All Hands on Deck, Laura Sindell

Saving the Planet One Action at a Time
Curator/organizer perspective #2

There was a sticker in the ’80s on the refrigerator at Woody Creek Tavern in Aspen, CO, former haunt of Hunter S. Thompson. It read “This planet’s history. Let’s party.” At the time, this dystopian message didn’t overwhelm- it was a political jab, a nihilistic joke. Nowadays, it wouldn’t even stand out among the end-of-the-world scenarios being produced on film and video games for our entertainment. There is a growing ennui offered for people across the globe to simply accept (or deny) an inevitable apocalypse.

It should be no longer possible to ignore the basic scientific facts, as first hand and through the media we’re witnessing evidence of sea change and rising temperatures, widespread extinction of species, drought, floods, shortages of fresh water, crop failure, war.

What can be done to change the outcome of our planet in crisis?

First of all, a milestone has been reached in the scientific community. Geophysicist Brad Werner, professor at UCSD, presented a talk to 20,000 scientists at the American Geophysical Union’s 2012 fall meeting, titled “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism.” He has asked other scientists to join him in going beyond the laboratory to demonstrate in the streets.
“Environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades, and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups, …….pushes for changes in the dominant culture that favor transition to a stable, sustainable attractor.”

What can artists do? It is possible for art to change the course of history at this moment. Art can give life to the facts, making the issues tangible. Art engages the senses. Art targets beyond the rational brain to reach the emotions, to help us understand the complexities of our lives. Art can engage, shock, dispel, question, revolutionize, turn the status quo upside down.  (click to read more)

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