What Next? Climate meeting – September summary

Above – Ella Saltmarshe of Long Time Project at WN? September 2019 Meeting

The What Next? Climate Change sub group meets quarterly and exists to strengthen the role of the arts in taking action on the climate and ecological crisis.

On the 19th September 2019, a day before the global Climate Strikes began, a packed room of 40 people from across the arts, culture and climate sector filled the room at Artsadmin, London. We heard of the strike plans by Culture Declares Emergency, Music Declares Emergency, Rally for the Imagination, the Advertising Agency’s Create and Strike campaign, – all coalescing around the 20th and 27th September Global Climate Strikes.

The event was headlined by three fantastic speakers:

  • Ella Saltmarshe from the Long Time Project about how art and culture can help us take long term perspectives and climate action by situating ourselves in deep time.
  • Ian Solomon-Kawall talked about his wonderful project, South London’s Hip Hop Gardens and why permaculture needs to be embedded in ground up thinking around our future.
  • Dave Fuller of Repowering London shared inspiring stories of community owned power and highlighting that technology is not just a quick fix but needs to link to behaviour change by engaging local people.

Ella Saltmarshe, Long Time Project asks – How can we be good ancestors?

Humans are not built to think about long term future. How can arts and culture fill the gap? The Long Time Project exists to help interrogate and break cycle of short-termism. We must change mindsets, urgently.

Why now? Over the last 100 years as a species we have developed the means to annihilate ourselves – through environmental damage, biological and nuclear warfare – and it happened so fast haven’t developed mechanisms to cope with risk we face.

How can art & culture help us fill this gap to long-term thinking and start thinking inter-generationally. I.e. thinking about such initiatives as the proposed Parliamentry Ombudsman for Future Generations. We must break vicious circle of short-termism – and as world gets more chaotic, we actually get more blinkered and short-term decision based so this process is speeding up.

We must ask ourselves “what does it mean to be a good ancestor?”

Role of culture & narrative is vital in systems change. What are the foundational narratives that animate our societies? E.g. Time. We need to write and imagine ‘a longer now.’ through stories, through art.

This isn’t about scenario-planning, but about enabling people to care/emotionally engage with the future – To care about the future you don’t necessarily have. To think selflessly for future generations- this approach is vital and about deep time/past can help you think differently, by situating yourself in a much bigger picture.

A long-term mindset situating us in ‘deep time’ helps us to relate to the future differently, to enable genuine intergenerational care and interconnectedness- with other species- understand our place in the web of life. Give platforms to work that fit into these themes. E.g. BBC Futures and Factory for the future

Dave Fuller, Repowering London- Putting people at the heart of the energy system

Since 2011, Repowering London has empowered communities to fund, install and manage their own clean, local energy. They believe that putting people at the heart of the energy system is key for fighting the climate emergency, building resilient communities and promoting technological innovation.

Repowering projects generate a Community Fund that ensures profits are locked into the locality of our projects. The income is generated over the life of the project and members have the option of donating their interest to help support local activities. Each energy co-op decides how their community fund is distributed, creating community solutions to local problems. Funds have been used to:Install energy efficiency measures for people living in fuel poverty; Train volunteers to complete energy audits, saving neighbours energy and money; Support youth training activities; Help to develop new energy co-ops

Repowering youth training programme – London Living Wage paid programme for 16-19 year olds who get AQA certificates, experience on setting up business, in renewable energy and social enterprise. This work can have immediate and lasting impact. It provides these young people with paid work experience in sectors they are interested in.

Repowering have projects in Brixton – fuel poverty initiatives- advising people and training residents on energy efficiency, Youth Work in Hackney, Air pollution projects across North Kensington – lobbying TFL and looking at car reduction projects

One member one vote rule at AGMs (regardless of level of investment). Now have investor members and voter members (who just have to live on the estate and pay £1 to join).

Lambeth Community Solar is a borough-wide initiative to install solar panels on schools and community buildings across Lambeth. They are installing 145.31 kWp of solar panels on the Elmgreen and Norwood schools. The solar panels will save 31 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year while supplying the schools with clean, green electricity at a discounted price.

To purchase and install the solar panels they are raising £137,000 through a community share offer. Minimum investment is £100.

Ian Solomon-Kawall – “It all starts with nature’

The Hip Hop Gardens (May Project Gardens) in South London brings together urban and natural world in a programme with a focus on social entrepreneurism and wellbeing. Its aim is to reconnect urban communities with nature for social and environmental transformation.

Don’t think you’re on the right track just because you’re on the right path. E.g. be mindful gender pay gap. Need to change our thinking- and constantly interrogate where we are.

Permaculture- can be applied at so many different levels and much of this knowledge comes from indigenous communities and cultures- which isn’t brought to the fore very often. We must value diversity and marginalised communities.

We offer three main programmes, or elements. The first main one is Hip Hop Garden, and the second is ‘Come We Grow’ event; where we showcase environmentally aware artists and embark with holistic activities. The Third is the Open Days which have been running since the inception.

Long term effect- music scene grows to be ever more bio-diverse in itself.

Read more about the brilliant work Ian does in our recent blog


Vacancies from LADA (Live Art Development Agency)

Three exciting new job opportunities;

  • Finance & Management, 4 days per week
  • Communications & PR, 4 days per week
  • Digital Resources & Projects, 2 days per week

Deadline for applications: 12 Noon, Monday 21 October, 2019. FULL INFO HERE