The Human Impact Institute’s Sneak Preview of The Great Invisible

01_87DAYS_02ATwo weeks before the documentary is to be released in theaters on October 29th, 2014, the Human Impacts Institute attended an advanced screening of Margaret Brown’s The Great Invisible. The Great Invisible tells the stories of community members throughout communities in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas after the US’ worst oil spill in history.

On April 2010, the lives of many were tragically changed and 11 were lost as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion at the offshore oil-drilling rig operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. Brown, a Peabody Award-winning documentarian, weaves first-hand accounts of the explosion with insight and footage of its aftermath to create a vivid and emotional picture of the tension in the modern South.

The documentary’s exploration into the lives of the modern South’s fishermen, oilmen, and survivors has won it this year’s SXSW Film Festival. It offers unique insight from the various actors involved- the corporations, those affected, and even footage from the court settings. Footage from court proceedings revealed that all of our top 5 oil companies were unprepared to manage such a disaster. A behind the scenes conversation of some of the world’s top oil investors and traders at dinner was one of the many shocking scenes. “What’s your cost tolerance for something you think is politically acceptable?” said one of the few men at this dinner in reference to the political, economic, environmental, and other costs of drilling oil.

From this documentary, I learned more about just how complex oil is. Soon after the spill, further offshore drilling had been banned for a period of time. So on top of the jobs and lives lost because of the spill, many others soon found themselves unemployed and without many of the foods they had depended on their entire lives. The views of local community members were split between those who wanted a cease in drilling, those who relied on it and demanded it continue, and many versions in between. Brown used her time filming The Great Invisible to form a bond with those involved and her respectfulness of all opinions was noticeable.

The Aftermath: The U.S. continues to expand its oil rigs to numbers greater than ever before and BP oil is continuing to grow. There is not one solution to such an event.

The Great Invisible can also be used to raise awareness on this spill, which four years later has yet to be cleaned up. Offshore oil also generates the most revenue for the U.S. (second to taxes) and therefore may have a greater influence on our nation’s economy.

To purchase tickets for a showing in NYC, check out:http://www.villageeastcinema.com/angelika_nowshowing.asp?rdate=10/29/2014

By Milcah Zewdie, 2014 Environmental Intern, October 15, 2014

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MAKING AN IMPACT: Climate Reality Project Highlights the Work of HII’s ED

 

Tara DePorte on Brooklyn's Waterfront after Bringing Mobile Solar to Local State Park

Tara DePorte on Brooklyn’s Waterfront after Bringing Mobile Solar to Local State Park

Tara DePorte has been thinking about how to engage people in environmental action for a long time. Since fourth grade, in fact, when she wrote her Northern Virgina congressman, urging him, with the clarity that only an elementary schooler can pull off, to help save the planet. She might have been young, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t see something big was happening—and it was time to bring people together and do something about it. Then the encouraging response came from her congressman, and she knew could help. The only question was how.

Fast forward a few decades and having earned a master’s degree in climate and society from Columbia University and trained as a Climate Reality Leader with former U.S. Vice President Gore, she launched the Human Impacts Institute as a vehicle for rebranding action on climate change. Through her work at Columbia, she’d seen what was happening in the scientific and policy communities to tackle the crisis. But she’d also seen how the experts in these worlds were frequently struggling to break through and translate knowledge about climate change into action to solve it. They understood the science and the programs. But they didn’t always understand people.

 After training as a Climate Reality Leader, Tara decided to take a different approach, starting not with the science, but with the people it touches. Which means looking for what speaks to people on an individual level and listening as much as talking. “I want to be the person who can walk into any room and find a way to sit down at the table with someone and connect in a human way.  For this, it means growing as a listener and also being okay with disagreement.”

Creating connections is, for Tara, the first step to making climate change personal in a way that inspires audiences to do something about it. After all, when most people see what the issue means for their own lives and the people, places, and things that matter most, simply standing by becomes a lot harder. Taking this insight, Tara works with the Human Impacts Institute to connect with audiences through arts and culture, hands-on experiences that encourage first-person understanding, and actions keyed to the specific values and interests that define particular communities.

It’s work that comes without a tried-and-true roadmap, of course, and it means embracing experimentation and acting as a true social entrepreneur. “I am willing to take risks to fail, to have bad ideas,” she says, “And if there are a couple of those initiatives that really work and inspire people to join us, then I consider that a great win.” Along with these wins, have also come challenges, most notably building long-lasting coalitions. As she says, “It’s easy to get people excited by an event or a program, but it’s hard to develop opportunities that support long-term, beyond one-click actions.”

