BILL MCKIBBEN: Driven by 350.org , 2014, acrylic on board, 5″ x 6″
Bill McKibben is an American environmentalist, writer and activist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming and climate change. He started the group 350.org which has now become a world movement for people to become informed about and protest against the effects of global warming.
He says, “The number 350 means climate safety: to preserve a livable planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm.
“We believe that a global grassroots movement can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice. That movement is rising from the bottom up all over the world, and is uniting to create the solutions that will ensure a better future for all.”
“There is an urgent need to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, dramatically reduce wasted energy, and significantly shift our power supplies from oil, coal, and natural gas to wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources.” ― Bill McKibben, The Global Warming Reader: A Century of Writing about Climate Change
Woody Harrelson: Speaks words out loud; poetry outside, 2015, acrylic on board, 5″ x 8″,
In his Youtube video called Heal Hear Mind Body Soul Planet (from a mad collective dream), he speaks the words:
I sometimes feel like an alien
For which there is no earthly explanation.
Sure, I have human form, walking erect, opposable digits,
But my mind is upside down.
I feel like a run-on sentence in a punctuation crazy world
And I see the work around me like a mad collective dream –
An endless stream of people moving like ants on the freeways.
Cell phones, pc’s and digital displays;
In Money we trust we’ll all find happiness –
Like a genetically modified, irradiated big mac
That’s somehow symbolic of food,
Morality is legislated, prisons over-populated,
Religion is incorporated.
The profit motive has permeated all activity:
We pay our government to let us park on the street
And war is the biggest money-maker of all.
We all know missile envy only comes from being small.
Blaming the president for every bodies woes
Is like blaming a puppet for the way it sings.
Who’s the man behind the curtain,
Pulling the strings?
Politicians and prostitutes are comfortable together.
I wonder if they talk about the strange change in the weather.
This government was founded by, of and for the people
But everybody feels it, like a giant open sore:
They don’t represent us anymore.
A billion people sitting watching their tv in the room they call living,
But as for me, I see living as loving
And since there is no loving room,
I sit on the grass, under a tree,
Dreaming of the way things used to be;
This was pre-us,
Back when the buffalo roamed and
The Indian’s home was the forest and god was nature,
And heaven is here and now.
Can you imagine clean water, food and air,
Living in communities with animals and people who care?
Do you dare to feel responsible for every dollar you lay down?
Are you going to make the rich man richer or
Are you going to stand your ground?
You say you want a revolution,
A communal evolution,
To be part of the solution….
Maybe I’ll be seeing you around.”
(transcribed from Youtube video by Meghan Lewick)
ROBERT REDFORD: As all my Eco Heroes, On-Line, Yet Close-To-Home, 2015, acrylic on board, 5″ x 6″
Robert Redford is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and a founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He says, “I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense of abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?”
ROB STEWART: Films Climate Realities and Changes, 2014, acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″
Rob Stewart is a Canadian photographer and film maker. He made the films “Sharkwater” and “Revolution”. He describes, about being MC for an Environment rally in Ottawa,
“So I was painted green and throwing my fists in the air saying, ‘We don’t just need environmental policy and Priuses – we need a Revolution!”
He says, while shooting his film, “We found it was the kids who have to fight for their future. Adults are already entrenched in the system. But kids don’t rationalize their way around these [environmental] problems. They say, “ Okay, we’ve got to protect our life support system, let’s do it.”
“We need to put a price tag on carbon emissions, and eliminate government subsidies for coal, gas, and oil companies. We need to end the free ride that industrial polluters have been given in the name of a free-market economy, they don’t deserve our tax dollars, they deserve our scrutiny. For the economy itself will die if our ecosystems collapse.”
POLLY HIGGINS: Speaking to Lay Out a Law , 2014, acrylic on board, 12″ x 16″
Polly Higgins is a lawyer from England who proposed the law of Ecocide to the United Nations. Her law of Ecocide addresses the core issue of today: ensuring the welfare of both people and planet. The term ecocide refers to any extensive damage or destruction of the natural landscape and the loss of ecosystems and where the survival of the inhabitants of that territory is endangered. Connected to this research her current focus of enquiry is on leadership crime, closing the door to dangerous industrial activity and creating a legal duty of care.
