Arts and the Imagination at COP26

You may or may not be a fan of the likes of Brian Eno, Neil Gaiman and Kim Stanley Robinson but I thought I should point out to the assembled throng that attending this event live, albeit remotely, was the highlight of my recent COP26 experience:

Just as we need climate scientists to present the facts, we need the arts and culture to help us think and feel and talk about the climate crisis at all levels. The conversation needs scientists – but it urgently needs artists too. Science discovers, Art digests. Art and culture tell us stories about other possible worlds, lives, and ways of being. A novel or a film invites us to experience an imaginary world and see how we feel about it. Culture is where our minds go to experiment, to try out new feelings.

As Brian Eno put it whilst I was live Tweeting the 5×15 event:

It seems that Neil Gaiman was in Scotland for the recording of the second series of Good Omens. What is more not only did he retweet my Eno quote above but also my introduction to the event as well. What a nice man!

As indeed is Kim Stanley Robinson, although very sensibly he has better things to do than spend time on Twitter. Amongst a variety of other things “Stan” read an extract from his latest book, The Ministry for the Future:

We are a herd, made of individuals. We move in lines, one after another.

The land we walk over is mostly water. When we walk on water we grow frightened and hurry to return to land. Some of us lead astray the stupid, others urge fools to rash adventures.

If we follow the wrong leader we die. If we panic we die. If we stay calm we are killed. You could eat us but we are of more use to you in other ways, so you rarely do.

By our passing we render the land in ways you need more than ever before. We are caribou, we are reindeer, we are antelope, we are elephants, we are all the great herd animals of Earth, among whom you should count yourselves.

Therefore let us pass.

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