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Art for warming's sake

Tony Thomas was touring the art gallery at Ballarat, Victoria, when his eye alighted on the children's trail around the gallery. It was not a pretty sight. Take this excerpt for example.

In this vision we have poisoned our environment with toxic waste and used up all the natural resources until the earth could no longer support us…In this painting, people are just a memory. The earth has survived and with it some of the plants and animals which lived in harmony with nature, only taking what they needed and adapting….

We have become reckless with our consumption, buying bigger and better things with more and more packaging. [blah blah, insert here more Greens Party boilerplate].

Who should be responsible for the effects of our heavy consumption of resources? How can we reduce the cost of sustaining our natural resources?”.

Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (36)

Ballarat in Victoria, a partly preserved but tattered memorial of the Gold Rush of the 1850s with its sudden enormous wealth, is these days pretty much a Labor town, in the most socialist of all the Australian states. In Australia, unlike the UK, there is no cross-party consensus on CAGW and it is only Labor and The Greens who tow the IPCC/UNFCCC line.

Nov 21, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

I wish I hadn't read the whole thing. It's kids propaganda that Goebbels would have been proud of. “The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.”

Nov 21, 2012 at 7:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Shame from this colonial lad.
     Ballarat is a beautiful city with a proud history of invention and manufacture for rural industry.
     It's pioneers and generations since would be, I believe, sickened by this obscene "children's trail".

Nov 21, 2012 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

I hate to admit this, but I am beginning to wonder whether "science" is not becoming a religion. Or at least "science" as practiced by people like Mann. E.g. we have Genesis = Big Bang. We have hell = global warming doomsday with a few (chosen) people living north of the Arctic. We have the flood, we have original sin = mankind is evil.

E.g. what is "global warming" in reality. It is "what will the world be like in 100 years". In reality this means: "what will the world be like after we die". Which is really "what will be the reality after we are dead".

So, these pictures are just a modern interpretation of the old theme of visions of heaven and hell. Or "visions of a reality which we ourselves cannot hope to see" (whilst alive).

Nov 21, 2012 at 7:57 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

“…Australia is getting hotter and climate change has arrived. There is more on the way, but how much of an increase will depend on us. How do we cope with such heat? Massive air conditioner use threatens peak electrical supply while the electricity used to power them comes mainly from coal. Greenhouse gases are produced to cope with the symptoms of existing greenhouse gases – we are kelpies chasing our tails on a hot day.

Okay, just more of the usual illinformed alarmism. But what's a kelpie in Australia? ( I know what they are in Scotland).

On the subject of Australia getting warmer, Jo Nova had an interesting guest post by Ian Bryce (with updates from Vukcevic & Archibald) on this back in June which I have only just come across:

Has North Victoria cooled, and is that the ghost of a solar cycle signal we see?

Nov 21, 2012 at 8:17 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Chris M: "In Australia, unlike the UK, there is no cross-party consensus on CAGW and it is only Labor and The Greens who tow the IPCC/UNFCCC line."

That is as incorrect in depicting Australian political landscape as the screeds that followed the paintings above.

The Labor Party dumped the former PM, Kevin Rudd, in his first term precisely because he turned climate change into a moral crusade. The Labor got pounded in the following election barely succeeding to stay in government with the help of two Green-leaning and two conservative-leaning independent CAGWist MPs.

Six months before Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, who was the leader of the Liberal/National coalition and the chief doomsday cultist on that side of the politics, was replaced with climate skeptic Tony Abbott in a leadership contest by a single vote margin.

The Labor Party is as split within as the Liberal Party on the issue of climate change. The only parties who have been consistent in their position on this issue are the Greens and the Nationals.

Nov 21, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Iapogus, a kelpie is a sheep dog, with a large amount of border collie and a tad of dingo, from memory.

Nov 21, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

sHx, the two independent MPs you refer to occupy conservative seats but are far from conservative themselves, as their constituents discovered to their dismay after the hung 2010 election. To state otherwise is simply disingenuous. Oakeshott was aided in his campaign by the leftist activist group GetUp, and specifically thanked and praised them after the election.

