30 cm), pigmented prints on Hahnemühle, 310g, special collection
Agnès Prévost, Dessin invisible II (Invisible Drawing II), 76 x 130 cm, mixed technique on blue paper, separate panels, 2015
 The infancy of vision is perhaps also the one understood in the meaning Giorgio Agamben gives to the word “infancy”: “Far from being something subjective, an original experience can only be the one which, for man, is prior to the subject, in other word prior to language: a ‘silent’ experience in the literal sense of the term, an infancy of man, of which language should precisely mark the limit.” Giorgio Agamben (1978) Enfance et histoire (Infancy and History), French translation by Yves Hersant (2010), Paris: Payot & Rivages.
 For artist and philosopher David gé Bartoli (alias David Guignebert), the Anthropocene forces us to consider the political community as involving not only simply humanity but living things and even non-living things: see, for example, David gé Bartoli, Sophie Gosselin (2011) “Organiser la désappropriation, libérer le commun” (“Organizing the disappropriation, liberating the common”), Multitudes, vol. 47, n° 4, pp. 189-194.
 Paul Crutzen (2002) “Geology of mankind”, Nature, vol. 415, n° 6867, p. 23, quoted by Thomas Schlesser, L’Univers sans l’homme (The Universe without Man), pp. 14, 238.
 Conference “Comment penser l’Anthropocène ? Anthropologues, philosophes et sociologues face au changement climatique” (“How to think the Anthropocene? Anthropologists, philosophers and sociologists facing climate change”), international interdisciplinary conference coordinated by Philippe Descola and Catherine Larrère, Collège de France, 5-6 November 2016.
 La Fabrique des images, Visions du monde et formes de la représentation (The Making of Images. Visions of the World and Forms of Representation), curated by Philippe Descola, Quai Branly Museum, Paris, 16 February 2010-17 July 2011. A catalogue accompanied this exhibition: Philippe Descola (Ed.) (2010), La Fabrique des images. Visions du monde et formes de la représentation, Paris: Somogy et Musée du Quai Branly.
 Pierre Francastel (1951, new edition 1984) Peinture et société. Naissance et destruction d’un espace plastique de la Renaissance au cubisme (Painting and Society. Birth and Destruction of an Artistic Space from the Renaissance to Cubism), Paris: Denoël-Gonthier, p. 9: “The linear perspective […] is one of the aspects of a conventional form of expression founded on a certain state of technology, science, social order, world order at a given moment”.
 Exhibition Anthropocène Monument (Monument Anthropocene), curated by Olivier Michelon, Musée des Abattoirs, Toulouse, 3 October 2014-4 January 2015.
 “The will to have an equal relationship between myself and things is at the basis of my work.” Giuseppe Penone (2009) Respirer l’ombre (Breathing the Shadow), Paris: Éditions des Beaux-arts de Paris, p.13.
 To comment on this conception of the pictorial work as mediator, we can mention a statement made by Lee Ufan concerning his own work in his book of interviews published in 2002 at Actes Sud Editions, Un art de la rencontre (An Art of the Encounter): “The work of art then comes to exist there, as that which is beyond me. Its diversity, its vastness and its depth seem to result from the mysterious intertwining, full of tensions, of individuality and natureity.” Écrits, 1970-1986 (Writings, 1970-1986), Un art de la rencontre, p. 88....
We’re hiring a volunteer!
Posted on: May 15, 2017 at 6:18 pm
Join an exciting system change organisation! Swarm Dynamics is looking for a motivated and enthusiastic volunteer to help us with social media and artist outreach for equivalent of 1 day per week. To read the full ad and for details on how to apply please visit www.environmentjobs.com
London Utopia Festival – Swarm address
Posted on: December 1, 2016 at 8:36 pm
In September 2016, Swarm Dynamics was invited participated in the 500 year anniversary of Thomas Moore’s Utopia under the umbrella of Somerset House’s UTOPIA Festival. Visit our soundcloud page to tear Swarm’s David Holyoake and Lauren Davies in discussion about radical dreaming, the role of creativity in advancing system change, and the lack of a poetic approach in contemporary politics and policies.
We’re Hiring a Volunteer!
