Building a new climate future from the ground up

Written by by Steve Henn, CNN The last time I did a show for an international event was at the COP16 climate change conference. The year was 2011, and I was one of the…

Building a new climate future from the ground up

Written by by Steve Henn, CNN

The last time I did a show for an international event was at the COP16 climate change conference. The year was 2011, and I was one of the four in-house correspondents for CNN’s live-streamed coverage. One of the most memorable moments was dancing on the balcony of the famous Boiler Room Bistro while presenting an incredibly frantic and chaotic video report on the last day of the conference.

For the second year in a row, the climate talks that took place here in Glasgow this week yielded no visible progress on climate change. At least by international climate standards, there was no verve or enthusiasm to consider new possibilities. However, that was not the case for a thriving group of artists, musicians and designers who came together to make some real, positive, transformative art, which, through digital art, messages and even language, was set to spread across the globe.

These two years marked the first time for a new global platform called #Craft2Climate, which invites artists and designers to unite through new ways of thinking about climate change. According to organizers, “These are artists who dream of a new climate future, and artists who are inspired by it. These are artists who are savvy about the effects climate change has on people and ideas around the world.”

Before setting off to Glasgow I attended the International symposium on the next generation of green development in New York . In it, I participated in two community workshops that brought together a range of diverse participants from various fields, including architects, artists, designers, technologists, rural communities, and environmentalists.

This created an interesting dynamic to the event. Although we had the opportunity to set up some workshops within our own organizations, the community workshop was a very different type of interaction from our normal gatherings and allowed us to make links between our interests and futures in sustainable and resilient urban development.

There were no expectations set on the speakers. Instead, we focused on sparking ideas about ways in which we might work together in the future to promote a future that might at long last respond to the urgency of global climate change.

Yes, the movement made some notable progress over the two days, including getting 2,000 people to show up to join the #Craft2Climate conversation at the gates of #CCC18. What’s more important is that this has become a new space for sharing our ideas, experiences and perspectives.

The primary rationale behind this initiative was to create the space for new ideas and creative thinking from the people around the world.

But making a statement through your art is only a part of the equation. We also felt that we needed to educate, inspire and motivate people.

By considering new ways of thinking about sustainability, one of the fundamental factors is the likelihood that a large amount of action will need to take place at the local level.

So #Craft2Climate asked us to explore how we could help raise awareness in our own communities and create a base for future action.

One of the places I’ve always had trouble locating is Scotland. The country boasts a very rich culture and a rich history of independence from England. It also has a history of progressive politics and a long-standing tradition of environmental activism. However, while Scotland has a long tradition of wanting a greener, more sustainable future, many of its citizens feel disconnected from and afraid of these sorts of ideas.

I hope we can have a positive change of perspective. That is precisely what #Craft2Climate is about. Creating new approaches that create a sense of hope and possibility. And from these new beginnings, a call to action for action.

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