Nov 21, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

IIRC the Aboriginal population of Australia was about a million, and its current population is about 20 times that. The former are the failed civilisation, not the latter.

If Greenpeace wants to eliminate 95% of the human population to appease the inanimate object Gaia, they should just say so.

Nov 21, 2012 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Every week-end thousands of Brummies (and locals) come to walk on the Malvern Hills.
The most attractive places are the former quarries which once 'scarred' the landscape.
In a comparatively short time 'nature' has reclaimed and beautified them.
The same could be said for the Forest of Dean, where only the trained eye can locate the old tram tracks and remains of the 'industrial complexes' which once 'blighted' the area.
It's not always a one-way traffic.

Nov 21, 2012 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Johnie Ball has a refreshing take on all this....

I'm going to make my girls (9 and 10) watch this soon.


Nov 21, 2012 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Some bright sparks at Glyndebourne decided that part of their mission in life was to scare the young about CO2, and they had a windmill built nearby as a symbol of their earnest intent. Now we have some person or persons at an art gallery deciding to do their bit for the cause, a cause which for many seems to be largely one of sharing their neuroses as widely as possibly so that even children are not spared their troubles. It is not a very adult or responsible thing to do in my opinion, and given the flimsy basis for alarm over CO2, it is doubly shocking.

It used just to be science museums, anything within a mile of WWF et al., and no end of inititiatives funded by the previous UK government (including for schools), that you would expect this insidious propaganda. Are we now to add opera houses and art galleries to the list of danger zones or was there something peculiar about these two instances?

Nov 21, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

     This is probably a more accurate count of our aboriginal population (from Australian Bureau of Statistics)

     In 2011, there were 548,370 people identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin and counted in the Census.
     Of these people, 90% were of Aboriginal origin only ...

Nov 21, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

@ Roger

Indeed. My point is that aboriginals managed to sustain a population of a million on a subsistence basis, whereas colonists have managed to sustain 20 times that number on a much more comfortable basis. I am not seeing anything in the aboriginal approach to admire.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

It is often claimed that" the purpose of art is to shock." Therefore the artists whose work is exhibiter in the exhibition in Ballarat are obviously better than people like Leonardo da Vinci. There's not much that is shocking about the Mona Lisa after all. Besides, despite his scientific interests Leonardo never thought about the possibility of global warming.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

     Ah... a valid and telling point (slightly confusing in your comment above) which I fully endorse.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

John Shade: The Glyndebourne turbine was officially opened by David Attenborough. A friend and I put lots of comments on their website, but all criticism of their "green" policy was quickly deleted. I note the turbine has achieved a marvellous load factor of 20% so far! This compares to the expected 28.1% (mean wind speed so far 5.8m/s compared to expected 6.8m/s). I'll not say "we told you so", but .....

Of course, the turbine is used as a propaganda tool for visiting school children, to teach them all about "the mechanics of generating power". Unfortunately, they have no knowledge themselves, so all they do is repeat BWEA (RenewableUK) propaganda.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@ Chris M Nov 21, 2012 at 8:30 AM - thanks for that. Should have guessed.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus


Don't know whether you saw the comedy on BBC called Twenty Twelve, a spoof of the Olympic preparations, but there was one episode where they decided to have a wind turbine to show how environmentally aware they were. Only problem was there was no wind there. So they decided to install a motor in it to turn it. Actually, for the BBC, the series took the mickey out of several of the BBC's sacred cows.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Niall, The sooner your daughters watch that Johnny Ball film the better. They'll soon be rebellious teenagers and it will be better for them to rebel against their teachers than their parents (which they will do anyway, but independent thought develops between about 8 and 12 when their minds are open and really kicks in with maturity).

Was that debate (3rd March 2011) the reason he got ostracised from the Beeb? I can't imagine it taking place now.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

I am just grateful that they did not have "Autumn Cannibalism (Premonitions of a Civil War) " by Salvador Dali or "The Raft of the Medusa" by Gericault on loan! Heaven knows what they would have made of them!

