Last week CopArt held a parallel event in Cape Town to the COP17 happening in Cancun, Mexico. During a series of events, called Climate Fluency Exchanges, complex climate change information was turned into accessible and practical ways of knowing. “CopArt is about embodying climate change. It is about making it personal and relevant,” Elizabeth Fletcher, one of the organizers said.
The week started off with a train trip from Cape Town to Simonstown, to illustrate the rising sea level’s effect on the train route, main roads and houses. Coral artwork was created on the train, to make the public aware of the danger our coral reefs are in, due to the acidic quality of our oceans. Passengers were handed small chalkboards and chalk, to draw their ideas of nature and climate change.
Day two focused on values and reclaiming values. The group formed a mobile conversation from the Company Gardens to Kuyasa in Khayelitsha. The rest of the week offered presentations, talks, film screenings and shows and performances.
Creative responses to climate change
CopArt is a South African movement based in Cape Town aiming to cultivate a new and creative way of positively and constructively approaching the pressing environmental and developmental issues of our time. CopArt, Connecting Our Planet and Re-imagining Together, is a social learning movement for individuals and organizations that are concerned about our future in a changing climate.
The movement includes artists and creatives, activists, civil organizations, arts festival and event organizers, climate scientists, social scientists, international organizations, government groups and other individuals.
This past week, a Conference of Parties (COP) event was held in Cancun, Mexico. The event brings together heads of state to discuss and decide on the United Nations Framework Convention. This convention aims to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. However, COP events don’t consider the voice of the average person, and the 2009 Copenhagen event was a disappointment to environmentalists.
Working on a deeper level brings human aspect
South Africa’s CopArt wants to put back the human aspect into these events by working at a deeply conscious and more accessible level.
During the final event in the Company Gardens on Friday, the inspirational CopArt group rolled an enormous recycled paper sheet down the main path of the Gardens. We painted symbols, pictures and phrases with organic paint about planet earth and about our connection to nature. Kids and grown-ups passing by soon joined in and asked questions about climate change, which the CopArt group could answer and explain.
The next series of events will be in February 2011. To learn more about CopArt or how to get involved, visit their blog or join their Facebook page.
By Willemien Calitz