Friday, December 30, 2011

Going Green: 12 Simple Steps for 2012

As we head into 2012, many of us will be resolving to lose those few extra pounds, save more money, or spend a few more hours with our families and friends. But there are also some resolutions we can make to make our lives a little greener. Each of us, especially in the United States, can make a commitment to reducing our environmental impacts.

The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Broadening access to sustainable energy is essential to solving many of the world’s challenges, including food production, security, and poverty.

Hunger, poverty, and climate change are issues that we can all help address. Here are 12 simple steps to go green in 2012:

(1) Recycle
Recycling programs exist in cities and towns across the United States, helping to save energy and protect the environment. In 2009, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require all homes and businesses to use recycling and composting collection programs. As a result, more than 75 percent of all material collected is being recycled, diverting 1.6 million tons from the landfills annually—double the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for each pound of aluminum recovered, Americans save the energy resources necessary to generate roughly 7.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity—enough to power a city the size of Pittsburgh for six years!
What you can do:
  • Put a separate container next to your trash can or printer, making it easier to recycle your bottles, cans, and paper.
(2) Turn off the lights
On the last Saturday in March—March 31 in 2012—hundreds of people, businesses, and governments around the world turn off their lights for an hour as part of Earth Hour, a movement to address climate change.
What you can do:
  • Earth Hour happens only once a year, but you can make an impact every day by turning off lights during bright daylight, or whenever you will be away for an extended period of time.
(3) Make the switch
In 2007, Australia became the first country to “ban the bulb,” drastically reducing domestic usage of incandescent light bulbs. By late 2010, incandescent bulbs had been totally phased out, and, according to the country’s environment minister, this simple move has made a big difference, cutting an estimated 4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. China also recently pledged to replace the 1 billion incandescent bulbs used in its government offices with more energy efficient models within five years.
What you can do:
  • A bill in Congress to eliminate incandescent in the United States failed in 2011, but you can still make the switch at home. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use only 20–30 percent of the energy required by incandescents to create the same amount of light, and LEDs use only 10 percent, helping reduce both electric bills and carbon emissions.
(4) Turn on the tap
The bottled water industry sold 8.8 billion gallons of water in 2010, generating nearly $11 billion in profits. Yet plastic water bottles create huge environmental problems. The energy required to produce and transport these bottles could fuel an estimated 1.5 million cars for a year, yet approximately 75 percent of water bottles are not recycled—they end up in landfills, litter roadsides, and pollute waterways and oceans. And while public tap water is subject to strict safety regulations, the bottled water industry is not required to report testing results for its products. According to a study, 10 of the most popular brands of bottled water contain a wide range of pollutants, including pharmaceuticals, fertilizer residue, and arsenic.
What you can do:
  • Fill up your glasses and reusable water bottles with water from the sink. The United States has more than 160,000 public water systems, and by eliminating bottled water you can help to keep nearly 1 million tons of bottles out of the landfill, as well as save money on water costs.
(5) Turn down the heat
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that consumers can save up to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills just by adjusting their thermostats. Turning down the heat by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours can result in savings of 5–15 percent on your home heating bill.
What you can do:
  • Turn down your thermostat when you leave for work, or use a programmable thermostat to control your heating settings.
(6) Support food recovery programs
Each year, roughly a third of all food produced for human consumption—approximately 1.3 billion tons—gets lost or wasted, including 34 million tons in the United States, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Grocery stores, bakeries, and other food providers throw away tons of food daily that is perfectly edible but is cosmetically imperfect or has passed its expiration date. In response, food recovery programs run by homeless shelters or food banks collect this food and use it to provide meals for the hungry, helping to divert food away from landfills and into the bellies of people who need it most.
What you can do:
  • Encourage your local restaurants and grocery stores to partner with food rescue organizations, like City Harvest in New York City or Second Harvest Heartland in Minnesota.
  • Go through your cabinets and shelves and donate any non-perishable canned and dried foods that you won’t be using to your nearest food bank or shelter.
(7) Buy local
“Small Business Saturday,” falling between “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” was established in 2010 as a way to support small businesses during the busiest shopping time of the year. Author and consumer advocate Michael Shuman argues that local small businesses are more sustainable because they are often more accountable for their actions, have smaller environmental footprints, and innovate to meet local conditions—providing models for others to learn from.
What you can do:
  • Instead of relying exclusively on large supermarkets, consider farmers markets and local farms for your produce, eggs, dairy, and meat. Food from these sources is usually fresher and more flavorful, and your money will be going directly to these food producers.
(8) Get out and ride
We all know that carpooling and using public transportation helps cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as our gas bills. Now, cities across the country are investing in new mobility options that provide exercise and offer an alternative to being cramped in subways or buses. Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. have major bike sharing programs that allow people to rent bikes for short-term use. Similar programs exist in other cities, and more are planned for places from Miami, Florida, to Madison, Wisconsin.
What you can do:
  • If available, use your city’s bike share program to run short errands or commute to work. Memberships are generally inexpensive (only $75 for the year in Washington, D.C.), and by eliminating transportation costs, as well as a gym membership, you can save quite a bit of money!
  • Even if without bike share programs, many cities and towns are incorporating bike lanes and trails, making it easier and safer to use your bike for transportation and recreation.
(9) Share a car
Car sharing programs spread from Europe to the United States nearly 13 years ago and are increasingly popular, with U.S. membership jumping 117 percent between 2007 and 2009. According to the University of California Transportation Center, each shared car replaces 15 personally owned vehicles, and roughly 80 percent of more than 6,000 car-sharing households surveyed across North America got rid of their cars after joining a sharing service. In 2009, car-sharing was credited with reducing U.S. carbon emissions by more than 482,000 tons. Innovative programs such as Chicago’s I-GO are even introducing solar-powered cars to their fleets, making the impact of these programs even more eco-friendly.
What you can do:
  • Join a car share program! As of July 2011, there were 26 such programs in the U.S., with more than 560,000 people sharing over 10,000 vehicles. Even if you don’t want to get rid of your own car, using a shared car when traveling in a city can greatly reduce the challenges of finding parking (car share programs have their own designated spots), as well as your environmental impact as you run errands or commute to work.
(10) Plant a garden
Whether you live in a studio loft or a suburban McMansion, growing your own vegetables is a simple way to bring fresh and nutritious food literally to your doorstep. Researchers at the FAO and the United Nations Development Programme estimate that 200 million city dwellers around the world are already growing and selling their own food, feeding some 800 million of their neighbors. Growing a garden doesn’t have to take up a lot of space, and in light of high food prices and recent food safety scares, even a small plot can make a big impact on your diet and wallet.
What you can do:
  • Plant some lettuce in a window box. Lettuce seeds are cheap and easy to find, and when planted in full sun, one window box can provide enough to make several salads worth throughout a season.
(11) Compost
And what better way to fertilize your garden than using your own composted organic waste. You will not only reduce costs by buying less fertilizer, but you will also help to cut down on food and other organic waste.
What you can do:
  • If you are unsure about the right ways to compost, websites such as and organizations such as the U.S. Composting Council, provide easy steps to reuse your organic waste.
(12) Reduce your meat consumption
Livestock production accounts for about 18 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for about 23 percent of all global water used in agriculture. Yet global meat production has experienced a 20 percent growth rate since 2000 to meet the per capita increase of meat consumption of about 42 kilograms.
What you can do:
  • You don’t have to become a vegetarian or vegan, but by simply cutting down on the amount of meat you consume can go a long way. Consider substituting one meal day with a vegetarian option. And if you are unable to think of how to substitute your meat-heavy diet, websites such as Meatless Monday and Eating Well offer numerous vegetarian recipes that are healthy for you and the environment.
The most successful and lasting New Year’s resolutions are those that are practiced regularly and have an important goal. Watching the ball drop in Times Square happens only once a year, but for more and more people across the world, the impacts of hunger, poverty, and climate change are felt every day. Thankfully, simple practices, such as recycling or riding a bike, can have great impact. As we prepare to ring in the new year, let’s all resolve to make 2012 a healthier, happier, and greener year for all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gift Economy