She says, “I’ve set myself a quest – to dare to be great. For me that means being in service to something greater than the self. I believe we all have the capacity for greatness – and that to end the era of Ecocide requires the greatness of humans to stand up and say ‘enough’ to all that is causing mass damage and destruction in this world.”
PAUL WATSON: Saving the whales, whatever it takes, 2014, acrylic on board and found plastic object, 14″ x 18″
Paul Watson is a Canadian environmentalist and one of the founders of Green Peace. As well, he is the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society where he fights for animal rights.
He says, “All social change comes from the passion and intervention of individuals or small groups of individuals.”
“Slavery wasn’t ended by any government or any institution. Women got the right to vote not because of any government. The civil rights movement, the same thing. India with Mahatma Gandhi, South Africa with Nelson Mandela. Again, it’s always individuals. You need those individuals with the passion and the energy to get involved. In fact, I don’t know of any government or any institutions that are doing anything to solve any of these problems. All over the world, all I am seeing is individuals and non-government organizations that are passionately involved in protecting ecosystems and species, and that’s where I see some optimism. That’s where I see results are happening.”
BARACK OBAMA: Speaks, 2014, acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″
Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States. In July 2013, Obama expressed reservations and stated he “would reject the Keystone XL pipeline if it increased carbon pollution” or “greenhouse emissions”. Obama’s advisers called for a halt to petroleum exploration in the Arctic in January 2013. On February 24, 2015, Obama vetoed a bill that would authorize the pipeline.
He says, “That bright blue ball rising over the moon’s surface, containing everything we hold dear – the laughter of children, a quiet sunrise, all the hopes and dreams of posterity – that’s what’s at stake. That’s what we’re fighting for. And if we remember that, I’m absolutely sure we’ll succeed.” President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013, https://www.whitehouse.gov/energy
The United States is leading global efforts to address the threat of climate change. Wind power has tripled, and energy from the sun has increased tenfold. U.S. carbon emissions have fallen by 10 percent from 2007 to 2013 – the largest absolute emissions reduction of any country in the world. https://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change
NEIL YOUNG: Sings and writes to take a stand , 2014, Acrylic on Board Neil Young is a Canadian singer/songwriter and musician and concerned environmentalist. He takes a stand in his music and wonders who is going to advocate for the earth’s resources in his song ‘Who’s going to Stand Up?’. http://neilyoung.warnerreprise.com/storytone/ He sings, “Protect the wild, tomorrow’s child, Protect the land from the greed of man, Stand up to oil, Renew the soil, Who’s going to stand up and save the Earth? Who’s going to say that she’s had enough? Who’s going to take on the big machine? This all starts with you and me. End fossil fuel. Draw the line Before we build one more pipeline. End fracking now. Save the earth for our sons and daughters. Damn the dams, Save the Rivers, Starve the takers and feed the givers. This all starts with you and me.”
JAMES CAMERON: Visits and Speaks Out, 2014, acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″
James Cameron is a Canadian film maker, environmentalist and explorer. A new species of frog found in Venezuela, was named after him for his environmental efforts, the Pristimantis jamescameroni. After his visit to the oil sands in Alberta he stood with First Nations leaders and urged people to protect their land from pollution.
He says, “But I did come here [Fort McMurray] with a very, very strong set of opinions – you might even say passions – about what we need to be doing to save ourselves, and to save the natural world around us. Everything I learned I had to fit into that framework, and nothing that I saw challenged it. In fact, a lot of what I saw just reinforced that framework. You see the devastation of the surface mining around Fort McMurray, just north of Fort McMurray, you know, it’s appalling.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/james-cameron-talks-oil-sands-with-the-globe/article1380446/?page=all
JAMES HANSEN: Speaks Out, 2015, acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″
James Hansen is an American, top climate scientist and professor in the Department of Earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University. He will retire from NASA in order to devote time to pursue political and legal efforts to limit greenhouse gases. He is an activist and has been arrested for his protest actions for his beliefs. At 72, he said, he feels a moral obligation to step up his activism in his remaining years.
