The climate change conversation moves firmly to the top of the agenda this week, as global leaders gather at COP27 in Egypt. Economic turmoil has derailed many of the previously agreed efforts to curtail emissions but evidence is mounting that the world is in ecological peril. While conversations typically look at the bigger levers of power and industry, the cultural sector can play an essential role in building a bridge between scientific fact and a populace who can change behavior and influence supply and demand.
In partnership with Rand Merchant Bank, and supported by the Industrial Development Corporation, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) has launched the CLIMATE/CULTURE programme to shine a spotlight on cultural practitioners working in the sustainability space. Opening a conversation about the cross-sector role of climate and culture, the CLIMATE/CULTURE programme brings accessibility and inspiring evidence to complex and important topics.
Says BASA CEO, Ashraf Johaardien, “BASA has long played a role in encouraging partnerships between the arts and other sectors to create mutually beneficial impact and this one feels both imperative and exciting. Africa (and other less consumer driven economies) contribute the least to the problems that created climate change and yet pays a heavy price as climate change starts to impact multiple facets of our lives. However, our continent is well-known for its innovation and adaptability. We need to celebrate our creative climate warriors and inspire a generation to think carefully about their choices and rethink the solutions we need now.”
BASA’s CLIMATE/CULTURE programme is opening this conversation with a series of online recorded talks from inspiring cultural climate warriors. CLIMATE/CULTURE speakers include:
CLIMATE JUSTICE IS SOCIAL JUSTICE
Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Witwatersrand and co-founder of the Climate Justice Charter Movement Vishwas Satgar is a co-creator of the Climate Justice Charter for South Africa. He speaks about how the creative industries can contribute to climate justice.
WHAT IS A GOOD LIFE REALLY
CEO of Makers Valley Partnership, Thobile Chittenden, asks What is a Good Life, Really? as we increasingly reckon with our need to adapt to an increasingly challenging climate impacted world. She’s inspired by the notion of a well-being economy. Hear her talk more about how we can spark positive changes and join her in advocating for social organisations to have a seat at the climate crisis response table.
GREEN FILM MAKING
Carbon Analyst, Training Facilitator and Co-founder of GREENSET, Cindy Mkhwanazi is greening the film one take at a time. The non-profit film industry sustainability organization assists productions in minimizing their carbon footprint and overall environmental impact by implementing practical, economical, green initiatives. So far they’ve diverted 700 tonnes of waste from landfill, are launching the first on-set electricity generator and saved South African production companies R 800 000.
ENVIRONMENTALLY ENGAGED ART
South Africa’s history brought about a devastating disconnection from land and a strong relationship and yearning with land threads through many cultural narratives. Artist and writer, Virginia MacKenny, is currently an Associate Professor of Painting at Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. MacKenny has a deep interest in contemporary South African art with a special emphasis on painting, video art and performance art with particular reference to gender and environmental issues. MacKenny is currently researching for a book on artists in Southern Africa engaged with environmental issues.
The Natural Building Collective provides consultation and project management services to private, public and development sectors. Two recently completed buildings include a preschool for 120 children in Delft, Cape Town and an earth sheltered, tyre and rammed earth building for the City of Cape Town in Helderberg Nature Reserve. Mc Intosh talks about the practicalities and rewards that come from building green buildings. If it can be done for approximately R 12 000 per square metre, why aren’t we building like this all the time?
LIFTING THE VEIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
Well Worn Theatre
Founded by Kyla Davis in 2007, Well Worn Theatre company are pioneers in the field of theatre for Sustainability. For over a decade, it has been their aim to translate the most pressing eco-social problems of our times into theatre that is imaginative, inspiring, accessible to all, and that avoids sounding preachy. Performers Lerato Sefoloshe and Sanelisiwe Yekani have devised and toured several productions with the company over the years and are passionate about telling the story of climate justice through live performance.
REGENERATIVE RATHER THAN SUSTAINABLE
Lorraine Tanner is currently the Executive Director of Development (EDD) at AfrikaBurn, and develops programmes that span celebration and activism, engage complex social issues, connect people and planet, foster equity and justice, and inspire new ways of thinking and doing. Online, she instigated the intersect mini-series and has presented to the Burning Man Regional Network. Lorraine speaks to CLIMATE/CULTURE about creating eco-conscious events and harnessing the power of user-created events to drive a powerful climate message.
WEAVING ETHICS INTO FASHION
Esethu Cenga is the co-founder and CEO of Rewoven, a textile recycling company that is about creating a circular economy in the clothing and textiles sector to build a more sustainable future for the industry. Her vital sustainability work is creating waves in the textile industry. Esethu firmly believes that recycling clothing makes sense for the economy (think jobs) and the planet.
SOCIAL SOLUTIONS THROUGH CREATIVE COLLABORATIONS
Using design thinking to develop innovative solutions, skills and support, Joburg-based NPO make good was started by Toni Rothbart and Carlo Gibson. Their launch initiative, The Homeless Home Project is a durable, easy-to-use, lightweight jacket that converts into a sleeping bag and cross-body bag, easily transportable by those who are homeless. Toni speaks about design-thinking and creativity as the basis for many of our solutions.
BASA is also calling on cultural practitioners working in the climate and conservation space to submit their details and a description of their project, to help form a database of climate warriors at work in South Africa.
“In opening this conversation, we are hoping to trigger a snowball effect,’ says BASA CEO, Ashraf Johaardien. “Climate and culture are already intersecting and playing a role in the cultural sector. Through the visibility of our CLIMATE/CULTURE response, we hope to give that a face; to catalyze partnerships and inspire others to put climate response at the centre of their creative process.”
To view the talks visit https://climateculture.basa.co.za
Notes to Editors
BUSINESS AND ARTS SOUTH AFRICA NPC (BASA) was founded in 1997 as a joint initiative between government and the private sector, as part of a strategy to secure greater involvement in the arts and from businesses operating in South Africa. Constituted in terms of the Companies Act, BASA is registered as a public benefit organisation. BASA champions business investment within the arts, cultural and heritage sector, driving focused and sustained partnerships by unlocking shared value and fostering social cohesion. For more information, please go to www.basa.co.za.