February 10, 2014

Welcome to The Great Immensity Blogosphere!

We are thrilled to relaunch The Great Immensity website in anticipation of the show’s upcoming production at The Public from April 11 to May 1.

The global issue of climate change is a topic at the forefront of the scientific community. From top environmental scientists to organizations like the Nobel prize-winning IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), our greatest minds have collected and analyzed decades worth of research to better understand the situation and to affect important policy change. Now artists and activists from all mediums are recognizing the call to arms, and asking: what role can the arts play in responding to the crisis? 

Molly Carden in The Great Immensity at Kansas City Rep; Photo by: Don Ipock

The Play

In a thrilling and timely production, THE GREAT IMMENSITY is a continent-hopping thriller following a woman, Phyllis, as she pursues someone close to her who disappeared from a tropical island while on an assignment for a nature show. Through her search, Phyllis uncovers a mysterious plot surrounding the upcoming international climate summit in Auckland. As the days count down to the Auckland Summit, Phyllis must decipher the plan and possibly stop it in time. With arresting projected film and video and a wide-ranging score of songs, THE GREAT IMMENSITY is a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: how can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us?

Artistic Director Steve Cosson on a research trip in Barro Colorado Island

Artistic Director Steve Cosson on a research trip in Barro Colorado Island

The Website

From original haiku to underwater sculptures, every week characters from the play will blog about projects that focus on the intersection of arts + science + activism and our always-evolving relationship to the world around us.

Meghan McGeary in The Great Immensity at Kansas City Rep; Photo By: Don Ipock

A Quick 101

We hope that you’ll explore the site, watch our original videos, and participate in conversations by commenting.

You can search recent and pasts posts by:

1. TOPIC – click on any of the “tagsin the left-hand column to search by a specific topic, such as “sustainability,” “mountains,” or “temperature.”

2. BLOGGER – find all posts by a particular character by clicking on their picture in the left-hand column. For example: if you want to read all of Karl’s posts, click on his picture, and then in the box that appears click on “Karl’s posts.”

Also be sure to check out our awesome Environmental Lists in the right-hand column to learn about specific ways to take action now!


March 7, 2013

Crowds Demand “Forward” on U.S. National Mall

An estimated 35,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. on February 17th in freezing weather to rally against the development of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project designed to carry oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast, passing through Cushing, OK on the way. The rally pulsed with thousands of citizens waving flyers bearing the words, “Forward on Climate” and “Clean Energy.” This decision will be the first major climate change decision Obama will make this term.  In the pipeline’s defense, TransCanada, the company hoping to construct it, has said that a more sustainable energy source is needed, but that transition would take decades. An email excerpt from a company spokesperson on the day of the rally reads as follows: “The oil sands and their greenhouse gas emissions’ impact have been overstated. As the respected Nature Science Journal stated the other week, Keystone XL will not determine whether or not the oil sands will be developed. Nor is oil from the oil sands as ‘dirty’ as many believe.”

The protest was organized by the Sierra Club, 350.org, and the Hip Hop Caucus and has been billed as the largest climate rally in American history. Founder of 350.org Bill McKibben addressed the crowds at one point, saying, “All I ever wanted to see was a movement of people to stop climate change and now I’ve seen it. I cannot promise you we’re going to win, but I’ve waited a quarter century to find out if we were gonna fight. And today, at the biggest climate rally by far, by far, by far, in U.S. history — today, I know we’re going to fight.”

No matter what side of the issue you fall on, it’s thrilling to see so many people uniting to talk about the impacts of human decisions on the environment. It’s a visceral demonstration that people are really starting to care about the decisions their political representatives are making regarding issues of global climate change. I’d love to see something like this on an international level next, calling for clean energy across the board. I also just really love the slogan “forward.” It implies an almost never-ending campaign for addressing the climate, a movement larger than protesting this single construction and dedicated to constantly reevaluating and progressing. The decision is expected to be reached in March. I’m interested to see which side Obama will land on and how this blossoming movement will respond.

