18 Jan 2016
By Olafur Eliasson
One of the great challenges today is that we often feel untouched by the problems of others and by global issues like climate change, even when we could easily do something to help. We do not feel strongly enough that we are part of a global community, part of a larger we. Giving people access to data most often leaves them feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, not empowered and poised for action. This is where art can make a difference. Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.
As an artist I have travelled to many countries around the world over the past 20 years. On one day I may stand in front of an audience of global leaders or exchange thoughts with a foreign minister and discuss the construction of an artwork or exhibition with local craftsmen the next. Working as an artist has brought me into contact with a wealth of outlooks on the world and introduced me to a vast range of truly differing perceptions, felt ideas, and knowledge. Being able to take part in these local and global exchanges has profoundly affected the artworks that I make, driving me to create art that I hope touches people everywhere.
Most of us know the feeling of being moved by a work of art, whether it is a song, a play, Continue reading “Why art has the power to change the world”
Key UN report says limiting temperature rise would require enormous, immediate transformation in human activity
This is not good news but reinforces the idea that to have any chance at survivability at this point, we need to get to below zero as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the world’s leaders have any inclination to do so.
From The Guardian: “A massive, immediate transformation in the way the world’s population generates energy, uses transportation and grows food will be required to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C and the forthcoming analysis is set to lay bare how remote this possibility is.
‘It’s extraordinarily challenging to get to the 1.5C target and we are nowhere near on track to doing that,’ said Drew Shindell, a Duke University climate scientist and a co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which will be unveiled in South Korea next month.
‘While it’s technically possible, it’s extremely improbable, absent a real sea change in the way we evaluate risk. We are nowhere near that.’
Not good. Not good. From the article: for arctic sea ice, “each of the last 12 years have been the lowest 12 years on the satellite record. Some of the thickest, oldest Arctic ice, which is anchored in a compacted mass off the frigid north Greenland shore, broke apart this year. ‘That was oldest, most stable ice in the Arctic,” said Jeremy Mathis, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist. ‘That’s the ice that we thought would hold on the longest. Something happened this year that is incredibly indicative of just how fast the Arctic is changing,’ said Mathis. ‘That could accelerate the timeline for what could be an ice-free Arctic Ocean during the summer months’.”
By Steve Austin
Another article, of which I expect to see a lot more of, in which the emissions truth of concrete – we can no longer use the stuff in a below zero carbon world – is attempted to be balanced by expressions of our absolute need for that very same stuff.
First the setup: “If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world.”
Then the need: “Cement use is set to rise as global urbanization and economic development increases demand for new buildings and infrastructure”
Then the bargaining (with data from the Cement Industry): “Three of these are the strategies previously being pursued by the cement industry to limit emissions, namely, improved energy efficiency, lower-emission fuels and lower clinker ratios.” A fourth strategy is “novel” concrete, playing around with technology. The article doesn’t cover it in much detail, as it offers little chance of scaling.
Finally, the truth- as even the Industry admits: “The roadmap also sets out a “beyond 2C” scenario (B2DS; purple dotted line above), whereby a far higher 60% reduction in emissions would be required. Here, the proportion of total cement CO2 emissions captured by CCS would need to more than double compared to the 2C scenario, up to 63% in 2050, the roadmap says. It notes this ‘will be challenging to achieve’.”
Bottom line: we think we can’t live without concrete, but we can’t live with it either. Quite the conundrum. The solution is for designers to reimagine everything related to design and construction without concrete.
Chris Hedges is one of the few telling us like it is. This interview lays out his analysis of just where the American Empire stands. It is not pretty. But hearing truth is vital if we are to have realistic hope.
Here’s his final take: “One of the great existential crises of our time is to understand how bleak the world is, and resist anyway. But pretending that it’s not bleak feeds the mania for unreal hope that exists within American culture that I don’t share. That’s our exit door—it allows us to find excuses not to react with the militancy that we must embrace if we’re going to ultimately survive. There is a moral dimension to fighting radical evil. Most rebels throughout history do not succeed. But you don’t succeed without them, and the situation truly is hopeless if we do nothing. If we resist we have hope, however marginal and impossible that hope may seem. If we don’t resist, you can’t use the word hope.”
As long as it is not us, right? This is the carnage left after floodwaters from Hurricane Florence receded from I-40 in North Carolina. Interstate highways were not designed to be flooded by any known storm when they were implemented in the mid-20th century. Photo by Jeff Garrett.