Thank you for bringing to our attention again the appalling dumbing down and "greening" of school textbooks and teaching. As is implied in the clip you linked to...the Chinese and the Indians are producing the chemists and we are producing the green activists. It will not end well for GB.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Can't speak for your chaps & chapesses in the cOlonies, but back here in good old Blighty, the policital propagandising of children is illegal & a criminal offence, probably why the Guvment & it's NGOs indulge in it so much, they're entitled to ignore their own laws, for they are above it! I did reead the whole thing, unfortuantely, & I am aware that this kind of grubby, tacky, sordid thing goes on all over the place. On a recent visit with my late father-in-law to the Exeter Museum, at Christmas time, I noticed one of the exhibits stating that Falcons were "once common in the west country", but due to prolific use of (our old friend) DDT, they were in serious decline! Notwithstanding the fact that DDT was banned in the UK some 40 years ago, the apparent recovery of the species had been slow. When I challenged the museum in an email requesting scientific data in support of such a claim, after a fortnight I got a response that wasn't worth the effort, quoting all sorts references, none of which contained any scientific support, no observational or emperical evidence of any kind, merely heresay & an obscure reference to Rachel Carson!!! That was that!

Nov 21, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

So the famous 1970s poster of that fit girl with no knickers on playing Tennis walking away rubbing her bum.

So what does that say Global Warming.

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

> So the famous 1970s poster of that fit girl with no knickers on playing Tennis walking
> away rubbing her bum.
> So what does that say about Global Warming.

If it was too hot for knickers back then she'll have the lot off by now!

Who said global warming was a bad thing? :-)

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

It's just such a sick (not in the hip sense) way of seeing the world.

Instead of the seascape of the ship in a storm being a depiction of the puniness of humans against the forces of nature, it is distorted into a pornography of human evil.

What is even more disgusting is that young people, instead of being inspired with hope and optimism, are being inculcated with a version of the Jim Jones cult. We are intrinsically evil, the world is coming to an end, and so on. While most healthy youngsters will reject this nonsense, there are some vulnerable ones who won't - sometimes with sad consequences.

I have just finished reading Ion Idriess' 'Flynn of the Inland' - a cross between a penny dreadful and a serious history. It is about how John Flynn and his helpers created a network of hospitals, then radio networks and the Flying Doctor Service across the huge empty spaces of Australia between 1920 and 1930. The mindset is as far removed from these inner-city wankers as it is possible to be.

Whereas people who lived and worked in those very harsh environments were once regarded as role models and heroes, they have now been transformed into vandals and exploiters. The people who died (especially children) because of lack of technology don't count. I mention children, not because of the usual trashy sentimental arguments, but because the lowlife promoters of the art exhibition target their propaganda at children whose prosperity is built on the sacrifices of children who lost the fight with Mother Nature unmediated.

Why is giving children a positive and optimistic worldview so anathema to greenies?

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Jack Savage

It's a good game for a rainy afternoon. How about Goya's "Saturn devouring his son".

"Droughts and floods will mean that crops will fail and parents will have to eat their children to survive."

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Sounds like another 28Gate style "CAGW with Everything" production policy.

Nov 21, 2012 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

The Fall of Icarus by Breughel.

Humans have caused it to become so hot that the wings of aeroplanes will melt and you will all be plunged to your death.

Nov 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Coincidently this is running at Anglia Ruskin University

Sustainability: More than just hot air...
Press release issued: 19 November 2012

New solar-powered installation to go on show at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge
A new art installation featuring a 45ft long representation of sustainability will be on display at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge from 21 November until 13 December.

Andy Webster's (Un)Sustainable?, on show at the Ruskin Gallery, aims to encourage and explore responses to the idea of sustainability, a term that some view as imperative for future thinking and actions while others see as a tired, worn-out cliché.

