“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced… to at most 350 ppm.” – Dr. James Hansen, NASA climate scientist
Today CO2 registers at 400 parts per million in our atmosphere, and industrial civilisation contributes another 2 ppm annually – dangerously high levels that risk triggering irreversible climate change impacts. (http://350.org/about/science/ ) Simultaneously, ecocide is endemic across our planet; the UN Environment Programme estimates 150-200 species go extinct every year. And scientists suggest we have 10 years to secure a viable future for biodiversity and our children.
This issue highlights a variety of artistic responses. Internationally acclaimed artists Ackroyd & Harvey explain how their work often evolves through collaborations with scientists. Melissa Tuckey discusses socially engaged poetry in the US; plus I explore David Cooper’s surrealist painting; ecologically engaged British theatre; and through my poem ‘Earth Justice’, the mock ecocide trial held at London’s Supreme Court in 2011, initiated by Polly Higgins (http://eradicatingecocide.com/ ).
Ineffective government action and the unchecked power of corporations to continue their devastating search for fossil fuels and minerals inevitably add a political dimension. This issue features art activism responding to a range of environmental issues; and I review ‘Disobedient Objects’, an exhibition of ‘tools of social change’ at London’s V&A.
“Whatever you love, it is under assault. But love is a verb. We have to let that love call us to action. That isn’t what love demands; that is what love is.” Lierre Keith
Liberal environmentalists traditionally rely on education to initiate social change, but radical thinkers such as Lierre Keith challenge this approach. So what are the alternatives? How have other movements been successful in the past?
In addition, Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture Magazine, uncovers contemporary heresies that require transformation; and Dr. Jamie Vishwam Heckert talks about the inner freedom he’s discovering to tackle structures of domination.