How can Art and Design help in Sustainable Development?

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

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17 Solutions

The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra, Paraguay

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 25 Aug, 2018

Music Out of Trash - The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra, Paraguay: Favio Chavez came up with a project to create musical instruments using waste as raw material. Large landfills provide the waste material to make those instruments.

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Vertical Garden from Soda Bottles, Brazil

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 25 Aug, 2018

Rosenbaum’s Vertical Garden is made out of hundreds of recycled soda bottles. The bottles are suspended on the wall of a walkway outside the home and contain edible plants like lettuce and herbs so the family can grow their own organic vegetables.

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Hip Hop Environmentalism by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 23 Aug, 2018

The young American activist is the youth director of an organization called Earth Guardians, which aims to inspire a global youth movement to fight climate change. He has sued the United States government for a lack of action climate change, and been awarded a community service award by former President Obama. He’s also a hip-hop artist: His song “Speak for the Trees” was chosen as the theme song for the 2015 climate conference in Paris.

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Houses made from plastic bottles

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 21 Aug, 2018

These houses are bulletproof, fireproof, and can withstand earthquakes. They also maintain a comfortable temperature, produce zero carbon emissions, and are powered by solar and methane gas from recycled waste. By filling the bottles with sand, then binding them together with mud and cement, strong, solid walls are formed. They can be used to make homes up to three stories, using over 14,000 bottles! With over three million such bottles thrown away every day in Nigeria (and 130 million per day in the U.S.), there is an abundance of building material available for these thrifty builders. 

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Ten Billion - A Play

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 20 Aug, 2018

Ten Billion was not a conventional play. It took the form of a lecture on the realities of climate change delivered by Cambridge scientist Stephen Emmott, advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. His premise is this: 200 years ago, the world's population was one billion. Fifty years ago it was three billion. Now, it's seven. Where will we be by the end of the century?

Speaking in a replica science lab, with nothing more complicated than graphs and diagrams on an overhead projector (a deceptively simple production by his collaborator, director Katie Mitchell), Emmott demonstrates that demand for food will at least double by 2050 – though there's no land left to grow it on except desert and equatorial rainforest. Food production is in decline – and yet at least another three billion people will need to eat, and be housed.

Our grandchildren will either be starving, rioting for food, or among the millions of climate-migrants forced to flee their homes after they're flooded. And as if we needed another thing to panic about, the amount we're travelling makes more global pandemics likely. What are we doing about all this? Nowhere near enough.

Ten Billion is packed with terrifying facts. It takes 3,000 litres of water to make every Big Mac. It uses as much energy to do a single Google search as it does to make a cup of tea. In an utterly compelling hour, Stephen delivers the necessary information in one urgent sweep.

Going veggie isn't enough. Never buying a car, iPod, or cotton T-shirt again, or eating anything imported, might help – but only if everyone got on board. We should be stopping our addiction to fossil fuels, starting a mass-desalination programme, building green energy power points on every strip of land, harnessing every scrap of wind, and every turn of the tide, to help us out of this hole. But we're not. The only response can be a feeling of mortal dread.

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Design for Social Impact exhibition by InReality, Atlanta – Georgia

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

‘Design for Social Impact’, by InReality at Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) told the story of 24 projects that are aiding and improving lives of thousands of people around the world. A mixture of sight-specific installations, interactive displays and digital touchpoints help educate visitors about using design to overcome tremendous adversity and create positive change in the world. The exhibition was divided into six categories (Education, Power, Healthcare, Food & Water, Community and Shelter).

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Ananya Chatterjea links dance with social awareness

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

Ananya Chatterjea is the founder and artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre; her dance company uses its performances to raise awareness around issues such as environmental racism, violence against women, and the ravages of unrestrained capitalism. 

Every dancer does research into that concert's given subject, watches documentaries, collaborates with community activists, and write creative responses to what they've learned, all to help them embody the emotions of the story on stage. A performance called "Moreechika: Season of Mirage," deals with impact of oil drilling, both on communities and on the environment. One of the dances in Moreechika is inspired by the explosions of gas pipelines in Nigeria, another by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its effect on wildlife. A third dance examines how the pursuit of beauty leads women around the world to contaminate their bodies with toxins found in cosmetics made with petroleum products. The Bhopal Disaster is referenced in the work, along with the familiar human costs and crime associated with the new oil boom in the Dakotas.