He says, “Implications for energy policy are crystal clear. Most remaining fossil fuels must be left in the ground.” Hansen sees the difficult political duality and says, “Out of one side of their mouths our leaders profess to understand that we have a planet in peril and that we must rapidly phase down CO2 emissions. At the same time they encourage pursuit of almost every fossil fuel that can be found, while knowing that such policies make achievement of climate goals impossible.” He suggests that we make it economically worthwhile for individuals and entrepreneurs to reduce their carbon footprint and he projects that the money they will receive should come from a tax to fossil fuel companies.
JONI MITCHELL: Sings “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”, 2015, acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″
Joni Mitchell is a Canadian singer/songwriter and painter. Lyrics from her song Big Yellow Taxi provide an apt metaphor to the reality we see of the depletion of natural resources for unbridled economic growth. Some of her lyrics include; “They paved paradise/put up a parking lot/…they took all the trees/put them in a tree museum” (from Big Yellow Taxi, 1970) as well as,
“We are stardust/billion year old carbon/we are golden…/and we got to get ourselves/back to the garden”. (Woodstock, 1970). More of her lyrics remind us,
“Don’t it always seem to go/ you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.”
1970 was the same year when the first Earth Day was celebrated, following the 1969 oil spill in California. Joni Mitchell’s image was fashioned as the ultimate Earth Goddess.
LEONARDO DICAPRIO: Visits the Tar Sands and Speaks Out , 2015, acrylic on board, 6” x 9”
Leonardo DiCaprio is an American actor and an environmentalist. As a concerned citizen he has heard the scientist’s research and warnings. He speaks about his concern, has travelled to see places of concern like the tar sands of Alberta. He is sharing what he witnessed. He marches, protests and speaks out to create awareness and action to repair the environment.
Leonardo DiCaprio addressed the United Nations after he took part in the 350.org march in New York city in September. He begins, “Climate change is not hysteria – it is a fact. The time to answer the greatest challenge of our existence on this planet is now. You can make history … or be vilified by it.”
He says, “To be clear, this is not about just telling people to change their light bulbs or to buy a hybrid car. This disaster has grown BEYOND the choices that individuals make. This is now about our industries, and governments around the world taking decisive, large-scale action. I am not a scientist, but I don’t need to be. Because the world’s scientific community has spoken, and they have given us our prognosis, if we do not act together, we will surely perish.
“Now is our moment for action.”
When Man does not tread lightly; The Great Canadian Rape
2015, acrylic on board, 12″ x 16″,
Nature being represented as woman …
“Nature is like a woman who enjoys disguising herself, and whose different disguises, revealing now one part of her and now another, permit those who study her and assiduously to hope that one day they may know the whole of her person” (Diderot) circa 1772 https://sites.ualberta.ca/~dmiall/Travel/Presentations/Nature.htm
These words by Denis Diderot, a man, a French philosopher, art critic and writer, suggest that (some) men see women as something to consume (to know) in entirety, both visually and physiologically (in the same way that “Adam knew Eve, his wife; and she conceived.”, Gen 4:1) . Diderot expresses that nature is like a woman, from which we can deduce, that nature too, is something (in men’s eyes) to be consumed (known) in its entirety.
To consume completely, in terms of nature, can be seen as using up or depleting all resources. Is permission ever asked? Is there ever consideration of consent or is there simply the act of taking, of controlling, of overpowering and consuming. Nature is not able to say, “No, do not take all parts of me before they can recover, or grow back or be replaced naturally (my trees, my oil, my fresh water, etc…). No, do not use that brutal machine on me. Stop that violent action. No do not leave me with gashes gaping open….never to be mended or tended or healed or cleaned up. ”
Taking all, without consent then, is the equivalent of rape.
“Alberta has an estimated: 176,000 active wells. 90,000 inactive wells. 77,000 abandoned wells.”
