March 6th, 2019 by The Beam
This article was published in The Beam #7 — Subscribe now for more on the topic.
Engaging people around climate change issues takes time, and building momentum for climate action is an even more ambitious goal. Art can contribute to raising the visibility and voices of the communities we often forget, to tell powerful stories, and to inspire and connect people. Throughout history, art has helped build cultures of resistance around the world. What can be better to create a campaign and mobilize citizens?
On September 8th, 2018, hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets, from Fiji to Paris to San Francisco, putting national and local authorities on notice, demanding a strong response to the climate crisis. Over 250,000 people took part in more than 900 actions in 95 countries. The Rise for Climate mobilizations demanded political action to keep fossil fuels in the ground and deliver a swift and just transition to 100% renewable energy for all.
Thiago Mundano comes from Brazil, Christi Belcourt from Canada, Teleise Neemia Lesa from New Zealand, Daniela Paes Leao from Portugal, John Hillary Balyejusa from Uganda, and Ari Aminuddin from Indonesia. These six artists from six continents use unifying symbols to create powerful narratives people can relate to and rally around to mobilize for climate issues. Organized by 350.org, the series of six #RiseforClimate pieces reflect the climate impacts of each of the artists’ countries and regions.
“No amount of money can buy back a people’s river.
No amount of money can buy back the sea.
The Trans Mountain Pipeline cannot be built. Because we love the rivers.
Because we love the sea.
Because we love this sacred earth.
We will defend our home.
We will defend our water.
Everything I do in my life is for my love of the earth and my awe of it. This wondrous planet, so full of mystery, is a paradise. Everything — the plants, insects, winds, stars, rocks, animals, us — is a giant web of pure spirit. Nothing is separate from anything else. All life, even the rocks, need to be treated with respect. The sacred laws of this world are respect and reciprocity. When we stop following them, we as a species are out of balance with the rest of the world.”
— Christi Belcourt
By The Beam Editor-in-Chief Anne-Sophie Garrigou.
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