If you want to do art and science then thinking about politics may come as a nuisance. Indeed the current state of the world suggests to retreat into one’s shell, however if one finds the power not to do so one shouldn’t.
The summary of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report of workinggroup III (Mitigation of Climate Change) basically says that there are 8 years left for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent major major problems (see table on page 23 of summary). If you are no political or economic leader then you can contribute to lifestyle changes, as has also been outlined in the IPCC summary:
Changes in lifestyle and behaviour patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. Management practices can also have a positive role.
(high agreement, medium evidence)
• Lifestyle changes can reduce GHG emissions. Changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns that emphasize resource conservation can contribute to developing a low-carbon economy that is both equitable and sustainable [4.1, 6.7].
• Education and training programmes can help overcome barriers to the market acceptance of energy efficiency, particularly in combination with other measures.
• Changes in occupant behaviour, cultural patterns and consumer choice and use of technologies can result in considerable reduction in COB2 emissions related to energy use in buildings [6.7].
• Transport Demand Management, which includes urban planning (that can reduce the demand for travel) and provision of information and educational techniques (that can reduce car usage and lead to an efficient driving style) can support GHG mitigation [5.1].
• In industry, management tools that include staff training, reward systems, regular feedback, documentation of existing practices can help overcome industrial organization barriers, reduce energy use, and GHG emissions [7.3].
Many small steps can sum up to a big whole. Think about how public opinion and fashions emerge.
Another possibility is to encourage public discussions and protests. An already mentioned nice project is art-goes-heiligendamm an initiative for the upcoming G8 summit, where the climate change will be an issue. -Last not least due to the fact that it will hit the poorest countries worst.
Unfortunately there are already open suggestions in the public meme-pool to move to Canada or to move to other places which are probably not strongly exposed to flood or drought. Also e.g. this article in the Moscow News suggests to use the north – especially for a network of nuclear power plants. Moreover the article suggests to find other “positive aspects” of climate change (citation):
А в самом потеплении чего нам бояться? Ведь разводили же при царе Алексее Михайловиче Романове в Измайлово виноград, дыни, миндаль, финики, пытались выращивать там и тутовые деревья. А ведь в это время толщина ледников в Норвегии достигала 4–5 км – так называемый Малый ледниковый период. И ничего, как-то пережили эти лихолетья.
translation without guarantee: and actually why do we fear the warming? Wasn’t it in the time of Zar Alexey Michailovitch when they grew vine, melons, almonds, dates and even tried to cultivate Mulberry trees at Ismailovo? Indeed at this time the thickness of the glaciers in Norway was 4-5 kms, it was the socalled Little ice age. And whatsoever, somehow they survived these bitter years. (I am not so sure about the translation of the last sentence, since I couldnt confirm the translation of лихолетья)
By the way – why would russia and other countries be interested to use the (after warming better acessible) far out north for nuclear power plants? Because the ressources of Uranium are limited extrapolating nowadays nuclear use of energy and so maybe one has to exceedingly fall back on dangerous nuclear power plant types falling into the class of Fast breeder reactors, like e.g. the BN600 (I cite the german wikipedia entry because the english site has nothing about the accident) and Nuclear reprocessing – at least this is what an article in the new gazette by leading scientists of the Kurchatov institute with the title “innovation in nuclear energy” (the website title is: “uran becomes an unlimited resource”) suggests.
As I already pointed out in an earlier post I think that nuclear research (and thus eventually international research power plants in nonpopulated areas in the world) should be supported (in order to keep a fall-back option and last not least in order to keep the knowledge). The commercial use of nuclear power plants however should be kept as low as possible and reduced and thus I think the current german policy of closing nuclear power plants is right. Imagining the far north full of nuclear breeders -given the safety of the technology and the implications of nuclear waste management- is just one thing:
(plus: given the current state of controlled nuclear fusion, Uranium may be needed for space travel and not on earth)
By the above it is also clear what happenes if the introduction of alternative energies, lifestyle changes, energy saving etc. won’t be fast enough.
In view of all this concluding and coming back to the art initiative, I find it is important to refrain from too much political rockism – from both sides. Things are complicated and political leaders do not have the power some people think, as became obivous e.g. in the strange EU-CO2-car compromise. In fact they could need protest. It would be nice to see people from attac or similar groups and the G8-players sit and discuss together in a big safe glasshouse right on this fence. This seems to be so utopian that it can only be an art project…:)
A more down to earth project could be the following one: draw on the streets of Heiligendamm the height lines of the various new high levels of the baltic expected by a climate change. (Hope someone picks up this idea, as I can’t do it myself). The height lines would indicate which parts of Heiligendamm would be flooded at which new sea level – could be interesting for possible investors.
->direkt link to art-goes-heiligendamm