A guest blog by Pauline Rutter, Artist in Residence, Adur and Worthing Climate Assembly.
I find that things come around. Perhaps not quite full circle but definitely in a cyclical motion and that when time is running through a slow and challenging phase, as it is now, that it becomes necessary to reflect on this. So it has been with the Adur and Worthing Climate Assembly arriving at the same moment as many of us are seeing the climate catastrophe through old eyes yet with wider vision. In each stage of our lives experiences and people, adversity and adventure cause us to make decisions that steer us in directions that seem incomprehensible with hindsight and yet made perfect sense or met some necessity at the time. This describes my relationship with art making. It does not fully explain why the journey to a Fine Art Degree took so many twists and turns or how everything paused for decades at a time. It does however, hint at why I was ready to propose a creative response to this Climate Assembly rather than choose a route to involvement that spoke more to my research and sustainability interests and expertise.
Local residents will inspire Adur and Worthing Council to take in response to the climate emergency they have declared
This initiative provides an opportunity for deep thinking, not only about the general facts of the manmade climate catastrophe that we are living through with the loss of millions of species, sea level rise, soil degradation, extreme weather, pollution and global warming. It also allows for some personal and tangible realisation that the clean air and water, the wildlife, pollinating insects and reliable supply of food and energy taken for granted by us in the minority world, are so threatened by our modern lives that to do nothing is to risk losing them all forever.
In thinking about my creative response to the updated facts and figures of this global crisis, and the social, environmental, political and economic impacts and legacies it is ushering in, It is impossible not to experience an emotional turbulence. What are the words to express the feeling you have in knowing that the day has arrived when there is more plastic than fish in the sea? If I can forget the absence of insect adorned lampposts of childhood night times, then am I also erasing a memory so aligned with what I love about the natural world that I am allowing a little part of my humanity to slip away?
We are promised practical actions, which local residents will inspire Adur and Worthing Council to take in response to the climate emergency they have declared. We will also see the forging of new relationships between participants, speakers and organisers that re-animate the joy of our connections with the environment and our wider communities. For me, the creative and artistic responses to the Climate Assembly have a part to play. They provide some insurance that what is understood and decided resonates through our conversations, behaviours and imaginative and inventive awakenings as we grapple with the climate and ecological crisis together.