Posted on: September 6, 2016 at 6:45 pm
Visit www.environmentjobs.com to read the full ad
YOU CAN WORK REMOTELY, IDEALLY FROM LONDON BRIGTHON OR BRUSSELS SO YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET SOME OF OUR TEAM.
WE REQUIRE AT LEAST ONE DAY PER WEEK COMMITMENT. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ENVIRONMENTAL AND SYSTEM CHANGE ISSUES, AND/OR IN THE ARTS AS A FORCE FOR CHANGE, AND INTERESTED TO LEARN NEW SKILLS IN AN EXCITING NEW VENTURE WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.
EVEN BETTER IF YOU ARE GOOD WITH COMPUTERS AND SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES.
WE WILL PROVIDE AN EXCELLENT REFERENCE IF YOU STAY WITH US FOR AT LEAST 3 MONTHS.
APPLICATIONS CLOSE 20th SEPTEMBER 2016.
To apply, visit WWW.ENVIRONMENTJOBS.COM to read the full ad, or contact us on the contact page of this site…
Imagining our “Decades After Paris”: an interview with Danton Jay and Heather Lynn
Posted on: July 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm
Written by Kai Reimer-Watts for Swarm with contributions from the artists, June 2016
Heather and Danton are the creative duo behind the beautifully rich and inspiring 2015 climate album, Decades After Paris (www.DecadesAfterParis.com). They are also a couple, committed to life as both creative collaborators, activists and partners.
Heather and Danton work day jobs for the provincial government in B.C., Canada, in the natural resource sector. Their skills and experience in project management, communications and environmental policy came in handy for their concept album. So too did their proximity to the provincial delegates to the Paris Climate Conference last November, who went to the climate talks armed with their album.
The duo’s music uniquely bridges the common gap between climate science, policy and art. This approach also led to their collaboration and interest in the climate art group Swarm, which strives to build similar bridges. In particular, Heather’s experience becoming known as the “singing bureaucrat”, where she was invited to conferences to sing about climate action, was a key catalyst. For Danton, it was his environmental psychology studies as part of his degree, and the success he experienced with his previous album, Morcenx.
Decades After Paris is the duo’s first “public collaboration.” The album weaves a story of climate activism starting at the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York, continues to the very political Paris Climate Agreement, and imagines decades beyond it. As a climate artist and Swarm member myself, I reached out to Heather and Danton to discuss their album, inspirations and hopes for the future.
Interviewer: What inspired you to translate years of climate activism into a work of art? Why choose music and storytelling as the medium?
Both: We went to New York looking to be re-inspired, and to do something for the movement. Danton went down with his guitar, “looking for music inspiration, sounds, new styles of music, a muse…” Meanwhile, Heather was dressed all in white. She offered markers for people to write on her in answer to the question “what are you hopeful for?” She collected messages from people from all over. “Elizabeth May even wrote on me! It was something meaningful to take home.”
Prior to New York, Danton had already done an album about sustainability, so it seemed like a natural fit to keep going in that direction. Heather was looking for better styles and methods of communication – in her policy work, she’d seen a lot of climate presentations, but felt that “we’re just not going to get there without making people feel.” The need to do something big in response to this moment was clear – but what?
When Danton invited Heather to participate on a new album with him, the two quickly found themselves tiptoeing around both wanting to do a big project together, and the start of a new relationship. They knew they wanted to create a story with a variety of entry points, a “soft landing” into the space of climate discourse – music storytelling that would engage both the rational and emotive sides of its listeners. Danton’s interest in “transformative scenario planning” was one influence on the decision to incorporate conversations in the album that are based in the distant future, where the listener can imagine what it’s like to look back on a changed world in 2030. All this quickly led to the creation of Decades After Paris.
Creating an album that is both beautiful & political isn’t easy… can you speak to your struggle to achieve this balance? Can you think of any moments in the album where both the message of art and of “climate truth” come together most clearly?
Heather: “In the lyrics for Paris Takes The Stage, I imagined I was in a coffee shop on the street in Paris observing what was happening around me. Part of it was thinking about this experience of life and the mess we’re in, then connecting these experiences to the political. Lyrics like “We sip on beers from Belgium…” speak to this distant observing of society. These Eyes may speak to climate truth the best, opening up a space of fear and grief – we knew this was a hard space to ask people to go into.”
