Cape farewell ShortcourseUK


Building on the previous expeditions and operations of Cape Farewell, a more localised initiative has been set up to engage with scientific and artistic practitioners from around the UK. The first was based from Falmouth and looked at the coastal and specific climatic areas around the coast of Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, and the second was centred on the waterways of central London.
The different boats we took and our destinations were fascinating, but what has really stayed with me from the trip is the time that we all had together as we travelled, during which we were able to talk and share ideas about our work and about what we were seeing. It was a very full schedule, as is everyday life for a lot of people, but being contained in one space together meant that we had the luxury of time to chat, talk and really discuss what we saw.
In addition, and exactly in keeping with the philosophy of the project, I found that the diversity of backgrounds from which we all came meant that through asking questions and hearing others talking, I was able to get a much clearer understanding of much of what we saw. I once had an art tutor who told us that we should always eavesdrop on conversations and tutorials in the studio, as some often best tutorials he had ever had were those given to other people.
The practical opportunities to sit down with a marine biologist or an environmental forensic scientist and ask them questions until I understood what they meant has resulted in a feeling of being very deeply rooted in understanding of some of the issues I have been looking at in my work. For some time I have been looking at reusing materials, implying vague concerns about reducing waste and recycling function or moments of use. I was under the assumption that issues around environmental concerns were so ubiquitous and widely understood that I had no authority to further expound on the ideas.
This says a lot to me about my own work and thinking than about the reality, however, I learnt a new term which summed up the problem for me:
Greenwash.
The notion that climate change and the environment is so frequently discussed these days and has therefore lost any sense of scale or opportunity for personal action.
As Daro Montag declared, “we do not have a problem with climate change, we have a predicament. Problems have solutions, predicaments have outcomes.” We all need to be adjusting to accommodate these developing outcomes, at the same time as taking responsibility for our actions which are contributing to the predicament.
Having experienced the Thames Flood Barrier and spoken with a member of staff regarding it’s limited lifespan, having heard from marine biologists who work with plastics, and having been shown a lost the lost city river of Fleet by a geographer, I feel empowered to comment on these issues, to try to respond to what I saw and heard, to help introduce the issues to people so that they can start to be aware of the part they play too.

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