Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bearing witness...

I have been wonderfully, crazily impossibly busy with the High Water Line project, things are falling into place and it has been a great process - more on that later. First a few musings....

I was just reading Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe. I am in the first chapter which is relating stories from the Arctic - stories about physical and dire changes that are taking place in the landscape and having direct impact on people's lives. This got me to thinking about the process of bearing witness (I've been thinking about it a lot lately in relation to HWL), and the act of relating stories of experience. Clearly the people living in the arctic have many first hand stories to tell of the changes their world is undergoing, what do we, in NYC have to tell? I am seeking to find stories about people and their own experiences with climate change. I am offering to bear witness and carry these stories on. It may be direct stories, people displaced by weather occurrences, it may be stories about their own thoughts and feelings about climate change, and it may be stories about not having any stories - people who don't know or talk about climate change - and why is that?

It's an interesting thing how much we can put things out of our minds (war, global warming, financial difficulties, etc) and go on living our lives without thinking about it. We are a stubborn species. Because I am working on this project, I think about climate change ALL the time. I look around me and wonder if anyone else is thinking about it. I am hyper aware of the things that I do. (And the things I have not done - yet). The fact that someone like me who is so aware, hasn't changed ALL my light bulbs to CFL's (most of them though) - all the people who aren't thinking about, how much (or little) are they doing?

The changes are going to have to be on a massive scale. We will all have to make big changes in our lifestyles to reverse the trend, and given our capability to deal with great change in the face of great need (think of the rationing during previous wartimes) I think we can do it. But I do think we will need a little bit of a push.

I also think it is important for each individual person to feel like they have the ability to have an impact. So this project is about getting out there, having the difficulty conversation, listening and provide the resources for people to make their own action.

No comments: