Friday 19 June 2009

stories of almost everyone

This blog is taking part in a seminar tomorrow called 'Changing Climate Stories'. It's part of the 'Two Degrees' week at Artsadmin.

The point of the seminar is to discuss the way people imagine and tell stories about climate change.

Some of tomorrow's group (which includes poets, academics and activists) are also bloggers, and very good ones: Dan Box (Journey To The Sinking Islands), Samantha Ellis (here), Abbie Garrington (springcoppice), Caspar Henderson (The Book of Barely Imagined Beings and Grains of Sand), Caleb Klaces (RSA arts & ecology) and Joe Smith (

Many MSM commentators were dismissive, first of blogs, then of Twitter. But nothing could have demonstrated the power of new media more vividly than this week's events in Iran.

There's a connection between democracy and cultural diversity, and also between cultural diversity and biodiversity, and that connection isn't merely metaphorical. The people who will be most affected by climate change - the poorest of the poor - will have to struggle to get heard.

And stories are the best way to reach a wider audience. Especially if the stories are short, well-written and online.

The veteran American editor and historian Lewis Lapham once dismissed blogs; he now modestly plans to turn blogging into an art form:

'The internet lends itself to compression, to short form. There’s a wonderful new book by Eduardo Galeano called Mirrors. I could teach myself how to write an entry along the lines of the kinds you see in the book - stories that have an aperçu. He can sometimes within the space of 600 words tell a small and illuminating story.'

The subtitle of Mirrors? 'Stories of Almost Everyone'. It's one model for changing climate stories.

pic: House of Mirrors

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