Archive for June 5th, 2011

June 5, 2011

Sat June 11 laff riot on climate change, Port Adelaide

This is happening as part of the Adhocracy thing (June 11-13) hosted by Vital Statistix at the Waterside.

Waterside Hall

RIOT has been commissioned by Malthouse Theatre and Tipping Point through the Dara Foundation Climate Change Commission. TORQUE SHOW co-founders (Ross Ganf, Vincent Crowley and Ingrid Weisfelt), with collaborators (Carlie Angel, Daniel Jaber, Ninian Donald, Gabrielle Nankivell, Luke Smiles, Che Biggs and Geoff Cobham) will undertake a creative development of RIOT over three days as part of Adhocracy.

One of the challenges to widespread public engagement with climate change is that it’s largely been a science-led issue. We may accept the lessons of science as truth, but as a truth without meaning. RIOT asks: how can the climate become a protagonist in our life story? How do we reconnect with climate as a template for relating to our world? How do we bring a sense of urgency to a problem that is happening at a rate difficult to perceive in our day-to-day lives? Drawing on ideas that include Alvin Toffler’s prosumer and Augusto Boal’s spect-actor, RIOT explores the immediacy between our actual selves and the chaotic events we are setting into play through climate change.

Exercising the right to protest may be our single most dynamic engagement with democracy and social change in contemporary society. It is a transgression of space from a place of meeting to a point of authority. Using the form of a protest march, to create a work where climate triggers a peaceful protest into a chaotic ‘riot’, RIOT aims for a cyclical feedback loop with an audience, and in doing so, to theatrically create a tipping point in real time.

RIOT carries two very important purposes: to re-ignite protest as a form of political expression for a contemporary society and to arm its participants with a contemporary language through which to protest climate change. The work is conceived as a series of events that occur during a festival. It will have three components to a season: A ticketed physical theatre show; a free large scale climate change protest; and a series of prosumer/user generated interactions with RIOT.

Over Adhocracy, the collaborating artists will explore the choreography and other content of RIOT through investigating motifs and gestures of protest and riots, non-violent protest techniques (the physicality of passive resistance), stylization of how crowds and crowd controllers move when order is lost, flash mob techniques, and how to achieve an expanded contract between audience and performer. The artists will commence with a conversation on climate change amongst the creative team, led by Che Biggs Research Fellow – Distributed Systems and Climate Change Adaptation at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab and director Ross Ganf, which audiences are welcome to observe and participate in.

CREATIVE TEAM: Ross Ganf, Vincent Crowley, Ingrid Weisfelt, Carlie Angel, Daniel Jaber, Ninian Donald, Gabrielle Nankivell, Luke Smiles, Che Biggs and Geoff Cobham

* Climate change conversation (public welcome) at 1pm, Sat June 11 (60mins)
* RIOT showcase and audience experimentation, 3pm, Sun June 12 (80mins)
* RIOT showcase and audience experimentation, 3pm, Mon June 13 (80mins)

*If you plan to participate in the showcases, please where comfortable clothing (no heels!)

June 5, 2011

Zero Carbon Challenge

This text below is cut and pasted from the website of the South Australian Land Management Corporation. (hat-tip to Tim Horton South Australian Commissioner for Integrated Design for the tweet)

LMC, in partnership with the Integrated Design Commission (IDC), is challenging the development industry to aim for zero carbon, in an exciting new competition that could offer a glimpse into the future of housing in South Australia.

The Zero Carbon Challenge aims to engage the architectural, development and construction industries to submit a design, and for the winning team to construct a ‘zero carbon’ house at Lot 61, Lochiel Park.

Submissions are sought from interested people, professionals and consortia, and each team must contain an architect, an engineer and a student. The brief is to design a three bedroom home, considering the embodied and operating energy that minimises the impact for the life of the building (50 years).

The project will consist of two entry stages.
1. Call for Expressions of Interest – click the link on the right of the page for further information.
2. From these, up to five teams will be selected to take the project to full design/documentation stage. Each of these teams will be given $10,000 to cover their costs of preparing design submissions.

An information session has been organised for anyone interested in participating in the Zero Carbon Challenge. The event will take place at the Sebel Playford Hotel on North Terrace, Adelaide from 2-4 pm on Wednesday, 15 June 2011. For further information or to book a place at the session please contact Cristina Guglielmini on (08) 8207 1352.

While this is great, I’m kinda hoping most time, money and intelligence is going into retrofitting technologies, since housing stock has a very very slow turn-over. Most of the houses people will be living in in the year 2050 have already been built…

June 5, 2011

“Say Yes” rally June 5 – analysis and ideas

We demand innovation of businesses.
We demand courage of our politicians.
We demand of ourselves… not so much.

First, let me say this: I’m glad the “Say Yes” rally in Adelaide happened, and the organisers deserve applause and thanks. They didn’t have a lot of time or money, and they pulled it off.

Opportunities like today – a chance to see that plenty of other people are concerned (despite what you’d believe if you thought the Murdoch press reflected reality) – are valuable. We need occasionally to go to the well to refill the leaky bucket of optimism and passion for climate action.

The event was short, sweet and.. not enough.

We have been doing rallies like this – on various issues be it (pro-peace, pro-tolerance, pro-planet) – for a long time. If they worked to build a movement that grew, learned, organised and won, then, well, we would Be “There” by now. But we’re not. (Footnote 1)

The rally followed an entirely predictable format. After some music, there was an entirely competent introduction, followed by three speeches of variable audibility and interest. [For what little it is worth, here’s the speech I would have given.] Nobody said anything that the people attending didn’t already know or agree with. People had no opportunity to communicate what they didn’t know, what they thought could be done, what they wanted to happen next with the campaign for a climate safe Australia (which is a much bigger issue than just a carbon tax/emissions trading scheme)

So here are some questions

Why gather 2000 people who have knowledge, ideas, passion and commitment and have them listen to 30 minutes of music and 30 minutes of speeches telling them what they already know

Why gather 2000 people and disempower them by having them listen for an hour, as if they are simply empty vessels to be filled? Or sheep to be shepherded? I am sure that the organisers do not think that, but their actions create that impression. I looked at the faces of people during the speeches, and many seemed bored and irritated. That’s not the way to enthuse and engage and encourage.