It’s also work that opens doors and brings together some unlikely allies. In a recent Human Impacts Salon in Atlanta on the role of faith in climate action, Tara was working with one of the original founders of the Tea Party movement. As she says, “I found myself being a bit nervous about speaking with her. I was concerned about my stereotypes or biases and whether we’d be able to find common ground.  As it stands, I find her one of the more inspiring people to talk with about climate change.” The experience taught her a great deal about how to talk about climate in ways that touched on the core values of U.S. conservatives.

This bridge-building didn’t end in Atlanta and in the months ahead, Tara and the Human Impacts Institute are partnering with Germany’s to hold Creative Climatesalons in eight U.S. cities and Berlin. The salons bring together creative visionaries with community leaders, environmental experts, and activists in events using live performance, arts, and discussion to explore new ways to engage audiences in climate solutions.

The organization is also partnering with StoryCorps to tell the story of these salons and the unlikely allies they bring together across the nation.  So far, Tara’s collected over 20 hours of interviews with men and women working in many different areas of climate action, from an environmental justice activist in Atlanta to an Episcopalian minister organizing her congregation for stewardship of the planet and from an environmentally conscious hip-hop artist to a Tea Party activist supporting renewable energy. Human Impacts will edit these interviews to be archived in the Library of Congress and aims to release them as podcasts in the future.

These are just some of the creative initiatives Tara is working on to make climate personal in communities around the U.S. with the Human Impacts Institute. Want to step and learn how you can make the climate crisis personal for your own community? Apply to become a Climate Reality Leader like Tara and join former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and others at our Brazil Training in Rio de Janeiro, November 4—6. The deadline for applications is October 10, so apply today.

Originally Published at: http://climaterealityproject.org/blog/making-impact

OCTOBER 02, 2014 | 2:05 PM

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Creative Climate Awards: Chalk Circle Change

Landegger Draws a "Circle" of Trash on NYC Streets

Landegger Draws a “Circle” of Trash on NYC Streets

On Sunday, October 12th, 2014, artist Carl Landegger hosted an interactive art piece and social change project called, “Chalk Circle Change”. This performance piece is in the running for the Creative Climate Awards as an interactive art piece inspired by issues of climate change. On 125th street in Harlem, NY the performance piece consisted on a simple game for members of the community and passersby to play. The premise goes like this: give people sidewalk chalk and circle as many pieces of litter on the street as quickly as you can. Once everything has been circled, go back through the streets and pick up the trash. This fun, engaging activity attracted a huge range of participants from kids to adults alike.

“The response I got was incredible. I heard from a ton of people how glad they were that we were addressing these issues of waste and environmental stewardship,” stated artist Landegger. The act of circling the trash leaves behind a reminder once the trash has been disposed of. It’s a memory of thoughtlessness and how waste affects our neighborhoods, aesthetically, psychologically, and environmentally. “Once the circling begins, questions emerge within the community as to where the litter ends up and in some instances bystanders are motivated to pick up the discarded objects. Our message is simple; let’s make the invisible visible and bring the focus back down to earth one circle at a time.”

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership with Positive Feedback and Artbridge, the Human Impacts Institute’s Fourth Annual Creative Climate Awards brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City.  In an effort to inspire people to think more critically about our actions and their impacts, The Creative Climate Awards program uses creativity to broaden the climate conversation, inspire action, and to combine art and education with diverse climate themes.

To see the entire lineup of events for the Creative Climate Awards, check out the Human Impacts institutes website: http://humanimpactsinstitute.org/CreativeClimateAwards.php

By LeAnne Harvey, Community Relations Manager, Human Impacts Institute

 

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Creative Climate Awards: Dawn of the Anthropocene

thefutureHow can you ignore a “future” disappearing before your own eyes? It’s nearly impossible, as we found on Sunday, September 21st, at one of our Creative Climate Awards nominees’ events. Artists LigoranoReese created a sculpture titled, “Dawn of the Anthropocene”, an ice sculpture of the words “THE FUTURE” situated directed in front of the Flatiron building, that drew in a diverse audience from 10am til 10pm.