Danton: “In Carried Away, I think the lyrics are very nicely blended with music. The song has a sixties “peace and love” or “flower child” feel, whereas These Eyes is dark and somber. We like to think of it as our James Bond tune (laughs). Heather did the fine-tuning of the lyrics, and is magnificent with that – the final lyrics were written in the last week before recording.”
Heather: “It was difficult though. I couldn’t figure out how to move from this happy, hoppy, hopeful space we’d created in the rest of the album into a more intense moment of frustration for These Eyes… Danton knew I needed space to do this, and went out to get dinner. While he was gone I threw pillows around in a tantrum as I struggled, then wrote the lyrics stream of consciousness style. When he came back with dinner, it was done (laughs).”
Give us a picture of the album creation process as a creative couple / team … what was it like? Did you have distinct roles, and any influences or mentors along the way?
Both: From the start, we knew we wanted to write accessible music to reach a broad audience, and so started to explore the appeal and potential of pop. To develop the melodies, Danton rented a piano to explore pop styles and composed most of the music. Heather had written Carried Away with alternate lyrics previously, as well as part of Titans. We really enjoyed writing the riff for the song Titans together at the beach. We laid down the music first before writing the lyrics, which Heather then took the lead on.
Heather: “I’m terrible at remembering band names, song names that influence me – I work more intuitively I guess. Danton picked up on some funk and R&B influences that were channeled into songs such as Techno Junky, which has riffs, for example, with a clear Prince influence. Chants at the march were also a major influence, such as for the song Unstoppable.”
Danton: “Our producer Joby Baker was also a major influence – he played many instruments, and helped with many musical tweaks to craft more finished soundscapes. After the march, we participated in an after-party where a band called Daughter played a song connecting to the war in Syria. The music was timed to reflect bombs dropping, while groups of people saved others from the bombed buildings – for me, this song helped inspire the bridge of our song Twilight.”
Now that Decades After Paris is finished, what do you feel touches people the most about it? What have been some of your favourite moments post-release?
Heather: “The diversity of the album really allows you to pick and choose music that fits a particular mood or day. Ultimately, we wanted to paint a picture that is real, but not so daunting that people will simply shut off – we do want people to feel hopeful after. I was personally really surprised by people’s reactions to These Eyes, which became many people’s favorite – it has heavy-hitting words so I didn’t expect it to be so popular, but in many ways that song is what this is all about.”
Both: One of our favorite moments was the few rallies where we’ve played, with thousands of people chanting “We are unstoppable, another world is possible”. When people come up to us afterwards and say “thank you for writing this,” those are very special moments.
If you could get one politician or influential leader to really listen to your album and absorb its message right now, who would it be and why?
Both: Donald Trump is clearly a lost cause, so he doesn’t count. Instead we thought of Christy Clark, the Premiere of British Columbia, since we both work for the provincial government and so see the effects of her decision-making in a variety of ways. Someone who has such a large influence on our home would feel like a great person to convert. Additionally, BC has been a respected climate leader in the past, given its carbon tax, but we’re now mostly riding our own coattails. Beyond Christy, it would be great to put CDs in Justin Trudeau’s hands, given his international influence.
What are your dreams for the album in the years and decades ahead?
Both: One, that it continues to be that safe space for listeners to better feel and understand this issue, while also leading people to take action. Right now the oil industry is having a huge turnover; even the oil sands are burning with the recent fire in Fort McMurray; Paris is flooding – at these moments we feel music like this can really help to empower.
What is your big hope for the world?
Both: Getting the space to be able to grieve what we had and now have lost – These Eyes really speaks to this. Human migrations, cities burning to the ground are now a reality – we have to take time to grieve this. People in the West sing about how to grieve former lovers, but not the lifestyle or environment they’re losing so much… We need to find the courage with the communities we love to get through this while trusting that it’s not too late.
Heather: “She’s packing up her bags & leaving… it’s time to say goodbye.”
Real Innovation Uses Unconventional Methods
Posted on: June 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm
BY MICHELLE VLATKOVIC
“Recently, I found out about a group of artists experimenting and skills sharing called Swarm Dynamics and this got me thinking. I want to sew a truly innovative idea and this is radical. Not for profits could thrive by collaborating with artists in unexpected ways.
