A few years ago I was asked to perform at a conference centered around sustainability. I must admit that at the time I wasn’t really sure about what it was all about. I had visions of rainbow flags, V.W. camper vans and djembe thrashing dreadlock clad whale riders smelling of patchouli oil and making a stink about anything right of Baron Keynes of Tilton. A comfortable crowd to be with for me, but what difference would I make to the equasion? I was pleasantly surprised to find that yes there were some stereotypes there, but also there was a far wider representation of people from all walks of life and social groups, just everyday people who were active in the pursuit of making this world a better place to live in. That experience did a lot for me, it made me realise that it is often the media who love to focus on the fringe extremes of ecological and environmental activism while down playing the very real responsibility that we all have to be careful with the way we treat the earth. In the past I have been party to a theology that I now percieve as irresponsible and narrow, which states that the earth will one day all pass away and a new one be formed so who gives a rip about the environement because it’s all gonna be burned up anyway. I have since thought a lot about how I am actually called to be a good steward of someone else’s property, and in doing so, it will go to ensure that my kids and their children’s children will have a better place to live in than I do now.
The Arts are also crucial to sustainability of community life. Imagine a community with out colour, sculpture, music or dance. Our well-being as people is dependent on the arts in so many ways and it annoys me so much to see funding for the Arts continually stripped back in schools and in the wider community. Thousands of years of tradition of Artists having a central place in communities who saw them valuable enough to support is being eroded away and Artists who, let’s face it, often suck at business, are burning out under the pressure of needing to be promoters, Agents, salesmen, oh and creative artists and performers occasionally. Artists can be like prophets in our midst and as communities we need what they bring to the table. Lofty ideas from our places of learning are often communicated to the general populous through the Arts. The Arts are indeed crucial to sustainability.
On Wednesday I will be performing a musical piece at the Kelowna Building sustainable communities conference with a few of my kids. It will involve the various ages and will depict the fact that we will not achieve anything unless we involve all the generations working together. I am so excited about this for many reasons but mostly because I get to perform with my kids in something that will educate us in the process and also hopefully have an impact on the delagates at the event. We will perform at 12.45pm on Wednesday 29th February.
For more details on the conference go to http://www.freshoutlookfoundation.org/events/bsc/2012