“The term ecofeminism is used to describe a feminist approach to understanding ecology. Ecofeminist thinkers draw on the concept of gender to theorize on the relationship between humans and the natural world. Ecofeminism addresses the parallels between the oppression of nature and the oppression of women to emphasize the idea that both must be understood in order to properly recognize how they are connected. These parallels include but are not limited to seeing women and nature as property, seeing men as the curators of culture and women as the curators of nature, and how men dominate women and humans dominate nature.” Wikipedia
“A CHANGING PERSPECTIVE: “Drill’er for Oil”, 14″ x 18″, acrylic on canvas, 2014, 12″ x 16″, by Meghan Lewick, based on a painting by Albrecht Durer, 1471 – 1528, and underlined by this quote by Naomi Klein:
“The oil industry is a male-dominated world, a lot like high finance. It’s very macho. The American and Australian idea of “discovering” an endless country and that endless resources can be extracted is a narrative of domination, one that traditionally casts nature as a weak, prone woman. And the idea of being in a relationship of interdependence with the rest of the natural world was seen as weak. That’s why it is doubly difficult for alpha men to concede that they have been wrong.”
This way of thinking is long engrained in our language: John Donne was an English poet writing between 1572 and 1631. He wrote:
To His Mistress Going to Bed
BY JOHN DONNE
Come, Madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
Licence my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann’d,
To teach thee, I am naked first; why then
What needst thou have more covering than a man.
DEREK JENSEN; Speaking Out On Film , 2014, Acrylic on Canvas
Derek Jensen is a prolific American author who describes the need for an Environmental Revolution. He wrote End Game, Dreams and co-wrote Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet. In his writing he wants to inspire people to “acknowledge the values we know in our hearts are right and to have the courage to act on them.”
He says, “To reverse the effects of civilization would destroy the dreams of a lot of people. There’s no way around it. We can talk all we want about sustainability, but there’s a sense in which it doesn’t matter that these people’s dreams are based on, embedded in, intertwined with, and formed by an inherently destructive economic and social system. Their dreams are still their dreams. What right do I — or does anyone else — have to destroy them.
At the same time, what right do they have to destroy the world?” www.DerekJensen.org
CHRIS TURNER: Finds Fault, Finds Solutions and Finds Hope, 2015, acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″
Chris Turner is a Canadian journalist and author. He believes the most vital project of this century is a shift from our unsustainable way of life to a sustainable one.
He says, “Harper’s true agenda, pretty much all along, has been to dismantle the government’s great traditions of natural science and environmental stewardship, which until recently made Canada a world leader in both fields. This is a government waging a quiet legislative and administrative war on science — especially those fields of science dedicated to gathering and analyzing data on the health of Canada’s natural environment — and it has undone a century of good work.”
[We need to take] “the great leap sideways, the big jump we all need to take that leads to the brightest possible future.” His leap refers to replacing non-renewable energy with renewable energy over the next 50 years. “We need to move to wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, some small scale hydro, maybe some large scale hydro, and maybe some nuclear.”
CAROL KING: Speaks, 2014, acrylic on board, 6″ X 9″
Carol King is a American singer, composer and environmentalist. She is working and speaking out to protect wilderness, and specifically the Northern Rocky Mountain System. Her efforts have helped raise more than $1.5 million for environmental groups.
She says, “We all share the environment. The earth, water, air and trees are what sustains and connects us all.” “If you care about the environment, let your elected representatives know your concerns. The only way to overcome apathy and big money interests that want things that aren’t good for you or the environment is to TAKE ACTION.”
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU: Offers the Strategy of Divestment, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 14″x18″
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a South African social rights activist who opposed apartheid. He won, among many others, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
CBC REPORTS: South African archbishop in Fort McMurray for a two-day conference on oil-sands development The Canadian Press Posted: May 31, 2014
“The fact that this filth is being created now, when the link between carbon emissions and global warming is so obvious, reflects negligence and greed,” Tutu told more than 200 attendees at a conference on oil-sands development and treaty rights in Fort McMurray.
“The oilsands are emblematic of an era of high carbon and high-risk fuels that must end if we are committed to a safer climate.”
“Oilsands development not only devastates our shared climate, it is also stripping away the rights of First Nations and affected communities to protect their children, land and water from being poisoned.”