I've been wondering recently about the root cause of change. Not like restructures and such but good change. One of the most frustrating things about us humans is our capacity to know the damaging effects of our behavior yet doing nothing to change it. Let's take the environment vs my own lazy behavior. I know I shouldn't use single-use plastics.I know I shouldn't use throwaway takeaway coffee cups. Not only that I shouldn't but I have no need for either of these things. They add no value to my life and I loose no time or convenience by the loss of their existence in my life. Intellectually I KNOW the damaging effects of these materials on the environment. And yet. So, yes, how do we enable change? I'm not so sure it's about intellect or rationality. I mean, that hasn't really helped so far. I think it's about emotion....
1. The catalyst for this Fast Five is the documentary Mission Blue (currently on Netflix for those who haven't seen it). The documentary follows the career of the incredible Oceanographer, Sylvia Earle. Her life's work (she's still going) is to relentlessly draw attention to the ocean: the spell-binding beauty and wonder, the cacophony of life it contains beneath its glassy surface and the interconnection of all life and natural systems on our planet - eg that our actions have an impact. We've all seen the devastation of the oceans coral - the once colourful and vibrant reefs turned to lifeless beige. It's shocking. And yet we continue unchecked. The night I watched Mission Blue, the Morrinsville "farmer's protest" surrounding Labour and the Green's water and pollution taxes. We KNOW what intensive farming is doing to our environment. There's no question. And yet.
2. A lovely little article by Rebecca Kwok on Iceland's Forgotten Fisherwomen. It's interesting not just for its historical explorationand inquiry but because it perhaps reminds us of an old deep connection and dependence on the environment. It perhaps reminds of a time when we understood that connection. Perhaps to a time when we understood that we were very little without it.
3. Understanding that interdependence is key. Maybe the answer lies in that oh so buzz-wordy buzzword - interdisciplinary research. I recently stumbled onto Duke University's online journal, Environmental Humanities via this somewhat indecipherable but nonetheless fascinating read about the importance of Pope Francis 2015 environmentally focused encyclical, 'Laudato si': On care for our common home' where he quite radically highlighted that interdependence:
“A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”
4. What about museums? Often our collections span human, social, natural histories - we are ripe for cross disciplinary inquiry. Going down this rabbit hole, I came across a conference to be held in Denmark this coming January - “Remaking the Museum: Curation, Conservation, and Care in Times of Ecological Upheaval.”
"In this time of entangled social and environmental crisis, the need to not only reimagine but remake the museum has acquired new urgency. In response, this two-day conference will bring together leading scholars and practitioners to investigate the opportunities, challenges, and limits of the museum as a catalyst for social change in this geological epoch of our making: the Anthropocene."
*for those like me who had never heard the word "anthropocene" before, it means: "The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change."
5. To end on a cool, museum note, it was lovely to read about Te Papa's plans to become New Zealand's bigest solar farms by placing solar panels on the building's roof (with props to Auckland Museum for blazing that trail a few years ago).
On that note, I'm off to Northland for the weekend. Seems appropriate to leave this soul-lifting favourite, "I'm just an animal looking for a home and share the same space for a minute or two..."