Webster's work, which spells 'SUSTAINABLE' in large inflatable letters, will deflate and inflate every hour courtesy of two fans, which are powered by solar panels next to the windows in the Ruskin Gallery. However, uncertain weather conditions and reduced daylight hours at this time of year are unlikely to guarantee a reliable source of power.

Webster said: 'I don't mind if the work fails to inflate as my own interest in it is as much to do with the sculpture being deflated as it is with being inflated. Limiting the frequency of the inflation, or focusing on it in its deflated state, provokes many more questions than if it was on constantly.

'Realising that one cannot simply turn the work on and have it constantly inflated, denying instant gratification, is its simple starting point. When it flops, fails, collapses or simply doesn't work, this asks questions about problem solving, failure, impotency, and seeming inaction.

'I also want it to embody some proper contradictions, such as the fact that it is made out of several metres of vinyl material which is made in China and then imported to the UK from Hong Kong. Thus its own construction and realisation embodies many of the problems associated with unsustainable living.'

As part of a competition organised by Anglia Ruskin's Global Sustainability Institute (GSI), art students will be presenting work alongside Webster's installation on the theme of sustainability. The GSI was established last year and its core research is focused around personal motivations and systems change, set against the challenges of sustainability.

Dr Aled Jones, Director of the GSI, said:
"The abstract and complex nature of the sustainability agenda can lead people to switch off and feel unconnected with the issues. Hosting Andy Webster's (Un)Sustainable? and the student competition aims to encourage engagement with the term."

Webster, who is also a Lecturer in Art & Environment at University College Falmouth, will discuss his work at the Ruskin Gallery on Thursday, 22 November (1-2pm).

Nov 21, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Nov 21, 2012 at 8:49 AM | toad

Totally agree nature is great at beautifying and recovering damage. I'm a particular fan of its ability to recover from self inflicted damage, The Auvergne for instance, or the volcanco plugs in central Scotland (Stirling Castle and surrounding carse), I expect the Auvergne will end up looking similar although not in my lifetime. Nature is truly wonderful, the problem is people who think that they can improve on the natural world.

Nov 21, 2012 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

It's going to take a while for the Stirling landscape going to recover from this:

Nov 21, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Ballaarat is a fine Victorian City built on the hard work and efforts of Gold Rush miners. The City deserves better than this false, mean propaganda from its Art Gallery. In 1890 the climate was a lot hotter in Central Victoria than now and people who lived and worked in these harsh environments and built the City, should be recognised as the heroes and titans that they were, men, women and children too. They are now depicted by Inner City Greenies as environmental wreckers and exploiters. In these days life was hard and graveyards show that men, women and children died young as a result of lack of technology and medical knowledge. The Ballaarat Art Gallery is a fine adaptation of an old building which this sort of idiotic propaganda trashes totally. The organisers of this show should be cast out into a tent at the back of the defunct Deborah Mine to contemplate their sins.

Nov 21, 2012 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

One of my most vivid early school memories, grade 5, involved the class answering a series of questions about our future lifestyle aspirations. We crunched the results according to rules of the exercise and the teacher gave us an A3 stenciled picture of the resulting world that would emerge in 2020 as a consequence of our actions; which we then coloured in and discussed.

Naturally the test codified blathering Malthusian nonsense; only one future scenario, low population low industrial growth/consumption was a happy one. At the time a few of my classmates were angry and argumentative about the exercise.

This stuff has been festering for generations now; it is only expected to encounter artwork from children that codifies this mentality.

Nov 22, 2012 at 4:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Barnham

Don K:

If anyone ran a parody contest, your quote would be at short odds,

Apart from their many other failings, uber-greenies have no sense of humour, or of the absurd.

Nov 22, 2012 at 7:11 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

> Limiting the frequency of the inflation, or focusing on it in its deflated state,

Not working is the new working?

As an engineer this makes me laugh, I wouldn't get paid if it didn't bloody well work, but
with it being art they get paid for any auld shite.

Someone should surrepticiously rename this 'art' to "The Futility of Sustainability"?

Nov 22, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterNial


Nov 22, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

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