BASTA update


Here are my notes from the November 2 meeting of BASTA.

1) We discussed the option of a larger multi-day, multi-venue event (e.g., Earth Week which will be having its 45th anniversary almost coterminously with the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl; the “Human Era/Error” theme) vs. a continuous series of events that could be monthly (too difficult initially), quarterly, or on some other periodical basis. There was a general sense that starting small is fine, and that we could build up to a larger event. Volunteers to look into what was already being planned for Earth Week: Brian (St. Michael’s College), Deane (UVM).

2) We discussed the nature of the events: should they be primarily a form of experiential public spectacle (artistic, creative, engaging, fun) or primarily about the sharing of knowledge? There was a general sense that the two can and should be blended together. This blending of “ways of knowing” – artistic/creative expression, enjoyable/outdoor activities plus knowledge, panels, debates, etc. – would make BASTA distinctive. E.g., a kick ball game turns into a speaker event; dirigibles; lake raft or ice event before or after public debates, etc.

3) An idea (proposed by Deane) that resonated with most was that we should work on connecting climate change to things that are already part of mainstream American public culture. We discussed creating events that would link Burlington to other places around the world (such as Burlington’s sister cities, or twin/sister lakes, which we should propose to the city—a few specific lakes in Macedonia and Rwanda were mentioned), that would involve lay people (such as farmers coping with climate change), and that would be scheduled according to prominent events in the cultural/phenological calendar: e.g. Groundhog Day as a kind of “global climatological check-in,” freeze (or melt) days on the lake or the barge canal (akin to, if smaller than, Ottawa’s, Quebec City’s, and Saranac’s ice festivals), etc. These could all be lined to the proposed Burlington Phenological Calendar that the post-Natalie Jeremijenko group has discussed; the Abenaki community could be reached out to in this (and maybe the Earth Clock group?).

4) Other topics discussed:

  • Online clearinghouse of events: We agreed to pursue funding for a grad student to staff this. Adrian will ask the Humanities Center, but we should explore other options as well.
  • An “Earth Hop” event connected to Adbusters’ proposal of a day for a billion people to “jump up” together in protest against the anticipated failure of the Paris Climate Summit. (On “D19”, the Billion Person March planned for December 19, see; Adbusters was responsible for initiating Occupy Wall Street.)
  • The importance of data visualization connected to weather and climate change. ECHO is working on a data visualization art piece that we could connect to.
  • Other connections to pursue: with local schools such as the Intgrated Arts Academy and the Sustainability Academy (Kelly offered to help with this); the Generator and their Big Maker series; Shelburne Museum’s 32 degrees about winter (Andrea would find out more about it);; bicycle groups (a critical mass bike ride); the Map (?); et al.