Tipping Point: the realities we face

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My inspiration for life is our parents; so many of the values we have come from them … they told us that if you live by your conscience there is no reason to be afraid. - Vandana Shiva
This was probably the most important conference I've attended, and the only one that has employed social-ecology frameworks, while paying attention to the environmental details (such as the considerable percentage of the food that fueled us over two incredible days was organic and locally sourced). It was very apt that the feature on Shiva's life and work appeared in The Age yesterday, the second day of the conference. Shiva will be in Melbourne on friday. My own contribution was, naturally, centred around art and resources, specifically food:
Today I speak on behalf of my household, the Artist as Family, and our very intentional practice of transition away from pollution based ideology. We believe there is a direct exchange between the resources we consume and the kind of art we make. I call this exchange permapoesis. Read on...


Tipping point: dreams of children

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm taking a rest from preparing a presentation that I'm giving in Melbourne as part of the Tipping Point conference, "Art and climate change – re-imagining a global future through dialogue and action".

I'm writing about our household's art practice based on our transition from oil-based consumer ideology to relocalisation, and I've been thinking a lot about Zephyr, our eight year old, and his very particular role in augmenting change. Zeph often starts a sentence with "when the oil runs out..." or, "when I get a horse I'll build a cart and...".

By the time Zeph is ten he'll know how to build a shelter, light fire without matches, forage for wild plants and mushrooms, grow potatoes and corn and sunflowers, hunt for rabbits and fish for perch, all unassisted; all as a matter of pleasure and necessity.

Zeph already supports our household resource supply in many ways, and this role has been significant to his development. He's never babied, he makes his own lunch (carrots, pumpkin seeds, and sourdough honey sandwiches), and loves to lead a 'bush bash' for an hour before school. His wild to cultivated ratio is about 50:50, something we will continue to celebrate and nourish.

He ran off the top of his bunk bed a few nights ago, fleeing from a nightmare. Remarkably he landed without broken bones or even a scratch, and he said he remembered nothing the next morning, except for the frightening dream itself.

Whatever happens this century, Zeph, as your parents we will ensure you have the tools for resilience, to participate in this world and be present and connected, not fooled by abstract money markets, not fearful of the long descent, and not reliant on exploiting systems such as transported resources. By only consuming local resources you will understand the value of things and how to look after them and assist, where you can, in their processes of renewal.

We will support you to grow your beautiful imagination so as you will always create your own responses and solutions, even to your nightmares, and be resourceful in helping yourself, in community with others, move towards a more just, relocalised world.


Sown up liberty

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eighteen months ago, after Obama came to office, I blogged that he'll "either be shot or fully bought within 12-24 months". Well, it's now pretty clear which one.

Back in April this year – "Obama Appoints Pesticide Executive to Top Trade Post" (from Democracy Now):

And food justice advocates are criticizing President Obama’s recent appointment of a top pesticide industry executive to a key trade position. The executive, Islam Siddiqui, was named the US Trade Representative’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator in a spate of recent appointments. Siddiqui is a former vice president and lobbyist at CropLife America, a group of the major industrial players in the pesticide industry, including Syngenta, Monsanto and Dow Chemical. A coalition of over eighty environmental, family farm and consumer advocacy organizations had campaigned against his nomination.
Last year the following video was posted. There has been no major press coverage of this story since April 2009, and little follow up available online:

Just when you're thinking, "well, that's America", you discover Croplife Australia made up of the same group of dirty chem-lobbyists who are bullying weak politicians in Oz – No GM labelling on foods, university departments being built to champion factory farming, continuing heavy reliance on health destroying herbicides and pesticides, insane licensing policies, trialling of GM crops in several states despite dodgy shareholder-determined science.

If you want to get better informed about what all this means for you and your local environment, (and you haven't already) watch The World According to Monsanto.


Greenwash #16 in Trouble - Because You're Worth It

Friday, October 1, 2010

For this month's Greenwash I invited my girlfriend, Meg Ulman, to guest write. Meg chose to focus on Lucas Ihlein's Environmental Audit, which is a project auditing the exhibition In the Balance: Art for a changing World at the MCA, Sydney. I can unfairly say the Greenwash bar has been lifted. Thanks Meg!

Click for bigger.


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