The Black Car Project!

June 15, 2007


Black Car Project

Global warming is real and caused by humans. This is the message that the scientific community has gotten behind and called “very likely” a scientific term for greater than 90% odds. But what does this mean? If you look into climate models that offer the most hopeful change estimates for the future you find grim results.

What the scientist aren’t portraying very well with their careful vocabulary are human terms that resonate with people. The death of the coral reefs, 20-30% of the species of this planet going extinct, billions of people without water, are consequences that are unthinkable and yet leave people unaffected when merely read. These facts must be reinterpreted by artists and spiritual leaders and portrayed to people with the necessary depth.

The black car project is a personal moral reaction to climate change. The Isuzu Rodeo now encased in cement was given up with the promise of not owning a vehicle again until they are sustainable, if that ever happens.

June 12, 2007

Polar Bear Float

Polar Express melting in the sun!

Building Paper Polar Bears
“Hold the arts as a very powerful tool to raise the collective consciousness and awaken our culture's numbed aesthetic values, thereby inciting a hunger for personally protecting the natural world.”
-Eli Sterling

The Procession is a celebration of the earth and all its elements. Thousands come together wearing costumes, waving batiks, holding wind socks, dancing and playing music through the streets. Even those who do not make floats or costumes are included in the procession by policemen who distribute 7,000 pieces of chalk to the crowd. Everything from young dance classes to bicycle powered rhinos to 10 foot tall polar bear on icebergs create the procession.

Our project was the creation of the polar bear float. It took approximately two weeks and a total of around 180 combined hours to complete. We started by wandering into the Procession Studio and looking around. It was such an inspiring place, filled with people happily working at creating art. People of all types made art together, from rosy cheeked kids, to punk kids, to grey haired kids. I wandered up to Eli with this idea to build a full scaled polar bear and baby bear on an iceberg and too my astonishment he gave me a full tour of where everything in the studio was and how to get started.

I wandered home that day deciding that it was not only possible but it was exactly what we were going to do! Two days later we started work on paper macheing a baby bear. It went quick and onward we went towards finishing a second baby and then the big momma. Finally the day before the procession, a little red eyed, we finished assembling the whole project onto our sturdy iceberg that seperated and came back together.

What really made our project was the feeling of comradere with everyone else there. After being around people's uniquely inspired projects you want to help each other get things done. Each costume, each float becomes important to complete. Inviting all of our friends to help was also crucially important. At different points in time we had 10 different people lending a little or a lot of help.

Finally, five of us, wearing polar bear suits, gathered together to help pull the float down the streets, continually breaking the icebergs apart, spinning them around and then pulling them back together. There was a flaming sun beating down on the float that helped to connect our float to the message of global warming. With one of the founding tenants being “No written words or symbols” we found a creative inspiring way to say “How much can Sweaty the Polar Bear, bear?” People cheered and we got a lot of feedback that people got our message and enjoyed the show.

Evergreen Bikes!

On April 14th, 2007, bikers converged at Division and Harrison to show their support for Step It Up National Climate Action Day. There were close to 50 bikers carrying signs with slogans like "Global Warming is Terrorism" and "Bikes are Sexy." Riding downtown they blocked lanes of car traffic and got a lot of support from pedestrians and sympathetic drivers alike. The ride proceeded through downtown and ended at Sylvester park for the main event.

The event featured a myriad of speakers and music intertwined throughout the day. People came in waves, wandering through the delightful and informative booths soaking up information for this first but soon to be annual event. Every half an hour groups left on an imaginary new waterfront tour showing where the waterline in Olympia is predicted to be.