The sculpture measured 21 feet wide, 5 feet tall, and weighed 3,000 pounds. “This event is part sculpture, part installation, part performance, and an internet media event. But most of all, we make art for social change installing temporary public sculptures to mark important historical events. The Climate Summit is that and more,” stated Nora Ligorano. The installation also fell on the day of the People’s Climate March, a rally of over 400,000 people protesting the use of fossil fuels, and demanding political action on climate change from our global leaders at the UN Summit. The sculpture was a landing zone for people leaving the march, reminding them of the future they were marching for.

“Engaging the public through non-conventional means is the heart of what we do,” says Marshall Reese. HII shares the same mission and was there to actively engage the public by starting discussion and asking the public, “What are you most worried about for the future?” We heard some powerful answers and couldn’t shake the fact that they all can be tied back into global climate change.

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership with Positive Feedback and Artbridge, the Human Impacts Institute’s Fourth Annual Creative Climate Awards brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City.  In an effort to inspire people to think more critically about our actions and their impacts, The Creative Climate Awards program uses creativity to broaden the climate conversation, inspire action, and to combine art and education with diverse climate themes.

To see the entire lineup of events for the Creative Climate Awards, check out the Human Impacts institutes website: http://humanimpactsinstitute.org/CreativeClimateAwards.php

By LeAnne Harvey, Community Relations Manager, Human Impacts Institute

 

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Creative Climate Awards: Earth (A Play About People)

EARTH (A Play About People)

EARTH (A Play About People)

On Saturday, September 20th, 2014, Superhero Clubhouse, a collective of artists and environmental advocates, performed their most recent creation, Earth (A Play About People). This work in progress took place on Governor’s Island and is one of the many performances in the running for a Creative Climate Award.

In the show, the audience was taken on a voyage through time and space following our protagonists, a couple questioning the meaning of their lives and a life yet to come. The couple must decide, in the face of overpopulation and environmental degradation, whether or not they want to bring a child into the world. As we traveled separately with each protagonist, we hear advice from all around the globe, from Japan to Argentina to a place out of this world; we hear from families, a scientist from the United Nations, and even from gods. We aren’t given any answers but left with more questions, cultivating a seed of inquiry in the audience and forcing us to question how our choices will affect the future.

An excited aspect to this play is the creative process. It was made in collaboration by teams of artists working remotely, around the world, which made for a bit of a confusing timeline but one that was multicultural and multi-dimensional. All the material was inspired by themes and questions related to population. “Now, as the global population climbs toward 10 billion, life expectancy increases, resources become precious, and the consequences of climate change barrel down on us, how we personally and globally consider the effects of our species’ multiplication has never been more crucial. Is there a limit to humanity? Are we responsible for each other? How do we balance the beauty and brilliance of our species with the impact our very presence has on the world we rely on?”

The play sparked a riveting and heated discussion to follow, and allowed for the audience to connect the pieces by speaking directly with the playwright. The play took the very impersonal and detached issue of climate change and through content, creation, and intimate performance connected it to the human experience.

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership withPositive Feedback and Artbridge, the Human Impacts Institute’s Fourth Annual Creative Climate Awards brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City.  In an effort to inspire people to think more critically about our actions and their impacts, The Creative Climate Awards program uses creativity to broaden the climate conversation, inspire action, and to combine art and education with diverse climate themes.

To see the entire lineup of events for the Creative Climate Awards, check out the Human Impacts institutes website: http://humanimpactsinstitute.org/CreativeClimateAwards.php

By LeAnne Harvey, Community Relations Manager, Human Impacts Institute

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Creative Climate Awards: Under My Umbrella

Massey Interviewing one of her Artists in East River State Park

Massey Interviewing one of her Artists in East River State Park

This past Saturday while many New Yorkers and visitors toured Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg food festival, Christina Massey enjoyed her afternoon at East River State Park interviewing a group of talented artists and activists. Her topic of discussion, as quoted by her: “how/should the art world itself be adapting to social and environmental changes.”

Christina Massey has worked on multiple short art films and artistic music videos as well as paintings and sculptural objects. She has used her interest in both art and environmental issues to create Under My Umbrella, a physical exhibit and an online video project. Using remnants of broken umbrellas that she has found across New York City after various storms as the frames, Christina has sculpted a physical installation that also incorporates reused and re-purposed fabrics and canvas. The video portion consisted of a series of interviews, which Christina has described as a performance on impermanence and vulnerability to interact with the surrounding public.

