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Arts For The Earth (AFTE) is a collective of artists working with Sustainable Wales. The concept of an individual’s ‘carbon footprint’ has become established. But we want to promote the concept of an individual’s ‘intellectual footprint’.
Members represent artists from all walks of life and they have been sharing activities, performance and conversations together. Various ‘gigs’, poetry, visual art, celebrations, performances and fashion evenings have been successfully held in the community. Links to artists’ own websites are on our Links page.
Sustainable Wales also facilitated the development of a weekend Rock Club for 9-15 year olds offering regular space. They perform at various events throughout the year.
The AFTE group created ‘The Green Room’ - a cultural space. Future activities discussed have been wrapped around food and music events, eco/chic fashion events and swishing swap partiesand philosophical debates.
Join our facebook group page for Arts for the Earth
A May Day celebration. Part of a series of events called Mouth to Mouth, presented by members of the Welsh based Arts for the Earth. Supported by the Arts Council of Wales
More information here on the Mouth to Mouth 2011 events in the Bridgend area, Wales, UK: http://www.molebomb.com/m2m/m2m.html
Pictures from Various Green Room Events
Some of the members of Arts for the Earth: 2011
Sustainable Wales believes that practice and enjoyment of the arts must be at the heart of sustainable development
The concept of an individual’s ‘carbon footprint’ has become established. But we want to promote the concept of an individual’s ‘intellectual footprint’.
What does that mean? It means having intimate connection and engagement with the arts, science and the natural world.
In today’s Wales the group believe that everyone should be able to make art. They should write, sing, compose, paint, act, sculpt, dance, cook, garden. These practises, borne from the imagination, are integral to what we see as sustainable development.
Our intellectual footprint should be as large as possible. This, we believe, will ensure a ‘creative Wales’.
Arts practice is one of the positive answers to treating so many current problems - from obesity, lack of motivation and achievement at school, lack of civic engagement, and poor mental health.
Recent research has shown that ‘the Valleys’ of south Wales is one of the UK’s leading areas for prescriptions of anti-depressants. (One prescription in ten issued in Torfaen, for instance, is for these drugs). We believe that practice and enjoyment of the arts can play an important role here.
And, of course, there are other benefits. The arts are how small countries generate big profiles. Think of Iceland, Ireland and Scotland, where cultural practice and identity create a global profile. Where real artistic achievement - not meaningless celebrity - promotes what might be deemed ‘the national brand’.
Everywhere we are facing big problems.
We have climate change to deal with. According to leading scientist Nicholas Stern, in 100 years, the world will be 5 degrees Celsius hotter.
This will bring about staggering alteration to the way people have to live. (Though if you think about it, the last 100 years have also brought about a blizzard of once unimaginable change).
So everyone is worried about their carbon footprint, but AFTE are also concerned with the intellectual footprints of our children.
As to the Credit Crunch, there won’t be much money for pensions in the future - especially for people who are now teenagers.
But maybe what’s more important is ensuring we have a different kind of pension - an intellectual pension.
Now this should bring real enrichment to a financially-challenged old age.
Practising an art form from school age, such as that encouraged by writing squads and artists might ensure such enrichment, such a pension.
In Wales, at least in English we have few valid traditional role models. That’s good. It should mean we’re not chained to the past. We can create new identities.
And that’s what Wales and the world need. A healthy diversity of identity and aspiration. Not the monoculture of one industry such as coal or IT or call centres.
As to the Credit Crunch, it might mean we are going to have to live in new ways. SW hopes that this happens. These new ways could be better ways.
We don’t want go back to how it was before the banking crisis or business as usual. Because ideally, our lives should be less materialistic, less work-stressed, and much more creative.
We hope that the Credit Crunch means the end of an era when we were judged for what we owned or possessed, rather than who we were. As the new US President says, judged on the contents of your character not your bank account.
DH Lawrence, although writing 80 years before the Credit Crunch, seems to sum up the 30 years of the Thatcher-Blair-Brown era, an era I hope we’re emerging from, in a poem called ‘Modern Prayer’:
Almighty Mammon, make me rich!
Make me rich quickly, with never a hitch
In my fine prosperity! Kick those in the ditch
Who hinder me, Mammon, great Son of a Bitch.
The arts covers everything. Want a ‘cure’ for obesity? Look to the arts. Want to find a way to cut the numbers of pupils who leave our comprehensives with no qualifications? Use the arts.
Want to increase civic engagement? Use the arts. Want to inject meaning into life? The arts. Want something more than the grind of making money and the pointless, heartbreaking and soul-shrivelling acquisition of ‘stuff’. The arts.
And maybe, above all, we should ask whether we need a new way to treat the appalling rates of poor mental health in south Wales.
If so - the answer is The arts. Look at the facts. The Valleys lead the UK league for prescriptions of anti depressants. In Torfaen, one in every ten prescriptions issued is for such medication. Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend, Caerffili, Neath/Port Talbot are close behind.
If we want an alternative to these expensive chemicals, then we must foster more arts initiatives that involve the public.