On the 3rd of March, we were joined by James Turner, of Greenpeace International and Danny Miller, CEO of Human After All, for a visually rich discussion exploring the role creativity can play in effecting change in the Arctic.
We welcomed Danny Miller, CEO at creative agency Human After All, and James Turner, Head of Communications at Greenpeace International, to YCN. Our aim was to examine the role for creativity within environmental causes and campaigns; inviting members and non-members alike to share in, and fuel, the discussion.
James provided us with an insight into Greenpeace's history and current work on the Save the Arctic campaign, while Danny spoke of his motivation for creating Weapons of Reason, a publication intended to "articulate the global challenges shaping our world". Their enlightening learnings and observations, stimulated a wealth of ideas and questions from our guests.
Eight things we learned:
1 — The Arctic is made up of over 7 million square miles of glaciers, ice and tundra - home to over 40 different indigenous peoples and thousands of different species of fish, insects, plants and mammals. It is a place of unique biodiversity and the seasonal changes in the northern polar regions effect weather systems across the rest of the planet. In the last thirty years, almost three quarters of natural Arctic sea ice has disappeared due to the effects of climate change.
2 — Climate change is caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide, released from the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. The average energy consumption per person has doubled in the last 30 years, creating a dangerous rise in CO2 levels which are adding to the layers of greenhouse gases containing our atmosphere. Slowly but surely, our planet is getting warmer, melting sea ice and glaciers, resulting in rising sea levels and extreme weather events across the globe.
3 — The Arctic is an area rich in mineral wealth and untapped fossil fuel reserves. The increasingly open seas have left neighbouring countries vying for ownership over quicker and easier shipping routes and the opportunity for vast wealth through drilling for oil. Huge energy companies are attempting to move in on the Arctic's resources, with Shell being one of the most invasive. It goes without saying that the Arctic is a terrible place to drill for oil as a spill would be near impossible to clean up due to the remote location, not to mention the fact that the use of more fossil fuels will only heat the planet further.
4 — Greenpeace's Save the Arctic campaign was set up with the primary aim of raising awareness of climate change and it's effects, protecting the most vulnerable areas of the Arctic and putting a stop to oil drilling.
5 — Greenpeace has long been known for outspoken protests against Shell. Last year, the organisation embarrassed Shell on one of it's biggest PR days with banners activated with SMS controlled radio antennes, to great effect. Greenpeace also built a trojan polar bear named Aurora that they considered leaving outside Shell's headquarters, but instead it became the star of a peaceful protest through the streets of London.
6 —The centre of the Arctic region, in the middle of surrounding landmasses including Norway, Russia, Canada and the state of Alaska, is rather crudely named the 'Arctic doughnut hole'.
7 — In 1961 the USSR detonated the Tsar bomba - the most powerful nuclear weapon the world has ever seen - on Novaya Zemlya, a remote island in the Arctic ocean. It generated a fireball of five miles in width and it's subsequent mushroom cloud was over 40 miles high.
8 — Due Greenpeace's creative brand-jacking film last year, over 1 million people successfully influenced Lego to break their 50 year partnership with Shell, recognising that they cannot be associated with a company ignoring climate change and racing to exploit the Arctic for oil.
Further reading, watching and listening
If you haven't already, visit savethearctic.org and sign the petition.
Download Greenpeace's creative style guide including a vast archive of fonts, photographs, icons and video content in order to equip creative companies and individuals with the assets to contribute to the Save the Arctic campaign, .
Visit the website of the Climate Name Change campaign, where natural disasters are named after politicians and senators that have publicly stood in the way of positive action against climate change.
Watch Edward Burtynsky talk about his Manufactured Landscapes film and how he hopes his stunning reportage photography will persuade millions to join a global conversation on sustainability.
A huge thank you to both Danny and James for taking the time to share their knowledge and opinions. Weapons of Reason is available in the YCN Shop & Library, free of charge.
YCN Members get priority places for all YCN events, both those hosted at 72 Rivington Street and externally. Not yet a Member? Find out the plentiful benefits of joining here.
Location:72 Rivington Street,
London, EC2A 3AY,
Start:3rd March, 2015 at 6:30pm
End:3rd March, 2015 at 8:30pm