Music and the arts as platform to create a more sustainable future.
Besides being an environmental activist and health and wellbeing researcher, I am also a musician. In this capacity I was engaged by the Pyrophone Juggernaut to go to Sao Paulo in Brazil to play at the Virada Cultural festival as part of Australia Now. The Pyrophone Juggernaut is the brain child of instrument maker Steve Langton and is the largest multi octave fire organ in the world. It provides a theatrical, visual and musical experience second to none. The entire installation is built completely from recycled materials by Steve and I am proud to be a part of such a creative and entertaining project!
Pyrophone Juggernaut in action:
The Brazilian people are incredibly warm and lovely, and the vibe in Sao Paulo is fantastic. I am not overly keen on cities, and was a bit anxious going to a city that has 20 million people… Coming from little Kin Kin, home of about 500 spread out in a valley, peace, quiet and clearly visible stars at night, going to a city of that much noise and action is quite daunting! But the whole experience was wonderful, and I am very grateful for the experience. Gratitude to Steve, Fatima and the rest of the Pyrophone crew, the Australia Now team especially Mark and Mari and all the lovely people we met in Sao Paulo who were so helpful and kind!
Street scenes of Sao Paulo
I have to admit that it is extremely challenging to maintain faith that we can achieve change in this world, when I observe things like plastic waste (why do we humans love water in plastic bottles and cups so much? And then are so careless disposing of them?), homelessness, 600km traffic jams (!!!), energy and water waste etc.
The realisation hit me that petroleum products have made life so much easier for us all, to the extent that we have become extremely lazy. We are no longer responsible for most of our needs (water, power, food growing, transport, other services) and rely on our governments to provide us with all that. If those needs are not met, we blame our government. If the government allows big corporations to step in and take over and pollute our land to provide those needs, we blame our government. When will we see that we only have ourselves to blame? When will we all take control back of our lives and get in the drivers seat? When will we start to co-operate with each other to find and implement sustainable solutions for our water, energy, transport, unemployment, food and other problems? The solutions are already there, they are available. But we all have to work together to achieve this. In a way big cities are so much more capable of achieving this, as they have the manpower to do it.
I met someone today who said that the less he has, the happier he is. He had the fancy house and cars, and all the “stuff” and was unhappy. Now he lives simply and is much happier. We all tend to put too much value on “stuff”. We do not need so much stuff. All we really need is clean food, water, air and shelter, a reliable community and loving relationships. The rest is unnecessary. The rest is the reason we are unsustainable. The rest is just stuff. And this stuff is what is causing most of todays’ woes.
Even though I see the contradiction in trying to live sustainably here in Kin Kin and travelling around the world to play music, I also see the value in bringing joy to people’s lives through music and arts. Everyone’s life has ups and downs, and music and arts help alleviate some of people’s daily woes. It also is a great platform to get people thinking about making a change. The simple fact that such a visual spectacle as the Pyrophone Juggernaut is totally made from recycled materials and is a work of art as well as a musical masterpiece, is already food for thought. I am extremely blessed to be working with and to know a lot of musicians and visual artists who are also environmental activists. Music and the arts are instrumental (pun intended) in creating change in society and are to be supported as much as possible. Outside of the popular music / pop world, there are a lot of incredible music and arts projects out there that have an enormous impact on people’s lives, and stimulate people to make positive changes in their lives. I am incredibly lucky to be involved in a few of these projects, projects that feed not just my soul, but the audience as well!
Some of the amazing street art in Sao Paulo
As I return to my simple little place in the world, I return to clean air, food and water (made, grown and caught on our property), loving relationships with other humans and animals and our own little community. I had a wonderful time in Sao Paulo with the beautiful Brazilian people and I hope to return again. Maybe next time my Portuguese will be a bit better, so I can talk to people about sustainability. Even if we only inspire one person to be more sustainable, it may be enough to make a small change. A small change can butterfly effect into bigger change and end up having a major effect on the planet!
Music and arts make cultural exchange easy:
©2016 Zaia; permeco.org, incorporating Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, simplicity, permaculture, self reliance, self sufficiency, sustainability, food, health and homesteading, music and the arts as platform for a sustainable future