It was heartening to re-read Cathy Fitzgerald
's Art and Ecology notebook blog post
on Culture|Futures. Cathy is clearly an advocate for the culture sector to fully take on the role of catalyst towards a Ecological Age. Cathy's article is also a call to action to friends in Ireland: "I believe many in the Irish culture sector are not engaged with ecological issues let alone climate change due mainly to it being little understood, and hence less prioritised, by Ireland’s leaders and media."
I found some interesting resources for Ireland's position on climate change on the Irish Environmental Protection Agency website
, such as this video
from 2008 and a couple of episodes from the 'Eco Eye' TV series
which are pretty basic and aimed at those without much of a clue about climate change. The context of these videos looks dated in the face of global recession:"we are now wealthy, a model for new European countries to aspire to"
but it's a fair effort in terms of raising awareness.
Ireland is not unique in this lack of engagement. The C|F community are an international crowd and we are all responsible for moving the agenda swiftly from raising awareness (yawn) to action.
There are differing schools of thought when it comes to action: what if we get it wrong? What if there are unintended consequences to our well-meaning actions? (E.g. will "visionary" cars that run on hydrogen
and only produce water vapour not have negative climate change impacts? Water vapour is the world's most potent greenhouse gas, contributing 36-72%
to the "greenhouse effect" However, I'm sure those clever car manufacturers are on the case...(!))
The fact is that we simply don't know what the consequences of our actions will be. As my recent video post
shows, the consequences of inaction are far greater and more severe than the cost of acting
I personally am a fan of the more forgiving 'fail fast' concept that has been circulating on the sustainability scene for a while. Failing fast means that if we screw up, we should take responsibility and swiftly change the course of action but most importantly, let people know about the failure. That way, others in different parts of the world can learn from our mistakes, and we can collectively learn much faster.
I believe that taking some action with good intentions and as much information as we can get our hands on is the way forward. If we wait to long, it may be too late.
So what can we do? I'm all about solutions rather than griping about problems. Back to Cathy: "I am also interested in using film to convey personal stories of small backyard environmental actions in response to global ecological concerns."
Not only is Cathy producing her own multi-media work and engaged with C|F and other culture / climate change communities as an artist, but she is also part of the Transition Town movement for Ireland and Northern Ireland, has a keen interest in sustainable forests and is the Director of ArtL!nks, an organisation connecting arts communities in South-East Ireland. All very inspiring. Keep up the good work, Cathy!