 

For more info, click HERE!


February 16, 2012

The beauty and fragility of reefs

There’s a wonderful blog post right now on NPR by Robert Krulwich, one-half of the amazing team that produces Radiolab (a show that makes science not just accessible but downright captivating).  It talks about sculptors and weavers who’re drawing attention to the beauty and fragility of coral reefs.

This is one of many sculptures by Jason de Caires Taylor, who designs underwater “parks” to relieve tourism from the world’s endangered coral reefs.  His sculptures are made out of pH-neutral cement that’s designed to host undersea life.

A new "White Reef" coral reef crochet by Dr. Axt.

Here’s a crocheted coral reef by an artist pseudonymed “Dr. Axt,” a member of The Institute for Figuring, which strives to create and appreciate the beauty in and of natural and mathematical forms.

Lots more photos and intriguing descriptions on the original blog post over at NPR.

 

 


February 8, 2012

Team Earth

Conservation International’s stunningly beautiful online magazine Team Earth has launched a new issue (#4 of a series), and it’s full of both amazing photos and stories of good news for the planet.

A family from a floating village, Prek Toal, on Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia.

You can read about the projects they help fund and focus on:  slowing deforestation, preserving healthy, adaptive ecosystems, and bringing oft-ignored indigenous groups to the forefront of political and economic decisions that affect them and their traditional lands.  This issue focuses on a life-giving lake in Cambodia (replete with floating houses!) and how CI is helping the people of Papua New Guinea  preserve their forests, as well as a look forward to the next Copenhagen climate summit.

It always warms our heart to see the good work that so many conservation-oriented organizations are doing in partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government ministries all over the world.  CI is a terrific advocate for all of us who want to respect the Earth’s breathtaking diversity and the sustainability of its resources.

We laugh that these kinds of online treats are what naughty sites are for others.  If it’s wrong, we don’t want to be right. ; )

 


February 6, 2012

Job creation with a green touch

Way down in Vancouver, they got some good ideas about how to help the environment and create jobs at the same time — an idea which could really help us folks way up here in Northern Canada who watch the ice melt and the polar bears freak out.

One of my buddies there sent me this business editorial from the Vancouver Sun about how retrofitting buildings in British Columbia built before 1984 could cut down on carbon emissions and keep people employed.

A construction worker on a 'green roof' at the 2010 Athletes Village in Vancouver, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)(From The Epoch Times)

Wouldn’t need any of the usual zoning and planning hassles or special equipment — just the usual good-idea stuff:  insulation, high-performance windows and doors, weatherstripping, super-efficient heating and cooling systems:

Retrofitting 100,000 homes a year in B.C. would keep 14,000 to 30,000 tradespeople employed, including electricians, heating/air conditioning installers, carpenters, insulation workers, building inspectors and others.

Saves the homeowner, too.  There ain’t a house up here that don’t have weatherstripping and state of the art insulation, all that stuff, if you can afford it.  Otherwise the heating bills go through the roof, literally.  Here’s their idea:

Retrofitting homes results in energy conservation and can save homeowners thousands of dollars and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A report by the Columbia Foundation shows that at current energy prices, a homeowner can double his or her return — over $12,000 on an average $6,000 investment in energy efficiency over 25 years — by making simple changes like upgrading hot-water tanks and home heating and cooling systems, and improving weatherization and home insulation…

It costs up front, but the writers have some ideas how B.C. (British Columbia) can help out its residents:

[U]pfront retrofit costs can be eliminated through innovative financing arrangements: loans provided to homeowners by municipalities, financial institutions, utilities or other funders can be paid back gradually through small payments on property taxes or utility bills. The financing obligations are included on a property tax bill as a surcharge until completely paid off, even if the property changes owners in the interim.

Sounds good to me.

The icebergs up here like the idea, too.

 

 


  • Featured Video

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    "The Next Forever" is a song from The Great Immensity. The footage was taken on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal by videographer David Ford. Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman.
     
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