The interviewees this past Fall weekend included artist Blane de Croix, curator Linda Weintaub, community organizer Joy Glidden, and artist and activist Jamie Dalgish. They discussed how climate change may affect galleries or studios and the role of art dealers and collectors in promoting social and environmental responsibility.

Massey's Sculpture Installation at the Creative Climate Awards Exhibit (TECO)

Massey’s Sculpture Installation at the Creative Climate Awards Exhibit (TECO)

As this piece is inspired by climate change and the denial and debate upon its existence in reference to the art world’s denial and debate on its future, it has been a great addition to our Creative Climate Awards exhibit at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office gallery near Bryant Park.

Learn more information about Massey’s work at http://www.CMasseyArt.com

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership withPositive Feedback and Artbridge, the Human Impacts Institute’s Fourth Annual Creative Climate Call to Action brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City.  In an effort to inspire people to think more critically about our actions and their impacts, The Creative Climate Awards program uses creativity to broaden the climate conversation, inspire action, and to combine art and education with diverse climate themes.

To see the entire lineup of events for the Creative Climate Awards, check out the Human Impacts institutes website: http://humanimpactsinstitute.org/CreativeClimateAwards.php

By Milcah Zewdie, 2014 Environmental Leadership Intern, Human Impacts Institute

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Creative Climate Awards: Dear Climate Let’s You Talk with Our Climate

Una Chaudhari with the Dear Climate installation in DUMBO, Brooklyn

Una Chaudhari with the Dear Climate installation in DUMBO, Brooklyn

As part of the our Creative Climate Awards, from September 24th through October 14th, Una Chaudhuri, Fritz Ertl, Oliver Kellhammer, and Marina Zurkow have shared their personal letters to our climate in storefront windows just Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Their goal: to meet, befriend and become climate change with this storefront installation.

This collaborative group has worked together to create over 60 posters and podcasts and a specific letter addressed “Deat Climate.” Their project, DEAR CLIMATE, has been designed as a program for “inner climate change.”  The versatile series of works evoke new and different relationships to weather, landscapes, other species, and ourselves. The posters can be printed and projected in various sizes, the podcasts can be installed comfortably either privately or publicly.

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the artists involved, Una Chaudhari, a teacher of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University. When I asked her about how she wanted this program to reach its audience, she said that it was meant to inspire a personal reflection targeting creative and emotional responses to climate change rather than fearful and shameful ones. It’s a new way to talk about weather by actually talking to it.

As they have written on their site “Hello, Dear Climate, I’ve been meaning to tell you…” See more information (http://dumboartsfestival.com/art/dear-climate/) or download and print posters at dearclimate.net

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership withPositive Feedback and Artbridge, the Human Impacts Institute’s Fourth Annual Creative Climate Call to Action brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City.  In an effort to inspire people to think more critically about our actions and their impacts, The Creative Climate Awards program uses creativity to broaden the climate conversation, inspire action, and to combine art and education with diverse climate themes.

To see the entire lineup of events for the Creative Climate Awards, check out the Human Impacts institutes website: http://humanimpactsinstitute.org/CreativeClimateAwards.php

By Milcah Zewdie, 2014 Environmental Leadership Intern, Human Impacts Institute

 

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“What’s My Worth” challenges Union Square park goers with one artist’s climate-centric performance

Marie Christine Katz performing in Union Square

Marie Christine Katz performing in Union Square

Does the climate crisis change how we value ourselves? This is a driving question behind artist Marie Christine Katz’s reflective performance piece appropriately titled “What’s My Worth”. “What’s My Worth” is a contender in this years Creative Climate Awards, curated by the Human Impacts Institute and taking place this past September and October.

Marie Christine Katz joined the Human Impacts Institute (HII) on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, for a special rendition of the piece in NYC’s ever-dynamic Union Square. The performance consisted of a dramatic monologue and audience interaction inspired by Katz’s personal journals, in which she struggles with topics like whether to get take out or eat in, financial difficulty, and whether one person can even make a difference. She brings with her a suitcase full of gathered lint and gold wire, which she attempts to use as a material for clothing. Her motivation comes from both environmental concern and financial struggle. Throughout, she asks her audience, which in this case are Union Square park goers and passersby, how climate change makes them feel about their own self-worth. Working off the curiosity or confusion of her public audience, Katz delivers her own version of an “internal struggle” between feeling guilty about consuming known environmental “bads” versus making financially and environmentally friendly decisions.

