Age of Consequences

The Age of Consequences: the nexus of climate and conflict

The Age of Consequences is a documentary film exploring how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict. The film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as ‘accelerants of instability’ and ‘catalysts for conflict’, with grave implications for peace and security in the 21st century

The film is being shown in Australia as part of the Transitions Film Festival. Green Agenda editor, Clare Ozich, spoke to the film’s writer, director and producer, Jarad Scott, about the rationale behind making a climate film focused on security, the concept of interconnectedness that is central to the film, and making documentaries in the time of Trump.

Green Agenda also spoke to Jarad last year about his film, Requiem for the American Dream, featuring Noam Chomsky on the principles of concentration of wealth and power. A film (and an interview) that now provides a useful background to the conditions leading to the Trump Presidency.

 

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World in Transition

The world is rapidly changing around us. It always has done. Change is one thing that is constant.

Although with global warming, rising sea levels, growing inequality, the digital revolution there is force behind the notion that we are living through a period of significant transition – both a time of fear and opportunity.

Transitions happen at a global, community and personal level. They can make the world, societies, the land and environment along with people healthier, happier and more sustainable. Or they can move us towards an ugly society and barren world.

A film festival occurring in Melbourne and Adelaide is dedicated to exploring the idea of transitions in the world through documentaries. Continue reading →

Response by Russell Edwards to “It’s the culture, stupid!”

Tim Hollo’s essay was a delight to find. What a relief to see such important truths voiced in a prominent arena. To point out that the cause of the ecological crisis is culture, not choices; that the crisis will only be averted by undermining and ultimately replacing the dominant culture; that making a tactical choice to endorse the existing culture, in any instance, harms the crucial long-term project of deep cultural change; that among the most damaging aspects of existing culture are its tendencies towards hyper-individualist self-maximising dominion; that this culture is actively created and maintained by those who benefit from it, by marketing and political messaging — these are insights that ecologically aware people commonly hold. But, especially in this era of so-called pragmatism, rarely are they set out explicitly and systematically, as Tim has done. Hopefully Tim’s essay can serve as a reminder for the green movement to step back from time to time and refocus on our underlying task. Continue reading →

Response by David Holyoake to “It’s the culture, stupid!”

While not a direct response to Tim’s essay, the following article from David Holyoake, from a new UK arts activist collective, Forever Swarm, explores similar themes from a UK perspective. The article was first published in Voices, Global Call for Climate Action 7 April 2015.

Arts and culture – the missing link to winning the climate fight  Continue reading →

Response by Melanie Lowe to “The oldest game in town”

In his essay ‘The Oldest Game in Town’ Senator Scott Ludlam eloquently describes cities as complex systems that are dependent on the natural environment. He argues for the need for systemic change to our cities, re-orienting them towards more environmentally sustainable forms of infrastructure and economic activity. Senator Ludlam points towards the benefits this could have for the liveability of urban environments and the lifestyles of residents. Continue reading →

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It’s the culture, stupid!

Culture is a wonderful word, isn’t it? It’s one of those words which means different things to different people and in different contexts, from opera to the microbes that turn milk into yoghurt.

For our purposes, the relevant definition from the Oxford English Dictionary is “[t]he ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”. American artistic activist Arlene Goldbard defines it more poetically as “the fabric of signs and symbols, customs and ceremonies, habitations, institutions, and much more that characterize and enable a specific human community to form and sustain itself.” Continue reading →

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The oldest game in town

Scott Ludlam explores the current nature of our cities and provides a hopeful outlook for their future in “The oldest game in town”. This essay is the second of a series, the first of which, “Checkmate”, grapples with the implications of a never-ending growth economy. A short introduction from the Editors to “the oldest game in town” can be found here.

Take a short walk from our main railway station and you’ll pass into the Perth Cultural Centre, a space that for a fair while existed as an angular brick quadrangle linking the state library, museum and contemporary arts institute with the cheerful jumble of the Northbridge entertainment district. A few years ago the City commissioned an unusual transformation off to one side of this place: the sharp geometry of a bleak modernist pond was broken up and planted in with native reeds and paperbarks growing out between worn granite boulders. On a warm night after the rain, you’ll see members of the local frog community checking each other out on the margins of this re-imagined wetland. Even as the bustle of evening commuters flows past in a blur of conversation and studied attention to mobile devices, this place has a meditative quality to it. Pause here, briefly, and the city’s forgotten geography of seasonal lakes can be brought back into memory, even if you can’t recall their ancient names just yet. Continue reading →

Response by James Clark to ‘What does it mean to change everything?’

In September 2013, Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein stood on stage at a conference of one of Canada’s largest unions to deliver a historic speech. The speech, Why Unions Need to Join the Climate Fight, was a call to action for the union movement to break free of their issue and industry silos and use their size and power to dream big and make big demands. The speech was made more remarkable by the fact her audience represented energy, forestry and auto workers, not an audience typically associated with climate activism. Continue reading →