Posted: 23.11.21 at 09:21 by Councillor Bruce de Saram (Exmouth Littleham Ward)
In this month’s column I am going to offer some reflections on the EDDC’s recent Climate Change Action Plan, in the light of my attending the two October 'carbon literacy' training sessions for councillors including the final 2021 Thelma Hulbert Gallery Climate Conversations event this month.
Our EDDC CEO indicated that 'this training has been especially designed to provide elected members and leaders with an understanding of the facts around climate change, and the knowledge on how best to engage and communicate politically around the climate emergency.'
I am going to focus attention specifically around objective ten of the action plan, which suggests that 'EDDC will deliver a culture and climate change programme led by the Thelma Hulbert Gallery to raise awareness of climate change through art and culture reinforcing the need to change lifestyle and acting now.'
You may ask as you read this how it is relevant to Littleham. The answer is because this summer the EDDC Climate Conversations programme opened with a major new multi-site exhibition of the work of artist Mike Perry at THG in Honiton, and Ocean in Exmouth Littleham. This was a discussion between artist, Mike Perry, and guest speaker Ben Borthwick, reflecting on the themes in Perry's current exhibition: Mike Perry Land/Sea. The importance of this work is to make us all aware of the fragility of the planet’s ecosystems and in so doing provide what can be termed a climate co-benefit.
Art can be described as a climate co benefit because it enables the artist to create images that may change the perception of the world in relation to climate change, for example an artist can use their skill to show the benefits of re-cycling or any other relevant theme. We are all aware that the aim in East Devon is to reduce carbon emissions effectively to zero by 2040 so the creative arts have a prominent role to play in this challenge.
We saw this link to art in the wider context of East Devon at the final climate conversation this November at THG exhibition which coincided with the opening of a new exhibition entitled 'The story of COP - a photo essay by Terry Jeavons' which I was delighted to be able to attend. You got the feeling that Terry had worked very hard on this project as it was something that as he said he did not expect to do. The prints which we looked at covered a period of five years and were taken in Doha, Warsaw and Paris. The images show the venue, the formalities, the routines, the protests and the intense final negotiations to move the climate change arguments forwards with such photos acting as a climate co benefit.
So to conclude this article has taken us on an artistic and climate awareness journey from Littleham right through to Honiton, Doha, Warsaw and Paris and at the same time demonstrated the relevance of Art to Climate change and its link into the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan. Furthermore if as you read this article you have not yet visited the THG I would recommend you do visit it.
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