HII educators were on site to document and film the performance and talk to observers and participants.

Katz was born in Sierre, Switzerland, and now works and lives in New York City. She received her B.A. from Empire College in 1990 and was artist-in-residence at The Field in 2010 and Art Omi in 2011.

Interested in more from Marie Christine Katz or other climate-inspired art?  Join us for this years Creative Climate Awards Ceremony to see details from this event and others– the ceremony will take place October 30th at the Fitzroy Gallery in NYC’s Lower East Side.

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership withPositive Feedback and Artbridge, the Human Impacts Institute’s Fourth Annual Creative Climate Call to Action brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City.  In an effort to inspire people to think more critically about our actions and their impacts, The Creative Climate Awards program uses creativity to broaden the climate conversation, inspire action, and to combine art and education with diverse climate themes.

To see the entire lineup of events for the Creative Climate Awards, check out the Human Impacts institutes website: http://humanimpactsinstitute.org/CreativeClimateAwards.php

By Tess Clark, HII Development Coordinator

 

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Creative Climate Awards, Ice Floe: Dancing on Arctic Ice

Jody Sperling Dancing on Arctic Ice

Jody Sperling Dancing on Arctic Ice

On October 5,2014,  Jody Sperling screened her dance performance, “Ice Floe” at the SUBMERGE! NYC Marine Science Festival in partnership with HII.  During her 43-day residency abroad with the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy, Sperling experienced the unique relationship between climate science, the human body and art. Sperling expresses the ice’s movement and biological makeup through her hand-painted custom and dance performance. The arctic is one of the geographical landscapes most significantly impacted by climate change; Sperling stated, “This ice, I danced on just months ago, is no longer there.”

To watch Sperling’s full video online, visit her website:

http://timelapsedance.com/arctic-spring/

The screening was accompanied by a lecture with Dr. Larry Pratt of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership withPositive Feedback and Artbridge, the Human Impacts Institute’s Fourth Annual Creative Climate Call to Action brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City.  In an effort to inspire people to think more critically about our actions and their impacts, The Creative Climate Awards program uses creativity to broaden the climate conversation, inspire action, and to combine art and education with diverse climate themes.

To see the entire lineup of events for the Creative Climate Awards, check out the Human Impacts institutes website: http://humanimpactsinstitute.org/CreativeClimateAwards.php

By Alison Schuettinger, 2014 Education Intern, Human Impacts Institute

 

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Creative Climate Awards Launch Party

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Creative Climate Awards Launch attendees

On Monday September 15th, 2014, The Human Impacts Institute kicked off its fourth annual Creative Climate Awards. The launch party was a culmination of all hard work and planning put forth by The Human Impacts Institute as well as the artists themselves. There were several pieces of art that came from over seas, as well as shipped from elsewhere in the states. The ceremony was held atTECO, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, which is also the Taiwanese Embassy of New York.

The space will feature all of the Creative Climate Awards 2D work for the entire month of the event.

There were two speakers that opened the ceremony, the first being Paul Wen-Liang Chang, who is the Taipei Ambassador who welcomed The Human Impacts Institute and all guests.  He stressed the importance of understanding not only your own carbon footprint, but the carbon footprint of your country as well. Taipei is very conscious of climate change and their influence. Second to speak was Tara DePorte, the founder and Executive Director of HII. She stated “I strongly believe that there needs to be a connection between creative expression  and climate change, in order to include many people from many walks of life”.

Examples of the artwork at the Creative Climate Awards Exhibit

Examples of the artwork at the Creative Climate Awards Exhibit

The opening ceremony was a great way to give all attendees an idea of what is in store for this years awards. In addition to the 2D work, there was a collaborative performance piece featuring the People’s Climate Chorus and Natalie in Motion Dance that was made especially for the event. Following the performance there was time for all of those in attendance to converse with one another as well as view the art.

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership withPositive Feedback and Artbridge, the Human Impacts Institute’s Fourth Annual Creative Climate Call to Action brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City.  In an effort to inspire people to think more critically about our actions and their impacts, The Creative Climate Awards program uses creativity to broaden the climate conversation, inspire action, and to combine art and education with diverse climate themes.

To see the entire lineup of events for the Creative Climate Awards, check out the Human Impacts institutes website: http://humanimpactsinstitute.org/CreativeClimateAwards.php

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