„If the media and people in general were as panicked about the #climatecrisis as they are about the #coronavirus: All cities would be car-free, industrial meat production would carry the maximum legal penalty, and flights from Germany to Mallorca would cost € 20,000.“ – Sabine Beck, Twitter, 26 Feb. 2020
It really is fascinating how relatively quick and drastic society’s reactions to acute, deadly threats such as the coronavirus can be—and it’s good that this is the case. But when it comes to a more chronic ailment like the climate crisis, which in truth represents a far greater threat to all of humanity, people are acting as if we had all the time in the world.
We’re still quite far off, however, from the goal of keeping global warming down to a maximum of 1.5° C—and thus averting the worst consequences of climate change. Viewed globally, we’ve accomplished way too little thus far … and with our hands firmly covering our eyes, we’re moving full-speed ahead towards an iceberg—or what will be left of that iceberg, at any rate. The paradox here is that without the ice, the collision will be all the more dramatic, even if no one knows what exactly we’ll be hitting.
Despite all this, we shouldn’t lose hope. We should much rather view this situation as a final(!) chance, because it’s STILL the case that we can ensure a cleaner future for our children and grandchildren and their descendants through an immediate, radical turnabout in our thinking and actions. The greater good, namely the protection of our environment and all of our futures, needs to have the highest priority—for if our environment is doing badly, then we’ll all be doing badly, too, sooner than any of us would like to think. And at that point, no amount of economic growth will do us any good…
So what does the issue of climate protection have to do with us artists, of all people? For one thing, we sometimes find ourselves covering short distances by plane several times a year for concerts and similar. And in light of this, the Berlin University of the Arts has launched a model initiative in which participants voluntarily give up flying for journeys shorter than 1,000 km.
We should also be calling for protection of the climate with and through our art—doing things like organising flash mobs and generally turning the spotlight on the climate crisis.
After all, when one considers the likely consequences of this crisis, it’s far from inconceivable that in the not-too-distant future, all of those pristine beauties given us by nature that inspired great artistic figures from painting to poetry and music will be a thing of the past.
So it the name of art, let’s make sure that our future won’t be giving birth exclusively to works about drought, death, and bygone beauties!