TED Conversations

Sunny Monroe

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How can we use art to build awareness of peak oil and start the public discussion on transitioning away from fossil fuels.

Peak oil is a tough message for people to swallow. Most of the people writing on it spin a tale of food shortages, economic collapse, and oil wars that our beloved technology cannot save us from. But there are things to be hopeful and curious about in a post-oil world. I believe that lowering our reliance on oil will force us to build stronger communities, produce less non-biodegradable plastic, drive less, move around more, and reconnect with the earth. I also believe there is an audience out there that is ripe for this message, but it must be delivered in a way that inspires curiousity, empowerment, and hope. How can we use art - public art, music, online, etc - to start this public conversation?


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    Feb 2 2012: Sure ok Sunny, I think you're right - the best way to teach is through example, not trying to force people into things. David makes a good point too, using celebrities and iconic figures in society to promote new ideas or raise awareness.

    I personally am very interested in the music industry, and earlier this month posted a question about the responsibilities of the popular music industry to use their influence for greater good. It was just, would there ever be a good trade where the labels take the risk, and the responsible artist make them the money. I personally think there is a huge gap in the market for this kind of music, because passionate people make good music and people want something to believe in.
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      Feb 3 2012: Ok..I'm not sure how popular this will be but I find it a little disconcerting when artists are deemed responsible for this kind of enlightenment. In some ways I feel it de-values art to think of it as a tool for communicating an agenda or a set of values, morals or facts. I accept that you are not advocating that all art should display this responsible position but it cannot be denied that the artist is termed as "responsible" if they do.
      I think moreover it is the responsibility of those people who wish to communicate an idea to find the best way to do it. It's not much use sitting around and hoping that an artist communicate what you want to hear but instead to create it, or at least implement this yourselves. After all there is no such thing as 'an artist' other than one who practices art.

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