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Arts Catalyst

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

Through its continuous work with artists, scientists, communities and interest groups, Arts Catalyst commissions and produces large-scale projects, artworks, and exhibitions that connect with other fields of knowledge, expanding artistic practice into domains commonly associated with science and specialist research. They also commission research and are great advocates for cross-disciplinary thinking and working. They have worked with some of the biggest names out there (like Tomas Saraceno or Jan Fabre) and their list of collaborators is as extensive as it is impressive.

"Arts Catalyst promotes new artistic practices, ideas, and ways of inquiring into the world. We work with artists, scientists, and people from myriad backgrounds and perspectives to create imaginative, inspiring, engaging projects addressing important issues of our time, from extractive capitalism and climate change, to histories and representations of race and migration’."—Nicola Triscott, CEO/Artistic Director

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Scottish Sculpture Workshop

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

Scottish Sculpture Workshop (located in the foothills of the Grampian Mountains, in the rural village of Lumsden) promotes a dialogue that considers the place of this rural locale within a globalised society. They are an active bunch, organising residencies, Reading Groups, talks and lots of courses, including woodworking and ceramics. (Check out their open call with DIY, an opportunity for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run unusual training and professional development projects for other artists.)

"Environment is deeply rooted across all our thinking, work and partnerships. We approach this not as a single issue but as part of the complex web of ecological, social, historical, economic, and political phenomena. Through networks such as Frontiers In Retreat we aim to be part of the global cultural shift that moves away from exploitative and extractive relationships with nature and instead work with artists to imagine, inspire and ignite new ways of being in the world."—Sam Trotman

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The Morning Boat

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

The Morning Boat (Jersey, Channel Islands, UK) is a program of public art projects, exploring and reflecting on agricultural and fishing practices in Jersey and the impact these have on people’s lives. At the centre of the program is an international artist residency, inviting artists from around the world to collaborate with local farmers, fishermen, politicians, chefs, retailers and consumers, to encourage public discourse on complex critical issues that are central to the island’s economy, social fabric and way of life. Projects aim to be catalysts for positive change and cultural shifts, promoting best practice and creating new infrastructures. They negotiate social, political and environmental challenges, to encourage a more responsible and sustainable way of living and consuming.

"On a small compact island, in which the urban, suburban and rural, merge, overlap and rub together, the production processes behind our consumption (and comparative wealth) are strikingly evident and immediate. Within this revealing landscape, the local and global are entwined together, as local industries facilitate, influence and respond to international developments. Despite this microcosm, or perhaps because of it, there seems to be a lack of sustained public debate regarding the practices and accountability of island industries and a defensive attitude towards critical voices that interrogate the status quo. The local phrase, “if you don’t like it, there’s a boat in the morning,” encapsulates this attitude, a mindset that holds back progress and the ability to creatively reimagine the way we do things."—Kaspar Wimberley

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Deveron Projects

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

“The town is the venue” describes the framework of Deveron Projects’ work, as they  inhabit, explore, map and activate the place through artist-driven projects. These projects may cover a variety of topics from employment to health, from ecology to architecture, from history to spirituality, and from migration to being local. They bring together people from all walks of life through public gatherings, symposium, forums, workshops, farmers markets, seasonal cafés, music events, street festivals, slow marathons, gardening sessions, traditional ceilidhs, internet conferences and Friday lunches. The 50/50 principle is their guideline for a socially engaged work practice: balancing artistic endeavour with everyday life.

"Our town, like many rural places is facing the signs of globalisation with shops, banks, services closing. We need to join forces and think of responses for creative regeneration."—Claudia Zeiske

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ONCA

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

Onca, a gallery and performance space in Brighton, is art space dedicated to performance and storytelling about issues that affect animals.

It has an interesting founding story. It has to do with ONCA founder Laura Coleman meeting a puma in Bolivia. She connected with the puma, who had been a pet until it came to the refuge where Coleman met it when it was ten months-old. The puma, called Wayra, was terrified of the jungle. Over the years, Laura developed a friendship with Wayra, learning more from this cat about trust, patience and love. In 2011, Laura came back to the UK wanting to find a way to tell Wayra’s story, intertwined with the stories of all the other animals (human and non-human) she met in the jungle. 

