Archive | August, 2012

Hungry City

30 Aug

What is the relationship between the urban world and the rural world and also our food? An exhibition Hungry City. Agriculture and food in contemporary art explores this question in the Berlin gallery Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien during September and October 2012 with artists from all over greater Europe and North America. The wide accompanying program of events looks to emphasize the connection between urban and rural areas and offers opportunities to visit places of food production, such as the Prinzessinnen Gärten that we mentioned here and the ecovillage Ökodorf Brodowin. You can look at programme items here.

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Communicating Sustainability: Nudging with Pictures

21 Aug

Are you a graphic designer? If yes, then this book is for you.  If no, then this book is for you. It’s a new coffeetable-sytle book just out, called Cause and Effect. Visualizing Sustainability. In 240 pages it showcases examples of sustainability communication in various media around the world. The fascinating thing about communicating sustainability is the challenge of the sheer complexity of sustainability issues that you need to bring across in, say, one picture or 30 seconds. That’s the challenge for Sustainability Humour too, isn’t it? Add to that the number of disciplines often involved and sprinkle it with the interested parties and you have exponential data. How do you reduce or perhaps transform – and this is where the visualization examples are really neat – that complexity to something quickly graspable? Have a look for some inspiration in this book, it’s well worth browsing through (you can do that here). The Berlin publisher gestalten provides two of the three editors, Robert Klanten and Sven Ehmann, while Stephan Bohle of the think-tank futurestrategy is the third. (found via MocoLoco)

How about Humour for Sustainability

13 Aug

If humour is a mark of culture, then I like to maintain that self-irony is a mark of a mature culture, by which I really mean self-irony or the ability to laugh at oneself, to take oneself lightly. That goes for one’s self as well as any group or community within a culture, whether it be a religious group, a gender group or an NGO with an agenda. It also, to my mind, goes for the sustainability group, all of us riding that Great Hobbyhorse of Sustainability. Every now and then I like to use a cartoon (as you may have noticed here) or some other form of humour in my lectures. Until a relatively short while ago it was extremely difficult – if not impossible – to find any cartoons, jokes or skits in comedy shows about sustainability. I mean I got really excited when I found the cartoon below a few years back.

This next one was mailed to me just a few weeks ago (thanks Nancy!) and I still got excited about a “green cartoon”. Then I discovered that Code Green is a whole series by political cartoonist Stephanie Macmillan. There’s a whole website of them here.

I still think we Sustainabilites could work more on our self-depreciatory skills. And now I’ve discovered another reason why that might be a very good thing. Reading over the summary of John Cleese’s Tips on How To Be More Creative, humour turns up as one of the five conditions he mentions. He describes it as an essential part of the creativity we need to solve problems, no matter their seriousness. Serious problems? That sounds just up Sustainability’s street. You can find it on Garr Reynold’s excellent blog, called Presentation Zen, here.

Ha! Here’s a challenge for Sustainability

9 Aug

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Attributed to Albert Einstein. Ok, I know, it’s really a challenge to us.