Engaging with artists beyond messaging in areas like strategy, workforce participation, governance and advocacy can produce solutions conventional MBA types that use clichés like ‘think outside the box’ would never conceive…”
READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON THE PORTABLE CEO BLOG HERE: portableceoblog.wordpress.com...
Super Yoghiros – illustrated kids book about the amazon
Posted on: June 7, 2016 at 7:50 am
“The “Super Yoghiros in the Amazon” is an illustrated children book, for ages 4 to 8. The idea is to spark curiosity in children and help start family conversations about trees, tropical forest, why it is so important and how we can preserve it.
The purpose of the Super Yoghiros project is to make kids learn about the existing solutions in the fight against climate change before they have a clear understanding of the problem itself. It is also to help them realize ecology can be fun. I start with this story in the Amazon, as tropical forest are amongst our best allies against global warming.
To create the story, I was inspired by the Alto Huaybamba, a region of the Peruvian Amazon, where we developed a reforestation project with a collective of french entrepreneurs and the local communities. The use of biodiversity by the forest people has been a great inspiration: the dragon blood or the cat claws vines both used as medicine, the piri-piri to seduce a beloved person …
Kids around me also helped the writing process. My 5 years old son, crazy about super heroes, was often asking me why he didn’t have super powers. That’s how I decided to create super heroes without artificial or surnatural powers… Kids have something more powerful : the power to say no. When they use it in the right way, even if they’re small, their voices can have a big impact.
I will publish this book with Conscients, my own brand dedicated to kids. I launched presales on a crowdfunding platform. First, as a way to involve people. Then, as a way to increase the possible audience.”
New Myth for a Vibrant Future
Posted on: May 15, 2016 at 4:21 pm
Here is an extract of a piece written by french writer Eve Gabrielle Demange, (author of ‘La Petite aux Aigles‘) shortly after her participation in the Creative Factory directed by Swarm and Place to B during UNCOP21. Click the link below to read the full article.
Why is it so difficult to get people to act in the face of climate change? Why do the media cover ecology in such a negative way? The more I research, the more complicated it seems and the deeper the causes closely linked to our western way of thinking.
But, first, let me tell the story of the tree people.
The story of the tree people
Once upon a time a community lived in a tree lost in an endless desert. Compared to the size of the desert, the tree was tiny. But, for these people the tree was everything. It was huge and reassuring. These people were aware of themselves and their mortality – they experienced fear, suffering, pain, but also joy, happiness and fulfillment. Since ancient times, they were born, ate, loved, hated and died in harmony with this tree of life.
Thanks to their intelligence, these people developed a language and shared knowledge. They made marvelous discoveries and mastered complex arts. They were so successful and healthy that they reproduced and became numerous. Over time, they forgot to pay attention to the health of the tree.
But, one day, they noticed that the tree was not reacting like usual. The leaves fell more quickly, the buds didn’t grow as densely and the new fruit weren’t as beautiful. Sometimes, the tree trembled producing serious damage. What was happening to the tree? Who was responsible? How could they solve the problem? After thorough research, the community’s elders declared that the problem came from the people living in the tree and the solutions must also came from, and only from, them.
This announcement seemed so incredible that most people didn’t want to believe it. Others remained stunned. Until then, the tree had maintained its natural balance by itself without anyone needing to worry about. But, now they needed to understand everything, start again and change what had led to such a catastrophic situation? ….
TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE, CLICK HERE:...
The New Climate Story
Posted on: March 20, 2016 at 10:09 pm
Creative Factory: what we learned about the new climate story
This blog by Swarm’s David Holyoake was first published here, by Global Call for Climate Action in January 2016.
Over an intense two weeks in Paris, something big was started. No, I’m not talking about the new UN climate agreement, but instead the coming together of artists, poets, actors, campaigners and journalists to envision the new climate story. On the sideline of the Paris climate talks Place to B-COP21 ran an impressive hub of civil society and media activity involving thousands of participants. As part of this – and as a collaboration between Place to B and Forever Swarm (the pilot that gave rise to Swarm Dynamics in 2016)– I was fortunate enough to co-direct the Creative Factory, a unique think-make tank focused on catalysing off-the-grid thinking for transformational climate change communications. The focus was to foster creative, cultural interventions to mainstream the social consensus for urgent action.