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Joseph Ingoldsby

Filed under: Literature, Methods, writing — Lisa @ 08:54

From: Joseph Ingoldsby <>
Subject: [Yasmin_an] Subtle Technologies 2010 – Sustainability
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 14:37:46 -0400

Subtle Technologies Festival 2010
Joseph Ingoldsby

The use of the word ŒFestival¹ versus ŒConference¹ or ŒSymposium¹ for the Subtle Technologies Festival, which was held in Toronto June 4-6, explained that this was a public celebration.  This 13th anniversary of the Subtle Technologies Festival was focused on Sustainability. Artists, scientists, inventors, architects, linguists, writers engaged the future with vision and optimism.

Native Anishinabe, Deborah McGregor spoke of Indigenous knowledge, the cycle of life, rebirth and renewal and the need for an earth ethic to influence political decision-making. She stressed that the European model of land as commodity and the corporate use of indigenous knowledge as extraction for patents was not sustainable. Native treaties as Dish with One Spoon and Pachymama- the Rights of Nature speak of our responsibility to preserve and protect Mother Earth for future generations as our gift to all of Creation.
This Earth ethic is currently being brought to the table with the Water
Project on the Great Lakes. The Native Water Project was contrasted with ŒThe City in a glass of water: urbanized water and sustainability¹ of Zainub Verjee and ŒThe Way Forward: Building Social and Ecological Resilience through Social Innovation¹ by Francis Westley from the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation.
The later programs outlined natural resources as infrastructure and
financial instruments for entrepreneurial innovations and initiatives. ³The goals of the WICI are to develop a common, trans-disciplinary language and methodology and an integrated, coherent theory for the study and pedagogy of complex adaptive systems; and apply these tools to stimulate rapid and beneficial innovation that will increase the resilience of complex adaptive systems worldwide ­ including social, political, economic, and ecological systems ­ that are currently under threat.²

K. David Harrison presented ŒThe Linguists¹. Languages reflecting
disappearing cultures are dying out with the elderly populations of Bolivia, India, Serbia and Siberia by attrition, government pogroms and indifference. However, there is hope that with the continuation of traditional medicine, which passes on the language with the rituals as in Bolivia and the use of new technologies to record the languages in Serbia and Siberia, that the living languages and cultures will be preserved for another generation.
Language has a dynamic and robust ability to adapt and evolve with change. New Media is often used as a means of engaging the often isolated and fragmented populations to give legitimacy to the culture by a media savvy new generation, who adapt the technologies for broadcast.

This was the case with ŒDigital narratives and eco-media: An artistic
experimentation in coastal communities¹ by Karla Brunet and Juan Freire. Here teenagers from coastal Garapua, Brazil were trained in GPS and video and audio transmission. Armed with a mission to map their coastline and document the landscape and people, they returned to their communities and recorded the stories of the elders. For the first time, the grandchildren sat and listened to their grandparents and recorded the memory of their culture. In doing so, they developed an appreciation for their culture and now will keep the culture alive. In the process, the teenagers learned about their landscape and culture including the importance of the mangrove swamps to sustainable fisheries and storm damage.

The loss of the natural and cultural landscapes and biodiversity were the
focus of ŒRequiem for a Drowning Landscape¹ by Joseph Ingoldsby. I presented the case for a historic loss of landscapes and species in America. Since colonization, America has lost 98% of the plains and prairies, 99% of savannas, nearly 100% of the virgin forests east of the Rockies and 50% of the wetlands in America. What remains exists in a fragmented state. Iconic species as the American bison are ecologically extinct and genetically threatened. This story of broken trophic cascades plays itself out on the Atlantic coast, where rising seas and warming ocean temperatures flood the high marshes and bring southern invasive species to the coastal landscapes.
Art and technology can be used to translate science and illuminate the
issues for the public and bring policy changes.

Dr. T. Ryan Gregory spoke of Microbes and meteors: putting the human
experience in a biological context. Life has existed on Earth for 4 billion
years. Homo sapiens have roamed Earth for 100,000 years. We are now within the Sixth extinction cycle called the Holocene Extinction. The UN warns us that biodiversity losses are accelerating as ecosystems approach their tipping points. Scientists around the world are submitting species documentation for a data bank on life, as we know it. The project initiated by world renowned biologist, E.O. Wilson will compile all knowledge on the 1.8 million known species and shall be accessible online by 2020.

In this dark period of turmoil, what can we do to slow the loss of landscape and species? Speakers at the Sustainability Conference urged accessible technology, green product design and fabrication, rethinking agriculture, expanding green networks to allow for species migration and policy change. The United Nations warns that without “radical and creative action” to conserve the biodiversity of life on Earth, natural systems that support lives and livelihoods are at risk of collapsing.  We are running out of time.

Joseph Ingoldsby writes and exhibits about Biodiversity.

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