I’m so much more aware than I was even just a month ago. News articles, videos on social media, word of mouth, and other sources continue to pop up and reveal startling information about climate change and why it is happening. Of course, this isn’t new. The destructive machine that is Capitalism has been doing it’s thang way before I was born. I just chose not to notice it as much before, I suppose? But now my eyes are opened, and thankfully, it’s not too late.
“The Polluters would have us believe that we are all just common travelers on Spaceship Earth, when in fact a few of them are at the controls, and the rest of us are choking on their exhaust.” (Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything)
Using this gem of a book by Naomi Klein as our source material for the show ‘This Changes Everything’ has had it’s ups and downs. The amount of information and detail packed into the book is immense, but it makes for a tricky time trying to pick out the most important bits to focus on for the performance. David Glass has been pushing us to start with the simplest of ideas. One thing. It was wafting a large plastic sheet. Which led to wafting a large plastic sheet with someone dancing on it. Someone dancing underneath it. Two people separated by it. Being wrapped up in it. Being tapped to it. And the list goes on and on. From a simple starting point, saying yes to the ‘What if we tried…’ ideas always seem to create flow. We might not use them all, but we’re continuing to create material and a vocabulary for this show is starting to form.
“If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ On Care For Our Common Home)
I was reading this encyclical letter written by the Pope this weekend. It’s the book he gave to Donald Trump when he visited the Vatican in the hope of enlightening him on the truth and urgency of climate change (though to no avail it seems). In this document, this leader of many people writes how sound scientific research and faith must come together in order to prevent the rapidly approaching devastation on human life and nature as a whole. In a time when so many religious leaders in the west are still in denial about climate change, it’s encouraging to see someone with such a huge influence pressing so undoubtedly for change to the failing system.
“Extractivism is a nonreciprocal, dominance-based relationship with the earth, one purely of taking. It is the opposite of stewardship, which involves taking but also taking care that regeneration and future life continue.” (Naomi Klein)
David Glass and I have different beliefs which has led to some great discussion. I hear him saying ‘I want you to dig deeper and interrogate your beliefs. Find the root meaning of what you’re saying.’ It’s human nature to have questions. Questions tend to create more questions but occasionally they will reveal a deeper understanding.
My faith is the most important thing in my life; it gives me a sense of hope. Hope for the future. I do believe that there is life after death for those who choose to believe in Jesus and what He did for us. I feel like that hope keeps me afloat. Occasionally when we are in deep discussion in class, people will say ‘What is the point of carrying on? The earth would be better off without us? Maybe we deserve to die.’ And I totally see where they are coming from, but I also see it from a different perspective. The bible talks about God creating us on the earth to “work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15) and how “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” Psalm 24:1), so if we love and honour the Lord, we should be doing the same to this planet we call home. I may have my set values but by no means do I have all the answers; I’m still learning everyday (especially during this rehearsal process), and I hope to continue doing so.
A great irony is that I was reading the Pope’s book whilst on a plane to Switzerland for the weekend. In 2015, worldwide, flights produced 781 million tonnes of CO2. Now while that is only 2% of all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions, it is still a huge figure (ATAG).
Airplanes are going to play a large role in our production of ‘This Changes Everything’. A giant metaphor for capitalism. The need for instant gratification. Bigger is better. Grow, grow, grow! Monopolies that keep taking until there is nothing left. And it all seems very daunting – and there’s just me, sat cramped in my middle seat 33E, reading about climate change, the drum of the engine numbing noises as we fly 36,000 feet above the ground, and all the while consuming a butt-load of aviation fuel contributing to the very thing I’m reading about reducing. Wow, I’m a hypocrite.
I’ll tell you something for free though, you are probably one too.