There’s a paper making its way around called Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, written by Jim Bendell, Phd professor and founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability. I recommend giving it a read when you can. It’s sobering, useful, and very relevant.
While I’ve been thinking about climate change since I was in high school (back when many people were calling it global warming), I have always been in the camp of optimism — having faith in progress, human ingenuity, technology, and spiritual evolution. Well after reading this paper, I’m inspired to take an honest look at the difference between a helpful kind of faith and one of the many forms denial takes. However I’ll admit, my to-a-fault-die-hard-optimist is still leaving a little room open for an ultimate eureka moment resulting in a plot twist to the whole end of the world narrative. Or, the world only ending as we know it, and something else, some-reality, some-experience, some-state totally inconceivable to us now lies beyond it. Obviously, who really knows. All we know is that right now, with the information and data in front us, as Bendell puts it in his paper, it “indicates a near term social collapse” and that “it’s time we consider the implications of it being too late to avert a global environmental catastrophe in the lifetimes of people alive today.”
So this blog post (first one!) is really about ART - making art, sharing art, witnessing art. Climate change is real and urgent AF and there’s a ton of material and resources out there on it, what to do from here, and what Jem Bendell means by “deep adaptation.” The one thing I want to focus on in this post is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when creating a climate action plan, but it’s incredibly important.
I’ve asked myself the completely hypothetical question - what would I do if the world was “perfect”? If there were no demonstrations to attend, no grassroots non-profits to work for, no policy changes to fight for, the air and water were healthy for centuries to come, somehow war no longer exists, and true social justice and harmony was here. Other than spending time with loved ones, what would I want to be doing with my time? I would want to make art.
What about you?
It works the other way too. When we as individuals and as a species are, for the first time ever, aware of our own collapse and possible extinction - what do we value in this human life? Sincerely contemplating death and impermanence, especially on a global scale, can open up new ways of living.
Here’s a quick list of why art is a gift to not forget about:
Art is what we are here for! Art forms of any kind. Creating is our birthright. Sharing our creations is our birthright. Experiencing beauty, complexity, innovation, brilliance, is our birthright.
Art can be used as powerful tool for social and environmental awakening.
Art brings us together. Tells the story. Ask yourself: how much culture are you consuming vs. how much culture you are creating?
Making art is a profound act of resilience in the face of tragedy
Art is a privilege. If you have that privilege, celebrate it and use it!
Lastly, art transcends meaning. It doesn’t necessarily have to “make sense.” It doesn’t have to subscribe to linear thinking or any logical understanding of the world. It exists because it does and it can. Therefore, and paradoxically, art is deeply meaningful.
In a time of great uncertainty and instability - there is no better time than now to take advantage of your ability to make art, and be moved by it.
Whatever that means to you.
Thanks for reading. If you have art you want to share in the comments, please do!