In its purest form, a gift economy is about the collective, allocation based on need, and abundance. Behind gifting is human relationship, generation of goodwill, and attention to the nurturance of the whole society and not just one’s immediate self and family. Maintaining economic and social relations outside of the market keeps cooperation and ethics thriving.

The Value of the Gift

A courtyard in Mali
A gift is never just a material object or service. One of its purposes is to maintain social connections. Be it a bracelet for the arm or a bed for the night, gifts are strings which create and strengthen friendships, family, regional community, religious grouping, and other social networks. dama reflects a worldview that society, indeed the world, is a web of relationships—not just between individuals, but between an inseparable whole. Gifting is not an economic activity so much as a spinning of that web, continually reinforcing interconnectedness and the collective. IEP educator and cultural worker Coumba Toure says, “Who we are is very much defined by how much we give to others. The objects are just the symbol. The highest gift is recognizing people and accepting to be connected to them.”

A second purpose of dama is to sustain and celebrate the values of sharing and humanity—what is known as maaya or ‘being human.’  “Maaya, the link we have between ourselves, is why dama works,” says Djingarey Maïga, president of the organization Women and Human Rights. “It’s the link with your neighbors, your parents, your relatives. If you can’t keep that link, you are not a human being.” She illustrates with the case of her children who, if they are at a neighbor’s house at mealtime, will be fed. If it is bath time, the neighbors will bathe her children as well. A common Malian expression explains maaya: “Life is a cord. We make the cord between ourselves, and you have to hold on to it. One should not drop the cord.”
Thirdly, dama is an essential strategy for keeping the community well. Malians’ understanding of community is that it is only as strong as its parts. Only by all providing for each other will all survive and thrive.

Wherever your gift ends up will be an important contribution toward everyone’s welfare. For example, one afternoon I pass a small cash gift on to my friend Madou. Yaye, a bystander looking on, immediately thanks me. “What you give Madou you also give me, because I will also benefit from his well-being.”

Coumba says, “If you ask any number of people how they live, what they eat, where they get what they wear, you would quickly notice that most of it has been given by someone.” dama is a time-honored, well-honed means of keeping away hunger, prolonged illness, and early death. It provides the social safety net which the state—egged on by the World Bank and IMF—has neglected: a working health system, social security for the elders, education, and child care.

In addition to trying to prevent anyone from being too poor, yet another purpose of dama is to prevent most everyone from becoming too rich. While in the U.S. there often exists social reinforcement to accumulate as much as possible, with wealth and the wealthy frequently being revered, in Mali the cultural norm is to give away as much of your accumulation as possible, with generosity and the generous being most respected. The social pressure to give acts as a disincentive to hoard, or what we call save. Coumba offers, “Being rich here means that the person has abandoned his or her values, that he or she is not giving enough to the needs around. People really start worrying about what has happened to that person.”

Passing it On 

School girls in Mali

In one study in Bamako, each person gave an average of 1.5 gifts per day. Another study found that gifts account for 18% of total expenditures among Malian villagers, comprising the largest single category. Presents are passed along everywhere: a small household decoration, change to buy a school notebook. When a family’s harvest of millet or peanuts is ready, they pass on a portion to the homes around them. If a household is hosting guests, neighbors will typically send over food.

Services are rendered, too, mainly by girls and women: sweeping or washing dishes, running to the corner to buy sugar, tending a market stall, lending a chair or a pot, braiding hair. Women often care for the children of a neighbor who has to leave home to work.

