By Scott Boylston
(Orignally published on Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 in The Chronicle)
“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we will do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
— Rajendra Pachauri, Ph.D., chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
If, as Plato once said, necessity is the mother of invention, then the human race is on the verge of a tremendous era of innovation, for we have clearly reached a point of necessary change. There are 6.6 billion people vying for the natural treasures of one small planet, and in the process of harvesting this bounty we are using means that degrade and deplete the very resources we require. This is simply not a sustainable model of existence.
What, then, is a sustainable model of existence? Can we begin implementing such a model by 2012? These are the most pressing questions of our time. A more pressing question, however, is this: Will you contribute to this change, or will you hinder its course with your inaction?
Artists and designers have historically challenged the status quo with their foresight, intuiting that, while much might be good in any culture, all is not perfect. But discerning shortcomings is not the only gift of visionaries; they can provide creative ideas for overcoming those shortcomings. And so next week’s Focus the Nation Teach-in will offer the SCAD community — a community of creative thinkers — an opportunity not only to learn about how their daily choices contribute to the problems of global warming, but to share their ideas about how this problem might be adequately addressed.
On Jan. 31, in conjunction with a national teach-in involving more than 1,200 colleges and universities, SCAD will hold a full-day seminar on the challenges of and potential solutions for global warming. The program will be held at the Trustees Theater, 216 Abercorn St., 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., with a consecutive series of speakers to coincide with the daily class schedule. At 6 p.m., Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary on global warming, “The Eleventh Hour,” will be screened, free and open to the public. The night before these events, an hour-long, interactive national webcast, which will include participants such as actor Edward Norton and sustainability expert Hunter Lovins, will begin at 8 p.m. While a large screen will be set up at the Oglethorpe House ballroom, 201 E. Oglethorpe Ave., limited seating is available, so you’re invited to join the webcast from anywhere; visit www.focusthenation.org/2percentsolution.php.
Albert Einstein said, “The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.” Here at SCAD we have individuals well equipped to open the door to new ways of thinking; not only are they young and energetic, they are, to their very bone, creative. It’s simply a matter of expanding that creative vision, which often encompasses the more narrowly defined tasks of an artistic discipline, to include the broader context of the shared human condition. Please join us for this important event, and help us define a path forward.