"We work really hard at ONCA to provide a space, and a support network, for artists, young people and the general public to explore, question and creatively reimagine the world. We ask ourselves, how do we “stay with” social and environmental justice, in all their entanglements? How can art, and art spaces, contribute towards better nows, and better futures, for all?"—Laura Coleman

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Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

Now part of a family of art and ecology organizations, which includes art.earth at Dartington Hall in Devon, CCANW is an educational charity which brings together curators, artists and researchers to give people a deeper understanding of their responsibilities within nature. Its Soil Culture project (2013-16), organized collaboratively with Falmouth University and RANE, was comprised of a research phase, an artist residency and a touring exhibition, and aimed at deepening public understanding of the importance of soil. It became the UK’s most substantial contribution to the United Nations International Year of Soils.

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Grizedale Arts

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

Tucked away in the beautiful English Lake District, Grizedale Arts is a self-proclaimed “curatorial project in a continuous state of development.” The site, called Lawson Park, is a productive farm (which includes livestock), where artists can’t be afraid to get their hands dirty. The program, consisting of events, projects, residencies and community activities, engages with the complexities of the rural environment. Grizedale is the type of place where process is valued over product, and the boundaries of what an art institution can be (or ought to be) go wildly beyond the established structures and the idea of the white cube. 

"I want to broaden the idea of what art is and how it works; it is fundamentally the connective tissue that energizes all of our activities. It is an action, not a product, and everyone uses it. I help artists and communities make better use of one another, opening creative processes for both parties, helping both parties escape the confines of what can be a horribly narrow mindset. I aim for a way of living that is connected, a level body of resources built around fundamental elements, a real world of growth, cycles and change."—Adam Sutherland

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Creative Carbon Scotland

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

Creative Carbon Scotland supports Scottish arts organizations with training in carbon measurement, reporting and reduction. Though their work involves a lot of strategy and policymaking, the direct involvement of artists remains key. Projects such as The Green Tease, but also various themed residencies, allow for a good relationship with the local community and places artists in both arts- and non-arts organizations.

“Creative Carbon Scotland believes that achieving the transformational change from where society is now to a prosperous, sustainable future will require a substantial change in the way people live their lives, our culture in its broadest sense. This culture is expressed, reflected and influenced by Culture in a narrower sense: the arts, screen and creative industries so we work to ensure that this sector is playing a full and active role.”—Creative Carbon Scotland

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Invisible Dust

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

Reporting every day on the level of air pollution in London, Invisible Dust aims to making the invisible visible – particularly environmental challenges that don’t necessarily register to the naked eye. This awareness is brought through artists’ commissions, events, education and community activities. One of their exciting new projects, Under her Eye, features the amazing Margaret Atwood (amongst other ubercool ladies) in a summit on Women and Climate Change at the British Library this summer.

"I love working with Invisible Dust – it’s a fantastic platform for collaborations between artists and scientists who are natural collaborators; both are explorers and storytellers, seeking out new ways of understanding, communicating (and indeed, changing) the world around them. So when it comes to the dry (and let’s face it, often frankly terrifying) language of climate change, the marriage of the two can be particularly effective. Artists can respond to environmental data in work that provokes real engagement – and scientists in turn can consider more creative and impactful ways of sharing (or indeed conducting!) their research. By communicating these urgent issues in lateral, innovative ways, by using humor and humanity, these sorts of works can reach us on a more animal, cellular, level – and therefore, hopefully, demand our response." - Lucy Wood

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Open Jar Collective

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 19 Aug, 2018

The collective of socially engaged artists and designers that form Open Jar Collective operates mostly out of Scotland and actively share food, ideas and possibilities for change. Always involving the local community in their workshops, dinners and debates, they are re-thinking and re-shaping Scotland’s food future. With their project Soilcity, collective offers explorations of soil culture through the alchemy of composting, growing, foraging, fermenting, brewing and cooking.

We use food as a vehicle for bringing people together, as a common language to understand the global economic system, and as a tool for exploring people’s fundamental relationship to the land. — Open Jar Collective.

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