During the rainy season, when the heavens open with a stupendous force, standard practice is that the closest household offers hospitality to an immediately drenched passer-by, inviting the friend or stranger in to dry off with a towel, share a cup of hot tea, and wait out the torrent. Community organizations regularly give small contributions of money or the loan of a conference room to another group. Town residents give lodging to those from their original village until the new migrants can get on their feet. The examples are endless.

Malian homes themselves are testaments to dama. One study found that households consist of an average of 11.5 individuals. They may include orphans, refugees of abuse, or those whose first (biological) family is too poor to feed them or too far from a school to educate them.

Gifts encircle each life cycle. When a woman gives birth, neighbors care for all her material needs for the first forty days, organizing themselves to share in providing meals, milk, and the like. At a baptism and wedding, guests show up with soap, a length of cloth, some palm wine, or a dish of food. On the seventh day after the death of a wealthy person, his or her family distributes food to the children of the area.

Signs of dama abound throughout religious practice, too. Every Friday, Muslim communities distribute milk and bread to village children. Catholic women organize themselves to feed the village priest throughout the year, each one signing up for two weeks at a time. The Rastafari Movement of Mali gives half of the produce of its community gardens to street children.

Lines of giving are complex and often circuitous. “You never know how it will come back. But you have to give because you can’t let the cord break with you,” explains IEP backbone Maria Diarra. She tells of helping a man in the community some years back. Now the man’s sister brings Maria’s family gifts of charcoal and food, gives them rides, and visits whenever she comes to Kati.

“Maybe the link gets broken in a larger community," says Coumba. "But when you are in a community where everyone believes that, it really does work.”

And in the World's Richest Nation...

Western academics are often tempted, as one of them noted, to delineate “a radical break between premodern and modern cultures, with the gift reserved for the premodern, while we must deal through the market and the state.”  We are to believe that, as capitalism developed and exchange systems spread, markets supplanted morals and gifting was destroyed.

Certainly the messages many of us got from childhood to accumulate riches and spend them on ourselves, strive to make that theory real. And yet, in the most consumptive nation on earth, gifts are given frequently, spontaneously, and without thought of reciprocity. One gift advocate offers this analysis: “We just don’t have the right glasses on to see the gifting happening all around us. We see it as exchange manqué or only a defensive position of those who aren’t capable of exchange.”

In fact, people in the U.S. give infinite forms of services and goods to family and friends, neighbors, and strangers without calculation of return. We give where there is no emotional tie, no reciprocity, and often (in the case of a donation to a community organization, for example) not even a thanks from the ultimate recipient. We give anonymously; think of those multi-million dollar donations from unnamed individuals reported from time to time in the newspaper. We push strangers’ cars, give their batteries a jump in a parking lot, shovel snow from elderly neighbors’ walks, leave tips for waitresses we’ll never see again. We even donate organs. In 2005, people in the U.S. gave $260.28 billion to non-profits and charities,  and 61.2 million volunteered, with each person giving a median of 52 hours per year.

Escaping the Crocodile's Lake

dama is under threat by the neoliberal marketplace that is converting much of the gifting sphere to exchange relationships, monetizing the economy, and placing a dollar value on many forms of worth. West Africans’ challenge today is to keep dama thriving despite the expansion of markets, advertising, and cash transactions. A canary in the proverbial coal mine, dama is an indicator of how well cultural traditions can hold up under conditions of globalization.

What is certain is that dama will survive in at least a subterranean way, as do other gifting and solidarity economies throughout the world. Also certain is that dama and other non-market economies will remain strong and viable only if organized movements vigorously defend them.

Kadidiatou Baby, director of the Malian Association for the Support of Schooling of Girls, suggests that, “We can’t go fully back to the traditional economy. But we can organize people so they can better support each other in a parallel economy that nurtures society. You can exploit individuals easily, but it’s harder before a well-organized system.”

As free-market capitalism is being globalized, so are economies that function on a different logic, that of solidarity. Grassroots movements have organized community kitchens in Latin America, fair trade production in South Asia, clothing and book exchanges in North America, and open source software networks in Europe—to name only a few of the spiraling examples. They emphasize women's initiatives, ecological agriculture, ethical financing, and appropriate technology. The World Social Forum hosts a permanent solidarity economy network, and the U.S. Solidarity Economic Network held its first meeting in March, 2009. Brazil even has a secretary of state for solidarity economy.

“You know that difficulty usually gives way to creativity,” Kadidiatou says. “Sometimes people come out of the crocodiles’ lake alive. Go figure how they got out, but they do. Even if they leave with one less limb, they do. When you believe in the survival of humanity, you invent the response.”

Beverly Bell is Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the coordinator of Other Worlds, which collaborates with grassroots movements in documenting and publicizing large-scale economic alternatives, and generates support for them. Special thanks go to the research and analysis of Maria Diarra, Coumba Toure, Debbie Fredo, Anne Mayher, Genevieve Vaughan, and Moira Birss.
For more information on dama, including a short video, check Other Worlds’ web site: For more on gift economies, see

  Cooking Up Karma: A Taste of the Gift Economy

Video: At a restaurant in Berkeley, there's no bill at the end of the meal—just a request to pay it forward for those who come after you.
Video courtesy of ToanLamTV
What if your meal was paid for by the people who dined before you? At Karma Kitchen, an event that occurs every Sunday at Taste of Himalayas in Berkeley, Calif., that is exactly what happens. Volunteers serve food to hungry patrons who in turn pay forward what they value their experience at. There are no prices on the menu and the bill reads $0.00.

With busy locations now in D.C. and Chicago, Karma Kitchen is a success in attracting enthusiasm for a gift economy where what you give benefits those who come after you—and you benefit from everyone who came before. Pay it forward for future diners and rack up the karma points!

