123: VOICE A CHOICE!
FRI 19 NOV 08:37 - Mooning Monthly happily going without but getting plenty.....
Happy Taurus Full Moon folks...
...and this one's a partial lunar eclipse, best viewed overnight Thursday by fellow Mooners in the USA. Taurus is a home loving star sign, it loves the cosseted familiarity of its domestic routine and surroundings, stability, security and financial comforts. It is, perhaps, a fitting moon on which to close the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference where future stability and security for life on this miraculous Planet Earth has dominated the agenda.
I've just returned from the conference where I was privileged to exhibit my large sculpture installation BURNT WOOD (images below). The experience has been in equal measures, inspiring, humbling and disquieting. Well over one hundred thousand people traveled long distances across the planet to gather in Glasgow for the convention. They came to register their voices of concern in person as diplomats from almost every country in the world engaged in the extended diplomacy surrounding the human response to the human derived Climate Crisis.
And, for the first time at a COP conference (this being the 26th such convention) the science has not been in question. At last, even the fossil fuel defense lobby have had to muzzle their avaricious intents despite having disproportionate representation, "..more than 500 fossil fuel lobbyists have been granted access, more than the combined delegations of eight nations that have already been ravaged by climate breakdown: Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Mozambique, Myanmar, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas." George Monbiot, The Guardian
All parties at COP have agreed that 'Net Zero' is the target humanity needs to hit, only differing in the timescales taken to get there. Time is of the essence of course. Delays in the phasing out of fossil fuels are already threatening vulnerable, usually materially poor, peoples. Some irreplaceable remote, sustainable island, arctic and forest cultures face extinction as sea levels rise, ice melts and rain forest burns.
Such indigenous communities have everything to teach modern consumerist society about living in harmonious partnership with the natural environment. Their sustainable native cultures have been practiced successfully for millennia whereas the human damage wrought on planet earth's precious biosphere largely dates from the industrial revolution - in effect the last 250 years. The most detrimental, far reaching abuse has occurred in the last 30, the majority of my adult life, an uncomfortable reminder of my own undoubted culpability during that period.
The consumer led global pillage witnessed on my generation's watch has left many of us with floundering hopes that COP26 will provide a significant pivot around which the systems of governance, law and economics radically shift towards an abiding aspiration to serve ALL people and the planet upon which we depend. We hope that such a shift toward compassionate understanding should be informed and driven by the scientific evidence, of planet and population, that has been unequivocally presented during the conference.
We now command technology that provides immediate documentation of the effects of human activity, allowing us an unprecedented opportunity to redress the extreme imbalances in our behaviour that have given rise to the problems we currently face. We simply require the collective will to transcend divisive political and economic ideologies to move toward consensus for the common good, but that's predictably proving elusive. Essentially, it is time for the nation state hierarchies that humanity has battled to create and perpetuate to voluntarily recalibrate toward equity. The smallest nation should be accorded the same respect and value as the greatest, its denizens as important to the human family as any others.
The extreme wealth of the disproportionately significant mega rich surely exists only to be dismantled. Oxfam research into Carbon Inequality in 2030 predicts,
"The world’s richest 1% [those earning over $172,000 a year] are set to have per capita consumption emissions in 2030 that are still 30 times higher than the global per capita level compatible with the 1.5⁰C goal of the Paris Agreement, while the footprints of the poorest half of the world population are set to remain several times below that level. By 2030, the richest 1% are on course for an even greater share of total global emissions than when the Paris Agreement was signed . Tackling extreme inequality and targeting the excessive emissions linked to the consumption and investments of the world’s richest people is vital to keeping the 1.5⁰C Paris goal alive."(Oxfam report)
Not an easy read from this extremely privileged desk in leafy southern England.
‘Over the past 25 years, the richest 10% of the global population has been responsible for more than half of all carbon emissions... Rank injustice and inequality on this scale is a cancer. If we don’t act now, this century may be our last.’
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General
The fierce resistance of the rich to giving up anything they mistakenly believe they have 'earned' rather than simply accrued by some privileged accident of birth, has probably been the greatest impediment to the final negotiations at COP26.
‘The world’s rich consume and consume and consume with no thought.’
Patricia Espinosa, UN Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
Can COP26 become a signal to the mega rich, self serving old boys networks across the planet that the game is up? Can they accept that more fun and greater riches are actually available to everyone in a world that celebrates and supports its diversity rather than turning difference into cause for division, material gain or, worse, conflict. As John Lennon once wrote, in between his then consuming preference for lines of cocaine:
Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace
Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people Sharing all the world John Lennon - Imagine 1971
Even the least hardened skeptic might argue that sharing has never been humanity's strong point but the current argument to explore its possibilities seems less one of choice and more a last ditched vital effort, born of compelling necessity. Let's face it, as a behavioural ideology we haven't exactly given sharing a fair crack of the whip.
The post war establishment of the UK National Health Service in 1948 may have been the last grand consensus gesture of national equity, born as it was from the devastating WWII loss of life across the British social classes...lest we forget. The leveling muddy battlefields of Europe fed an appetite for a social equity of health based on gratitude for the lives selflessly given. As a further consequence, war cemented the indispensable importance of legal equality for women in the workplace and at the ballot box as nations were rebuilt, sadly still a discriminatory work in progress across the planet.
Climate Crisis has become our latest self destructive, muddy battlefield. What 'new order', if any, emerges from the carnage already afoot remains to be seen.