How many of those who attended the rally will be able to tell a mildly skeptical friend or neighbour “yeah, it was exciting and inspiring, you should come next time.” (That, to me, is a key definition of success.)

Why not give permission to people to mingle and meet with those stood around them. How else are we to create the loose networks of people across the city?

Why not structure some of the hour so that all the people who are teachers, or health care professionals or students could gather in different parts of the park, just to exchange names and details.

Why not structure some of the hour so that people from different parts of the city could mingle based on where they live. For example, when I was walking down my street about to start putting the “conversation” letters in post-boxes, I met someone who had also been at the rally, and we had a really useful conversation. That was a happy accident. The organisers of the rally could have created many more of those happy accidents.

Why not have a a space after the rally where people who have questions about the science of climate change could talk with experts face to face, and get impromptu lessons. It would make people feel more confident in their (inevitable) dealings with the small number of vocal denialists. It would give the experts valuable experience.

Why not have a “suggestions box” so that people can submit their contact details and ideas for what the movement could be doing to improve its power?”

Why not have an agreed post-rally meeting place for those who want to talk more over a coffee or a sandwich?

Why not have a “video booth” where people can record brief comments that could then be posted on youtube, showing just how many people outside the “latte-drinking inner-city professionals” demographic want action.

So, it’s good that the rally happened. But if we keep on as we have been keeping on these last 30 years or more, then we are not going to “win”

Next up – an analysis piece on the Dangers Ahead… (betcha can’t wait).

If you’re really time-rich with a high tolerance for shockingly clumsy graphics, see these videos
From Cannon-Fodder to Ego Fodder

Meetings from Above

Footnote 1: For good (IMHO) analyses of the state of the Australian climate movement, see these two recently articles.
The first is from the latest “Chain Reaction,” by Holly Creenaune, a member of Friends of the Earth Sydney.

In part she writes

“Bad policy aside, it’s the debate – or lack of it – that is the real problem. The public cannot participate in a discussion about a perfect price or the market that could work magic: the debate is inaccessible, ignores concerns about justice, and is not relevant to our daily lives. We’ve been stuck for decades in a media and policy vacuum of neoliberal market mechanisms and a contest over complex science. Real solutions, community voices, or the elephant in the room – our coal exports – are locked out. It suits government and industry to keep the debate on this limited terrain – but we desperately need to build a message and a movement that can reject false solutions like carbon trading, halt privatisation of energy infrastructure, and put forward new ideas.”

The second is by Anna Rose, one of the founders of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (a more mainstream lobbying outfit – sort of like “Stop Climate Chaos,” only effective.)

“But the time has come to be honest. We are failing because as a whole the Australian environment movement does not understand power, has not built power, and has failed to effectively exercise the power we have built.
“To win campaigns we have to make it harder for those in power to continue with business as usual than it is for them to give into our demands. Yet currently, it’s easier or politicians to continue with business as usual, and to give in to the demands of industry lobbyists from the coal, gas, mining, aluminium, cement and electricity generation industries — everyone, that is, except us.”

June 5, 2011

Youtube- On the absence of debate between scientists and skeptics

Will Steffen and Lesley Hughes of the Climate Commission on
“Why does there appear to be no public debate between IPCC experts and the alternate sceptic view?”

June 5, 2011

“Say Yes” rally June 5 – factual report

This is a factual report of the rally today. An analysis piece will be posted shortly. (Betcha can’t wait!) (Here it is.)

Around 2000 people gathered in Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga this morning for a pro-carbon tax rally organised by “Say Yes Australia.” Similar rallies have been held in capital cities around Australia, as part of an effort by the coalition of environmental groups and unions to put pressure on the Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change. The committee is currently deliberating over legislation that will create a ‘price on pollution.’

After a twenty minute set by the “Bearded Gypsy Band”, Catherine Zengerer of Radio Adelaide opened the event. A “welcome to country” was made by a young woman, called Jessie, on behalf of the Kaurna people.
Three speakers then took to the platform– David Brewer, an organic farmer, explained the consequences of a changing climate for farmers, and sad that a carbon tax would force businesses to take the necessary action.
A 17 year old Australian Youth Climate Coalition called Yen [sorry, didn’t catch surname. Edit 5/6/11 – Phan] reflected on the previous two years of climate (in)action at the Federal level. John Connor of The Climate Institute then took the stage, saying that the coming weeks, while the MPCCC deliberated, were crucial. He stated that there was struggle going on between those who wanted action and “the Captains of Industry, who like not paying a price for pollution”, those who reject the consensus of climate science, those who will use a carbon price as a scapegoat for the increases in electricity prices and difficulties that manufacturing is facing due to a strong dollar. He also singled out business and media for running a fear campaign . He encouraged people to take pre-formatted letters from stewards and distribute them to their neighbors, as part of a campaign to have “A million conversations” about the need for a price on pollution in the coming weeks.
Catherine Zengerer then closed the speech portion of the rally with news that 10,000 people had attended rallies in Sydney and Melbourne, with 3000 in Hobart. People mingled and dispersed to a final further set by the Bearded Gypsy Band.

Although there were several “No to Carbon Tax” people present, there were no altercations for the Murdoch media to report. They’ll just have to do what they always do – make stuff up…