37 Ways to Join the Gift Economy

You don't have to participate in a local currency or service exchange to be part of the cooperative gift economy. Any time you do a favor for a family member, neighbor, colleague, or stranger you're part of it. Here are some ways you can spend time in the gift economy, where you'll find fun, freedom, and connection. 
  1. Start a dinner co-op. Rotate among the homes of friends and neighbors for weekly or monthly potlucks.
  2. Help a local farmer with the harvest in exchange for some of the crop.
  3. Put up a traveler.
  4. Hold twice-yearly sport supply exchanges so kids can acquire new skis and baseball mitts and everyone can try out a new sport.
  5. Harvest wild or unwanted fruits and vegetables.
  6. Grow your own, and give some of it away.
  7. Share seeds and clippings from your garden - especially native and "heritage" species. Hold an annual plant exchange.
  8. Organize a "non-consumption booth" at a farmers' market or street fair. At the Charlottetown Farmers' Market, the Environmental Chat Corner hosts discussions of environmental issues, sustainable building and landscaping, ecotourism, and community development.
  9. Buy food or supplies in bulk and share with friends.
  10. Form a home-repair team to fix your own place and others'.
  11. Request help of someone usually regarded as needy.
  12. Create your own rainy-day fund with your friends. One group pooled $1,000 each, which they lent to any in the group who needed it. The fund helped members survive a lost job, a stolen bicycle, and a broken arm.
  13. Make space available to other people to grow food on your land.
  14. Borrow garden space from someone who has extra land; give them,or a food bank, some of the produce.
  15. Give co-workers neck and shoulder massages.
  16. Offer to mentor a young person.
  17. Ask a 12-year-old to show you how to get onto the Worldwide Web.
  18. Throw a block party.
  19. Show up at a soup kitchen and ask to volunteer help.
  20. Rent out extra space to people needing a place to sleep, work, or just to get away, or exchange the space for yard work or baby-sitting.
  21. Convert a duplex, apartment building, old nursing home, or seminary into a cohousing community.
  22. Convert a barn or warehouse into a space for artists and start-up businesses.
  23. Create a space for neighbors to keep and share infrequently used tools and extra garden supplies.
  24. Start a baby-sitting or child care co-op.
  25. Hold a monthly clean-up of a beach, park, roadway, river bank; get coffee houses to donate goodies.
  26. Plant trees. Get the city to select and donate them.
  27. Find a person on each block who will help neighbors get assistance when needed - from other neighbors when possible.
  28. Share a car.
  29. Or start a car co-op with various vehicles for different uses. Share expenses based on mileage.
  30. Paint donated bicycles and place them in downtown areas with signs indicating they're for anyone to use.
  31. Become a foster parent, a 'big brother' or 'big sister.' Notice the ways everyone benefits!
  32. Exchange lessons, for example, cooking for carpentry.
  33. Teach a skill, like carpentry, and ask your students to donate time to others.
  34. Adopt a stream or a highway to restore, maintain, and beautify.
  35. Work with your neighbors to develop a vision for your neighborhood's future.
  36. Hold talent shows. Give kids lots of recognition, and everyone opportunity to discover their hidden talents.
  37. Create your own money. Use ideas from YES! to start a community currency or skills exchange.

5th World Summit on Arts and Culture


Reports on each of the World Summit sessions are provided below by clicking on the session title below.  Where we have been provided with a copy of a speaker’s presentation, this is linked to the speakers name in the programme below and is also linked to the speakers profiles on the speakers page.  Please note that the presentations are large files and may take some time to download.

