Art-vocacy: how public art can shift perception, at The ZSL Conservation Optimism Summit

Thursday 20th April 2017, Dulwich College, London Zoological Society


Industrialized farming is one of the largest contributors to climate change, producing a quarter of global emissions and consuming 70% of the world’s fresh water. The question is: how do we feed ourselves, and our burgeoning population, without it costing the earth? Through sharing her own experiences of The Milking Parlour, as well as citing examples throughout history, Nessie’s talk will delve into the role art can play in engaging and informing civil society in issues around climate change, and more specifically one of the most pressing dilemmas facing our human species today: agriculture.
Our planet is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals, with industrial agriculture being one of the largest contributors. If we are to halt our climate crisis, we need first to understand the many complex systems which contribute towards it. What agricultural systems exacerbate climate disruption, and which ones build resilience and support health?

This talk will take place at the London Zoological Society’s Conservation Optimism Summit. Their vision:

“Conservation is too often seen as a crisis discipline, one in which bad news predominates. Although nature is facing huge challenges, we feel there are many positive stories out there where conservation has made a difference to people’s lives and to the status of wild nature. Progress, at the moment, tends to be overshadowed by negativity. It may well be happening, but it can be slow-burning, local and less immediately obvious than the sometimes overwhelming challenges faced.

We believe this is counter-productive.

Budding and perennial conservationists need to feel inspired and continue in the profession, not put off by pessimism. The public, businesses and government need to know that their actions can make a difference. With this summit, we aim to reframe the conservation movement by celebrating positive thinking in conservation, and putting forward a road map for change towards an optimistic and forward-thinking future”.


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