As the dust settles on the fast emptying Glasgow site of COP26, the post match analysis is inevitably mixed. Progress seems to have been made but how many of the pledges, particularly those made by members of the G20 (the 20 richest national economies) will remain unfulfilled. For example, does the nine years promised by Jair Bolsenaro in Brasil to end logging in the Amazon provide him the framework to have a good crack at completing the job of clearing it entirely for short term gain? (Bolsenaro bad for the Brazilian and World Economy article - The Economist)
The optimists in our number might prefer to focus on the symbolic significance of the conference and the extraordinary numbers of people that made the pilgrimage to Glasgow to raise their voices of concern in the hope of being heard by delegates. Symbolically, the importance of a global convention seeking to disarm a threat to life that defies national borders and ideologies, should not be underestimated.
Were those courageous pilgrims heard? Former US vice-president Al Gore believes they were,"We must move faster to deliver a just transition away from fossil fuels and toward a cleaner and more equitable future for our planet. The progress achieved in the lead-up to and at Cop26 was only possible because of the power of people – young and old – using their voices to demand action."
The final Conference accords have been deemed "imperfect" but widely welcomed by the developed nations. US climate envoy John Kerry added, "We are in fact closer than we have ever been before to avoiding climate chaos and securing cleaner air, safer water and a healthier planet."
Mmmm....are we John? The smaller nations and indigenous communities, often those most vulnerable to the extreme effects of climate change, would argue they have been left high and dry without promise of support or a mechanism to distribute the resoundingly unpledged international funds for loss and damage. ('A death sentence' - indigenous climate activists denounce the COP26 deal)
To be fair, Scotland have become the first developed country to pledge money to a loss and damage fund. 2 million quid though, for a nation with indelible historic links to the slave trade on the very site of COP26 and a current GDP of £205 billion, 10% of which comes from oil revenues..... FFS!! Still, it's better than nothing right? Well done Scotland eh....sigh...
If our representatives haven't had the cahones to do the right thing in the last chance climate saloon and call a complete halt to fossil fuel burning by 2030 then I'm afraid dear people, it does come down to us as individuals to wield the power at our disposal, in voiced action and votes.
Research published in Science in 2018 discovered that a critical tipping point threshold was passed when the size of a committed minority reached roughly 25% of a population. At this point, social conventions suddenly flip. Between 72% and 100% of the people in the experiments swung round, destroying apparently stable social norms. As the paper notes, a large body of work suggests that "the power of small groups comes not from their authority or wealth, but from their commitment to the cause".
I hope this gives the COP disillusioned some hope that our own conscious efforts, however small, to think, speak and act in a way that benefits all, carries a very real weight of purpose toward change. I salute every single one of those committed individuals that made the trip to Glasgow as a choice to voice their desire for change to the social, political, legal and economic systems that have enabled this frickin' mess.
I'll leave the final word to thought provoking journalist and activist George Monbiot, for whose research and commentary I remain continually grateful.
"Social convention, which has for so long worked against us, can if flipped become our greatest source of power, normalising what now seems radical and weird. If we can simultaneously trigger a cascading regime shift in both technology and politics, we might stand a chance. It sounds like a wild hope. But we have no choice. Our survival depends on raising the scale of civil disobedience until we build the greatest mass movement in history, mobilising the 25% who can flip the system. We do not consent to the destruction of life on Earth."
Nice one George. Let's come together and consciously choose to employ our voices and actions to animate a critical momentum for change in the best interests of All. Please share this message with anyone that might be prepared to join us.
With love 'til next time
BURNT WOOD - SCULPTURE INSTALLATION AT COP26 Presenting BURNT WOOD to an international audience at COP26 has been a pleasure and privilege. There has been some good media coverage but the most rewarding aspect of having a work on display has been the engagement with delegates and visitors to the conference, all of whom have their own informative take on the problems we face and how to tackle them.
Excitingly, I am currently negotiating with the Glasgow Science Centre (the 'armadillo' architectural wonder in the photos) to site the sculpture with them on a long term loan. The suggestion has been that it will be important, particularly for young Glaswegians, to see cultural touchstones around the city as testament to and reminder of the two weeks in 2021 when the world looked to Glasgow for answers to the Climate Crisis. Fingers crossed for positive resolutions all round.
December's edition of MOON LIT will be the last in the current format which was always intended as a year long literary project focused on the 12 new moons of 2021. Fear not, watch out for the occasional MOON LIT special edition aligned with 2022's equinoxes, solstices and cross quarter Celtic festivals in the coming year. The final phase of 2021's MOON LIT project features the ecologically referential, lunar nuanced poetry of yours truly. I've always written as a natural part of my creative practice and I hope that the discerning MOON LIT will be gentle with their rigorous critique. Subscribe for free HERE to ensure these rambling canticles of devotion harmonize their loving way into your inbox on the day of publication. Ella Young's splendid poetic triumvirate continue their moonlit path across the terrain of our Scorpio New Moon edition of MOON LIT and remain available to enjoy here: MOON LIT 11. It proved to be one of the most popular editions published this year so it's well worth a midnight trek in that direction.... Ella and her beautiful partner David have both been taken ill recently so we send them our love and heartfelt best wishes for a swift and full recovery. You are loved.
FULL MOON MARKS
EACH MONTH DURING 2021 WE WILL CHART THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SINGLE, YEAR LONG LUNAR INSPIRED DRAWING BY ARTIST AND FELLOW MOONER MARK WEIGHTON
32 x 24cm charcoal on paper