TUESDAY 4 October
A sense of country and connection to the land is central to Indigenous peoples. As the landscape, environment and societies evolve, the broader community is also increasingly aware of the inextricable link between culture and place.
KEYNOTE SESSIONModerated by Robyn Archer AOJacques Martial talked about the links between culture and place. He is President of the Parc de la Villette in Paris, one of the best funded cultural institutions in France. While in the past local residents, many of whom are from North Africa, used the park for family leisure and play, very few entered the major cultural facilities which are integral to the park. Jacques Martial came into the Parc with an express policy for inclusion, both for those local residents and the arts and artists from France d’Outres-Mers: he will tell us how this is playing out and about his plans for the next five years. He has also been actively engaged in the region which includes Guadeloupe and Martinique and can offer a perspective on the arts there.
Eduard Miralles responded from a crucial point of intersection. How can local governments ensure that their cultural policies allow for the kind of radical cultural inclusion of long-resident minorities and recent arrivals as described by Jacques Martial? How can policy balance the sometimes conflicting emotions of artists and residents in the increasingly diverse mix of populations in our big cities and neighbourhoods? And what are the other cultural priorities for local government in the twenty-first century?
PANEL SESSION - My PlaceRocco Landesman, Pooja Sood and Lachlan McDonald talked about the creative intersections in three very different places in the world, and how the creative projects they are involved in are very much determined by the particular nature of their place.  The economic revival of struggling American towns, an urban village in New Delhi, and small communities in the vast spaces of remote Western Australia all point to the specifics of ‘place’ and their intersection with the arts. The session was moderated by Professor Paul James.
ROUNDTABLES1: Indigenous wisdom of place (Supported by Creative New Zealand)
Dr Treahna Hamm (artist, Australia, of Yorta Yorta and Wadi Wadi peoples), Vernon Ah Kee (artist, Australia, born in North Queensland of the Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidindji and Gugu Yimithirr peoples) Tainui Stephens (independent film and television producer, New Zealand, Te Rarawa). Moderator: Louise Profeit-Leblanc (Aboriginal Arts Coordinator, Canada Council, from the Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation of the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada).
The Earth’s Indigenous peoples have a richly layered connection to ‘country’. This intimate knowledge can inform 21st century environmental behaviour, especially through the arts, but also has the ability to influence multiple perspectives on contemporary art and life. The particular relationship of Indigenous artists to their sense of place is not only important for their own art, but offers vital pathways for all the arts. There is much to learn, and this is the table for fashioning a policy initiative which would enable that knowledge and art to be better understood and more widely disseminated.
2: A climate for change (Supported by the Asia-Europe Foundation as part of its Connect2Culture programme)
Vincensius ‘venzha’ Christianwan (Artist, House of Natural Fiber, Indonesia), Theo Anagnostopoulos (Founder, SciCo, Greece), Alison Tickell (Director, Julie’s Bicycle, England), Pooja Sood (Director, KHOJ International Artists’ Association, India). Moderator: Angharad Wynne-Jones (Producer, Tipping Point Australia).
There are multiple initiatives throughout the world for addressing the effects of climate change. Many artists, especially in the visual arts media, have addressed the issues through their work, but how can policy ensure best practice? There are excellent individual examples such as Julie’s Bicycle in London, the Sydney Theatre Company’s award-winning Greening the Wharf, and numerous individual festivals insisting on recycling and carbon offsets. Can policy pick up on these individual initiatives and ensure more widespread adoption of environmentally sustainable practices in the arts?
3: Rebuilding communitiesMaría Victoria Alcaraz (Director General, San Martín Cultural Centre, Argentina), Komi M’Kegbe Foga Tublu (Manager Cultural Heritage, Ecole du patrimoine africain, Benin), Pilar Kasat (Managing Director, Community Arts Network, Western Australia). Moderator: Elise Huffer (Culture Adviser, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Fiji).
When remote areas or fragile systems are hit by unexpected disturbances such as drought, flood, earthquakes, fire, but also shifting economies, job-loss, diminishing population and resources, how can the arts help rehabilitate such communities? Many artists, both local and visiting, want to work with affected communities and the communities are often keen to welcome artists into their midst. What are the policies that can facilitate such collaborations? In this session, our starting point examples are a ‘cultural first aid kit’ developed in response to the Chilean earthquake, the place of culinary art specific to the Batammariba people in building cultural tourism for Togo and Benin, and the inspirational story of resilience and hope in Narrogin, a wheatbelt town in Western Australia.
4: Invigorating cities  Moira Sinclair (Executive Director, Arts Council England, London), Say Kosal (President, National League of Communes/Sangkats, Cambodia), Marcus Westbury (Founder, Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia), Eduard Miralles (Cultural Relations Advisor, Barcelona Provincial Council, Spain). Moderator: Sue Beal (Chair, Cultural Development Network, Australia).
Cities have become a hot topic. Recently the global balance gently tipped to a place where, for the first time in its recorded history, there were more people living in cities than not. And cities are growing. There are infinite ways in which the arts play a role in these places where rich and poor increasingly live side by side, and diverse cultures of age and race jostle. Are arts policies responding to these realities or are new frameworks required?
5: Changing places - evolving cultural policies in Asia (Supported by ASEF/, an online portal of the Asia-Europe Foundation)
Dr Chaitanya Sambrani (Lecturer, art historian and curator, Australian National University School of Art and Social Sciences, Australia), Shen Qilan (Editor, Art World Magazine, China), Dr Kiwon Hong (Assistant professor of cultural policy, Sookmyung Women’s University, Korea), MaLou Jacob (Executive Director, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippines). Moderator: Lesley Alway (Arts Director, Asialink, Australia).
This roundtable took as its starting point the intersection of arts and cultural policies with international relations and more specifically the context provided by the shifts in geopolitics and world economies in Asia. It has been acknowledged that we are now living in the ‘Asian Century’ as the focus of economic development shifts from West to East, particularly through the emergence of the two new super economies - China and India.
This transference of economic power and influence has been accompanied by increasing interest in cultural engagement from within, without and across Asia. At the government level, this intersection is often referred to as ‘soft-power’ and whilst it risks collision with ‘nation-state’ marketing, it also provides new avenues for the arts to develop new bilateral and multilateral platforms for engagement. Additionally, some of the most stimulating projects have been generated from non-government and private initiatives.
6: Screening the landscapeVilsoni Hereniko (Director, Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture, and Pacific Studies,  Fiji), Steven Loft (Trudeau National Visiting Fellow, Ryerson University, Canada). Moderator: John Oster (Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Art Code, Australia)
With the background of Vilsoni Hereniko’s film The Land has Eyes, and others such as Warwick Thornton’s uncompromising portrayal of central Australia, Samson and Delilah, we discuss how screen-based arts paint powerful pictures of place. Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia was used by government tourism departments to leverage’ promotion for clear reasons. Does arts policy abandon screen to commercial forces, and if not, can it do more? What sparkling new policy initiative would allow screenbased arts to fulfil their 21st century potential?
7: Global connectivityDr Mario Merialdi (World Health Organisation, Switzerland), Jo Dorras (Wan Smolbag, Vanuatu), Katelijn Verstraete (Asia-Europe Foundation, Singapore). Moderator: Rose Hiscock (Executive Director, Arts Development, Australia Council)
The economic responsibility of developed nations towards developing nations is globally acknowledged, but have we taken the same level of responsibility in the arts? Artists have taken the lead in global collaborations of all kinds. Cultural ‘fusion’ is age-old and continuing, but are we doing the same in policy and arts-support?
At this Summit we had many participants from wealthy countries with healthy arts budgets and formal frameworks. But we also had participants from countries which have art and artists, but little or no formal policy frameworks or support for the arts. What are our responsibilities and how can we put them into action?
8: The outer limitsErica Seccombe (artist, Australia), Professor Tim Senden (Professor, ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Australia), Gavin Artz (CEO, Australian Network for Art and Technology). Moderator: Pia Waugh (IT Policy Advisor to Senator Kate Lundy and Digital Culture Sphere Coordinator, Australia).
Throughout history there have been artists who have leapt to use new technologies (electric light, recorded sound, photography, film etc). As advances in science and technology increase exponentially in the 21st century, artists’ experimentation abounds and in many cases reveals new potentials to their inventors. How does arts policy enable and support these collaborations and what would be the one big new policy shift or idea that would help arts keep in step with science in coming years?
9: Moving fast and flexible – the changing landscape of digital technologies   Becky Schutt (Fellow, Judge Business School, Cambridge University, England), Shane Simpson (Special Counsel, Simpsons, Australia), Pius Knüsel (Director, Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council). Moderator: Katherine Watson (Director, European Cultural Foundation, Netherlands).
The digital revolution has the power to strike fear into the hearts of anyone working in traditional real time/real space artforms. The fear is that download culture will eat away at traditional arts audiences and its popularity with digital natives will eventually see arts support shift to these newer forms of creativity and away from books, theatre, live music etc. But many see the huge opportunities that digital technology and communications can bring to artists and artforms, if they can open up and embrace them.

WEDNESDAY 5 October 2011
The impact of the arts on the human landscape and how artists engage with community concerns such as crime prevention, poverty reduction, social cohesion, health and education will underscore the day’s discussions.
KEYNOTE SESSIONModerated by Robyn Archer AODr Tim Greacen made the claim that without health there is no creativity and vice versa. From his perspective as both psychologist and singer, he has explored the way health and the arts are intertwined. He has written extensively on doctor/patient relationships and advocated successful arts/health programmes such as Video et Sante which offers a pathway to mental health through new skills and creativity. He has also worked throughout the world in programmes for people with AIDS.
Jo Dorras and Danny Marcel, members of Wan Smolbag will respond from the perspective of a theatre company based in Port Vila for more than 20 years. They are not funded through a culture programme or policy, but largely through foreign aid which supports their social welfare and health programmes over a wide, inclusive base throughout Vanuatu and its remote islands. They have a particular focus on sexually transmitted diseases through the arts of drama (theatre and TV) and music, and create skills development opportunities in all branches of these media.
Paul Komesaroff, Lucina Jiménez and Mike van Graan (traducción español) talked about those places where the arts intersect with real danger. In many places the arts are still viewed as a luxury and many of us are proud to describe the arts as a safe place to discuss dangerous issues, but there are places where just being an artist is dangerous, and others where art is obliged to intersect with armed conflict, serious unrest, and their consequences. The session was moderated by Amanda Smith (Presenter, Artworks, ABC Radio National, Australia).
ROUNDTABLES10: Across the divide   .Martin Drury (Arts Director, the Arts Council Ireland), Bilel Aboudi (Deputy Director of International Cooperation and External Relations/Public Services Advisor, Ministry of Culture, Tunisia). Moderator: Anne Dunn (Consultant, Australia).
What is the nature of the relationship between policy makers and arts practitioners and how might we bridge that gap? Could there be a new system of structures that enable holistic intersections with the myriad sectors that exist in society? As Martin Drury has written ‘The profile of the decision-makers and the vested interests of the “arts sector ” are among many barriers to full public participation in the arts. The creative intersections which were the focus of this Summit are part of a Cartesian geometry that never quite succeeds in squaring the circle. What might the alternative geometry look like?!’
11: Getting traction with arts and education policiesMichael Wimmer (Founder and General Manager, Educult, Austria), Linda Lorenza (Senior Project Officer, Arts, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority).  Moderator: Lucina Jiménez (Anthropologist, Mexico)
The field of arts education and arts in education is awash with enthusiasm, passion, good thinking, even better intentions and new policy initiatives. But how much actually changes? Why have some countries succeeded in establishing well funded and effective arts education programmes, while others are losing ground due to changing political situations, and still others have yet to win the case for arts in the curriculum? How can arts education policies be more robust and what are the connections, actual and potential, between arts, artists and policymaking?  Learn more about what the tensions are and help tease out the one big thing that might actually work for everyone.
12: Sante! Arts and wellbeing      Dr Tim Greacen (Director, Maison Blanche Research Laboratory, France), Pamela Udoka (President/Artistic Director, Children’s Arts Development Initiative, Nigeria), Raelene Baker (Principal Indigenous Advisor, Arts Queensland, Australia). Moderator: Professor Ruth Rentschler (Board member, VicHealth, Australia).
Research increasingly yields more evidence about the positive effects of the arts on human health. And it is coming at us from all angles and in all media: from ambient colour, design and music to skills development and practice by patients themselves - the arts work at many levels. The field in focus here is mental health, but the session will also consider the physical health perspective and all speakers have an intimate association with the arts in this context. From a dense field we need one beautiful flower to rise up as the most effective new policy initiative.
13: Who put the ‘dis’ in disability?Gaelle Mellis (Resident Designer, Restless Dance Theatre, Australia), Emma Bennison (Executive Officer, Arts Access Australia). Moderator: Becky Llewellyn (Director, Disability Consultancy Services, Australia).
The world abounds with goodwill towards the inclusion of everyone into the arts, whether as artist, arts-worker or audience. But there is often a cost associated with accessibility and inclusion, and when funding feels the squeeze, the temptation is to cut back on practical applications. The wellmade plans are dis-continued, dis-missed and the extent of the problem sometimes dis-guised. So what’s possible? And what’s most needed at this time? The answer to those questions is what this session should take to the final plenary.
14: The art of misdemeanourAndrew Dixon (Chief Executive, Creative Scotland), PANG Khee Teik (Arts Programme Director, Annexe Gallery, Malaysia) and Scott Rankin (Big hART, Australia) Moderator: Lydia Miller (Executive Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts, Australia Council).
The intersection of arts with what Scott Rankin has called ‘outsider culture’ has produced surprising results, as has the work of artists in prisons and in other contexts outside the law. While rehabilitation may be the key concern on the inside, and political action on the outside, the fact is that art often reaches beyond the immediate objectives. Good writing, good music, good visual art and video, theatre and screen-based work can emerge from the ‘inside’ and at the outermost edge. Where and how could policy have an effect on the potential of these transactions?
