Let's make verdant dreams real.

In the Philippines, the struggle for the environment may very well be an abstraction to the urbanity. The brunt of environmental issues are in the countryside, where mining, deforestation, and over-extraction of resources pose a direct threat to the indigent rural communities. When we go into more complex issues as climate change, it becomes harder to explain as it involves figures, statistics, and materials that are indiscernible to the naked eye.

How then, will we be able to mobilize the broadest ranks of Filipino people to campaign for the environment if it is nothing to them but cold logic and trivia?  It is an issue that is scientifically grounded but politically charged, and it is said that politics isn’t merely a battle of facts, but a war of hearts and minds. This is where our role as the cultural worker is of integral need.

Below are some examples of art and design works that help arouse, organize and mobilize the citizens of the world to struggle for climate justice.

Visuals. It is easier to communicate the message of climate advocacy by visualizing its science and politics. Explaining the greenhouse effect and the impacts of global temperature increase is easier with information design. For example, below is a poster primer I designed for the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance containing a popularized explanation of climate change’s impacts on Filipino communities:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

climate change, posted with vodpod

Music. There is no better way to pull the climate-active heartstrings than with environmental music and lyrics. Culturally localized pieces especially endear our message to the sectors. Below is a performance by Karl Ramirez, the founding chair of 350 Philippines lead organizer Agham Youth (AY), and Roselle Pineda of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, in the Rhythm and Rhymes of the Environment cultural night that was organized as part of AY’s work party activities. It is a reggae version of the Ilocano environmental song Gatan by DKK:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
climate , posted with vodpod
Theater. Theatrical performances provide an experiential appreciation of our message . Despite the “high art” characteristic of this medium, Filipino cultural workers have adapted to their target audiences with street improvisational performances. Sinagbayan, a community-based cultural organization, have regularly done street performances for environmental actions, such as the campaign against the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP):

Literature. Writers have long written about nature, and in modern times about the need to protect it and the people it nurtures. Giving poetic quality to our message engages the reader on a level different from mere logic. Below is a poem written by Piping Walang Kamay entitled “Subok” that was orated in the Rhythm and Rhymes cultural night:

magustuhan mo pa kaya ako

kung hindi mo na makitang luntian

ang aking buong anyo?

kung hindi mo na masilayan ang mga maya

at pipit, at tikling, at kahit ang lawin at agila

na nagpapaligsahan sa paglipat sa aking bawat sanga?

magustuhan mo pa kaya ako

kung makita mong panot na ang aking anyo?

kapag namataan mong tuyot na ang aking sapa

at naghihingalo na ang dating kay sigla kong ilog

iyo kaya itong ikalulugod?

isasalba mo ba ang nalalapit kong pagkawala?

o tatalikuaran mo ako’t kahit pagluha di mo magagawa?

wag kang magsisisi

ako’may tumatangis na para sa aking sarili

malapit ng mahuli ang lahat

malapit na

There is much that Art can do, beyond being dead for its own sake, as a weapon for change. It is a creative and engaging method of educating the Filipino masses on the effects of climate change on our underdeveloped economy and society. Let 10/10/10 be the day, then, that the call for the Filipino Artist to bring his craft to life by linking it with the living, breathing movement of the masses working for a safer climate future, and for the defense of mother nature and mother land be sounded.

Let’s Get to (Cultural) Work!

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Comments on: "Get to (Cultural) Work: 350 and Art" (5)

  1. […] Music, Film, Activism | Karl Ramirez | TatayK Music, Film, Activism « Blogging a song 10/10/10 action day #350pinoy Get to (Cultural) Work: 350 and Art (via Mga Kathang Katotohanan) October 11, 2010 In the Philippines, the struggle for the environment may very well be an abstraction to the urbanity. The brunt of environmental issues are in the countryside, where mining, deforestation, and over-extraction of resources pose a direct threat to the indigent rural communities. When we go into more complex issues as climate change, it becomes harder to explain as it involves figures, statistics, and materials that are indiscernible to the naked ey … Read More […]

  2. Ngayon ko lang nakita in its entirety ang entry na ito, blame slow internet weekend.

    Acute the situation may be, many still do not consider climate change a gut-issue. We all know that the real battle is economic, and artists and bloggers like you and I can only do so much. So on to the next level, engage them… like Cicero once wrote, “If we do what is required of us, we are merely slaves. The moment we do more, we become free.”

    PS: if this don’t make sense, forgive me. my faculties are barely functional on mondays 😉

    • True enough! Beyond being a technologist with technology for the people, every genuine advocate of democracy should take a more active part in democracy — be a full-time political activist now!

      “It has to start someplace. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?” — RATM

  3. […] ako, pero ayus lang naman itong puhunan. Ang kultural na kapital na nadudulot ng sining, tulad ng nakaraang pagtalakay ko sa importansya ng pangkulturang paggawa sa kampanya ng climate change, ay ibang dimensyon ang […]

  4. […] of discourse relies upon our efforts to popularize the issue and saturate all possible venues to creatively communicate the sharpest analyses and actions on our environmental […]

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