15: Interculturality: Creating dynamic intersections      Professor Michael Mel (Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Goroka, Papua New Guinea), Paula Abood (Arab Australian writer), Nike Jonah (Project Manager, decibel Performing Arts Showcase, Arts Council England), Dr Tim Curtis Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO office Bangkok, Thailand). Moderator: Magdalena Moreno (CEO, Kultour, Australia).
When people of diverse cultures meet and engage, a dynamic space is created. This session explores the creative environment that emerges when cultural diversity is at the heart of the artistic synapse. The 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions states that cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only in respect of economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. What role can cultural policy play in stimulating the potential for living encounters where the unscripted more often than not has the most significant and systemic impact?
16: It’s not just a case of ‘show me the money’Anmol Vellani (Executive Director, India Foundation for the Arts), Rupert Myer (Philanthropist and Chair, National Gallery of Australia), Ariunaa Tserenpil (Director, Arts Council of Mongolia). Moderator: Louise Walsh (Director, Artsupport Australia, Australia Council).
The place of philanthropy in the arts differs spectacularly from country to country, even city to city. Where governments do support the arts, from time to time they are inspired by the level of philanthropy in the USA and crave that situation for their own countries. Yet the global financial crisis has proven how fragile such a system is. What is the relationship between the philanthropic spirit and public policy in the arts? Should it be more than just a matter of input credits? What is at the heart of the creative intersection of artists and private generosity? Is something else needed in policy terms?
17: Not such strange bedfellows      Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg (Chief, Creative Economy Programme, UNCTAD, Switzerland), Farai Mpfunya (Executive Director, Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust), Elizabeth Ann Macgregor (Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia).   Moderator: Professor Justin O’Connor (Professor, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Australia).
There was a time when some artists scorned corporate investment in the arts and commercialisation of culture was seen as cynical and shallow; but now it is understood that on the one hand artists can work in genuine collaboration with corporate partners, and on the other hand they can become businesses in their own right. The worldwide interest in public policy that supports ‘creative industries’ is partly a response to a new breed of artist that sees no conflict between art and business. Is there however a conflict between support for those arts which have commercial potential with those that will always need subsidy? How does policy deal with it?
18: Finally – the numbers      Professor David Throsby (Professor of Economics, Macquarie University, Australia), Dr Audrey Yue (Lecturer, University of Melbourne, Australia). Moderator: Annamari Laaksonen (Research Manager, IFACCA Australia).
Statistics on the arts, how they are collected and how the arts are evaluated in formal ways may seem dry stuff to artists, but they are invaluable when it comes to mounting arguments for policy which drives support for the arts, arts education, regional priorities etc. How can the numbers be most effectively gathered and applied, and how do we ensure that the arts retain their freedom of expression and operation aside from the need for formal evaluation?
OPEN SESSIONS – CREATING CONNECTIONSAfter the hard work in the roundtables, and as the rapporteurs work to present in the final plenary on Thursday, this was the delegates' chance to pursue their own interests and pick two sessions from an eclectic array of options that, in one way or another, relate to the idea of creative intersections. Presentations ranged from projects to publications, case-studies to artworks.
Presentations by delegates, including the performance below by Jacques Martial.
Mauricio Delfin,
Maryam Rasihidi, PhD Candidate, Research School of Humanities & the Arts, Australian National University, Australia
Further presentations by delegates.
Hossam Nassar, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Culture, Egypt
Hilary Ogbechie, Acting Director - Extension Services, National Council for Arts & Culture, Nigeria
Mahiriki Tangaroa and Michael Gunn, National Museum of the Cook Islands and National Gallery of Australia
In the first session, in Plenary 1, Jacques Martial gave a special delegates-only performance (in English) of L’echange, Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, Aimé Césaire’s seminal prose/poem which coined the word ‘negritude’ and was ubsequently taken up by America’s Black Rights movement. This work was co-commissioned by 10 Days on the Island (Tasmania) and has been performed all over the world including before the French President on the occasion of the anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery in France.
THURSDAY 6 October 2011 
Having explored Place and People, we concluded the Summit by considering the policies and programmes that might help underpin resilient partnerships between artists and other areas of society.
WRAP UPModerated by Robyn Archer
Professor Brad Haseman (Queensland University of Technology, Australia) summarised the discussion from the first two days and in particular the roundtables on PLACE and PEOPLE. He outlined some of the key ideas for arts policy initiatives (POLICIES) to support artists to intersect with broad social issues while maintaining the integrity of their development and practice.
FINAL KEYNOTE SESSIONA session to promote some food for thought and action.
Alison Tickell (Julie’s Bicycle, UK). For many global citizens environmental sustainability is the most important issue of our time. While many in the arts express their concern, just as many still struggle with how they can affect the kinds of changes which will make a difference. Julie’s Bicycle is a shining example of achievement in this area and should inspire us to move towards equivalent goals in our own spheres.  The session was moderated by Robyn Archer AO.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A framework for a sustainable economy

Project Overview

“Our food reserves are at a 50-year low, but by 2030 we need to be producing 50% more food. At the same time, we will need 50% more energy, and 30% more fresh water… You can't think about dealing with one without considering the others. We must deal with all of these together."
- John Beddington, UK Government’s Chief Scientist
There is growing recognition that our global economy is unsustainable. John Beddington talks of a ‘perfect storm’ of food, energy and water shortages converging in 2030. Underlying this are deep long-term trends such as population growth, climate change, persistent poverty and poor health. Governments and business are beginning to take action. Yet we struggle to understand what is meant by sustainable economy. And how do you turn sustainability risks into opportunities? Both the Technology Strategy Board and Aviva Investors have been engaging with these issues proactively. We’ve been working with these two organisations to develop a Sustainable Economy Framework (SEF) that defines what we mean by environmental limits and social value.
What is the ‘Sustainable Economy Framework’ (SEF)?
The SEF sets out the parameters for a sustainable future economy that can help today’s investments and business decisions deliver sustainable value over the long term. The SEF defines the characteristics of a sustainable economy: one that operates within safe environmental limits and enriches people’s lives. It has been developed by Forum for the Future in partnership with Aviva Investors and the Technology Strategy Board and is based on analysis of over 40 sources and frameworks examining the topic of sustainable economy, as well as extensive stakeholder consultation.
The outermost ring of the SEF describes the key environmental boundaries that any successful economy must respect. The second ring describes the social and political conditions which we believe are necessary to support a complex, flourishing global civilization. These all work towards delivering the desired outcomes (the ‘bullseye’ of the SEF) – universal and continuous access for current and future generation to the resources and opportunities necessary to live well.
We have developed similar but different versions of the SEF to align to the strategic priorities of Aviva Investors and Technology Strategy Board.
Read more on how Aviva Investors and Forum for the Future see the role of capital markets in facilitating a sustainable economy and more on howTechnology Strategy Board are integrating the SEF into their investments.
Contact us with comments on the framework or to discuss how you can use within your own organisation by emailing

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sustainable Cities - Urban Excellence

Voula Mega - Sustainable Cities for the Third Millennium The Odyssey of Urban Excellence.pdf  

60979915 Green Urbanism

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Life in 2050 - Sustainable Lifestyle

Sustainable Lifestyles 2050

For decades there was a dramatically increasing upward trend in consumption levels, first in what was then called the ‘developed’ world, and then in the ‘emerging’ markets. For a time it appeared that there was no stopping it, but we finally managed to find ways to create sustainable alternatives that didn’t feel like lesser options; to find early signs of a real shift in values; and to find the right ways of communicating both of these trends to build civic will.  Our organization was active in each of these areas, through our aligned work with partners, and our understanding of consumers. It all began when we partnered with Collective Invention to create a deeply immersive futures experience called Sustainable Lifestyles 2050.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sustainable Materials

Free download at:

Julian M Allwood
Jonathan M Cullen

with Mark A Carruth, Daniel R Cooper, Martin McBrien, Rachel L Milford, Muiris C Moynihan, Alexandra CH Patel 

Virtuous Circles: Values, Systems and Sustainability

by Andy Jones, Michel Pimbert and Janice Jiggins

Free download at

IIED code:
Nov 2011 - IIED, IUCN 
Source pub:
Reclaiming Diversity and Citizenship 
Our current way of providing food and other basic needs involves industrialised systems that are linear, centralised and globalised. In the linear approach, it is assumed that at one end of a system there is an unlimited supply of energy and raw materials (which there isn’t), while at the other the environment has an infinite capacity to absorb pollution and waste (which it hasn’t). The inevitable result is resource shortages on the one hand and solid waste, climate change, biodiversity loss, and air pollution problems on the other.

An alternative to the current linear paradigm is to develop productive systems that minimise external inputs, pollution and waste (as well as risk, dependency and costs) by adopting a circular metabolism. There are two principles here, both reflecting the natural world. The first is that natural systems are based on cycles, for example water, nitrogen and carbon. Secondly, there is very little waste in natural systems. The ‘waste’ from one species is food for another, or is converted into a useful form by natural processes and cycles.

This book shows how these principles can be used to create systems and settlements that provide food, energy and water without consuming large quantities of fossil fuels and other finite resources. In the process, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution are minimised whilst human well being, food and livelihood security, and democratic control are enhanced.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cities and Climate Change

Natural Solutions for Climate Change

Natural Solutions

Cities and Climate Change

Cities and Climate Change

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How the Dutch got their cycling infrastructure

How did the Dutch get their cycling infrastructure? This question keeps coming back because it is of course relevant to people who want what the Dutch have.

Road building traditions go back a long way and they are influenced by many factors. But the way Dutch streets and roads are built today is largely the result of deliberate political decisions in the 1970s to turn away from the car centric policies of the prosperous post war era. Changed ideas about mobility, safer and more livable cities and about the environment led to a new type of streets in the Netherlands.

The recent video to introduce the Dutch Cycling Embassy explains this very briefly, but there is a lot more that can be said about it.
Please watch this video before you read on.

“The Netherlands’ problems were and are not unique, their solutions shouldn’t be that either.” 

Thus ends the video, but what do I mean by that? I think the Dutch could and should be copied. If you look at the key factors for the change in Dutch thinking, you see these are just as valid today. The world is still too dependent on fossil fuels and many cities in the world have congested streets. Streets and roads which are also very dangerous, especially for vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists. And that is even more so when these road users are elderly or children.

Other elements leading to the change are also not unique. That is not only so for the protest posters.

Cycle protest posters Amsterdam 1980
Critical Mass posters 2007-2011 various places

The mass cycling protests in the 1970s look very similar as well, compared to protests in other countries today. Like the massive number of people protesting by bike on London's Blackfriars bridge just a couple of days ago.
Cycling protest tour 1979, Amsterdam.
Blackfriars protest tour 2011, London.
(Picture by Joe Dunckley)

Even the rogue painting of cycling infrastructure on roads is something that could be witnessed just a few weeks ago in Moscow.

Painting cycle lanes, Amsterdam 1980
Painting cycle lanes, Moscow 2011

So where then is the difference? The below picture from 1974 says a lot. It shows the then prime minister of the Netherlands Joop den Uyl and his wife, accepting a record from the foundation ‘Stop de kindermoord’ (stop the child murder) with a protest song.

Prime Minister Joop den Uyl and his wife accepting a record with a protest song by 'Stop de Kindermoord'  with the radical title:
"playing on the streets: death penalty"
This was at their home where they were adressed as parents. It gives a clear picture of how the pressure groups of the 1970s managed to get the political powers to listen to them and take action. It took them a decade, before not only decision makers, but also the planners finally listened to the protests. Getting the people who take decisions and those who have to draw plans for the streets to adopt the new ideas: that is where the real change started.