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"What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another."  — Mohandas Gandhi

Artist Studio Suites - Campuses of Creativity

The business of art is to reveal the relation between [us] and [our] environment.
– D. H. Lawrence.

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Growing up, we had a small house in the backyard that was originally built and used as an entrepreneurial venture, a testing ground for a household cleaning solution. It held many things beyond that: a tool shed, a catch-all for family collections of stuff, a home for older siblings and eventually a cottage for an author. Sometime in its life it transformed into and became “The Cottage in the Backyard”. When it was changed into a bedroom with a bath for the two oldest in the family, it became a great ‘hut” (that’s what we younger kids thought.) Each time we stepped through its doors we would envision a world of possibilities. It became our hideout, escape, and haven as we grew up.

After the oldest moved out and on, the cottage became a getaway of expression for a well known local author. She wrote several of her books and stories there. It became a cottage and venue for creativity. She would disappear into the cottage and only reemerge when she had a manuscript in hand. We believed that the cottage somehow spurred her through the vortex, laying down on paper, all the adventures and thoughts that ran through her.

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The Arts Organization and TAO Homes is beginning to transform a small house in the backyard of downtown Salt Lake City. It is the first small structure to become a creative cottage. It was originally used as a home and later fell into many winters of disrepair. Now, the house and surrounding grounds are going through a transformation. In the next several blogs we will be opening up the doors of this renovation to those who own or dream of owning a cottage for creativity.

This cottage of creativity is the first of a number of artist studio suites, around the world, that will be built, rediscovered, transformed and loved back to health. These cottages are small suites to support the artists inviting and allowing creativity to run through them and made to matter through their medium of expression. It is time for this season of expression; small campuses of creation where artists from all professions, are encouraged to create.

 

These campuses of creativity are the abbeys and convents of yesteryear, the environments where The Sacred, The Divine, The Creator, The OM find us.  Through form, whether it be dance, writing, painting, cooking, or music,  the campuses of creativity are incubators of expression where ideas, dreams and  innovations have a place to be born, nurtured, developed, shared and implemented. Spaces where thoughts have a childhood: to grow and mature, to be fed, rocked and encouraged allowing them to gain strength and clarity before they emerge into the world of questions, doubts, possibilities and opportunities.

It starts here, in Salt Lake City, and will grow throughout the world to encompass a global campus interconnected by You, Us, Them, They - a home where we all belong because we’re one family of Creation and Creator. These campuses of creativity encourage you to find your calling and then your career. 

 

These blogs will resemble  family albums documenting the growth of a child. Join and collaborate by thinking when, how and where you would like to give birth to such a child as this. The global village began online, and by collaborating, by finding, donating or developing a creative campus in your city, the global village comes to you.

Happy New Year and cheers to the birth of new ideas, dreams and innovations. Cheers to a new humanity.

The Arts Organization


Wendy Adams was born and raised. Among her many accomplishments, are monumental moments of life shaping, decision making. “What are you going to do when you grow up?” “An Artist? Nice hobby – get a real profession” were the themes continually running through her life and helped refine what “An Artist” actually is.

She traveled a similar path as most of us. She graduated from junior high, high school, (graduating Cum Latté, vente size), and finished college with a degree in BS integrating a wide range of life skills with an emphasis on Varietology, known today as XTreme liberal arts.

As Founder and Creative Director, of The Arts Organization and a Huffington Post Blogger, Wendy’s passion is to help others recognize their own inner vision.

 

 

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I read this post and got "chivels" - my own name for how my body responds to Soul-Truth concepts. I once attended an art therapy workshop in an old Victorian mansion that was dedicated to the arts. On the same property, beyond the parking area, was a small bungalow cottage. The facilitator owned both homes, but chose to live in the cottage because it was nestled in the back of the property, away from the main road where the Victorian mansion sat. I fell in love with the property and the concept and hope to create my own just like it some day. This concept of Artist Cottages is delicious! Thank you for sharing.

Finding Reality

In my last environmental post, Chasing Reality, I wrote to the need for people – whether as citizens, corporate workers, governmental employees, members of a society, nation, the human race – to recognize that climate change is real and is here, right now. As psychologists are wont to say: the first step on the long road to recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem.

Amongst the scientists, philosophers, ethicists, and public policy makers who think about these things climate change is recognized as a multi-faceted problem of immense scale. It is not only an economic, political, scientific and social problem but it is also an ethical problem, the likes of which we as a species have never had to confront before.

Mixed in with ethical discussions about what the First World is doing to Third World peoples or how we will impact future generations, are challenging questions about what individuals’ responsibilities are, if any, to address climate change. On the one extreme there is the argument that individuals’ impacts are negligible whilst the other viewpoint counters with the (not un-reasonable) premise that all green house gas emissions matter (see links below).

A recent study postulates that individuals can indeed have a harmful impact on climate change via their actions (or inactions). The degree of this impact can and is being debated, but at the same time other studies clearly show that perceived individual ineffectiveness is justification for inaction. The prevailing trend is to try to insert the Individual into the climate change solutions matrix in a productive and responsible fashion. This does in no way negate the overwhelming need for governmental and business responses, as some have pointed out. To that end, it seems obvious that without a major, significant change in both public policies and corporate behaviors, we will continue to tread this same path of inaction.

As individuals though, we can have an impact in two ways: as good citizens and as good consumers.

As citizens – whether of a community, a state, or a country – we have sets of obligations placed upon us that are designed to protect and benefit the greatest number, are often mandatory and therefore difficult to shirk. As Good Citizens we embrace values and actions that are communitarian, strategic, and voluntary. In the realm of climate change mitigation these can include:

  • Strive to change your workplace to become more green
  • Encourage businesses to become more energy efficient and sustainable
  • Write letters-to-the-editor or opinion-editorial pieces for your local papers
  • Advocate for change and hold accountable your elected officials
  • Submit comments to regulatory or policy agencies
  • Petition your city council or county board of supervisors to set minimum LEED standards
  • Report environmental violations
  • Become involved in climate change non-profits

Regarding the latter, I am a strong believer in the power of writing and petitioning elected officials. But, as one individual, I am sanguine about the affect of one on a legislative body of many (especially if they are intransigent or even hostile). Therefore, I am an even bigger believer in the power of organization. There are a number of environmental non-profits who have made climate change mitigation one of their key platforms. In addition, there are several for whom climate change mitigation is their ONLY campaign. (See below for suggested links.) Joining AND working with them multiplies the power of one, many-fold.

Many of us are already working to be good consumers. We recycle, bike where and when we can, turn unused lights off, etc. Here is a comprehensive – but surely not complete – list of things we can do to be Good Consumers:

  • Drive a more fuel-efficient car (think hybrid or all-electric).
  • Walk more, bike more, and consider public transportation.
  • Buy local that is truly local and try to avoid goods that are shipped from overseas.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meats.
  • Minimize the use of plastics (including those nasty, ubiquitous water bottles!).
  • Use cloth not paper napkins.
  • Turn the key and be idle-free.
  • Reuse and recycle what you can.
  • Consume less.
  • Vacation closer to home and for business consider video/web conferencing.
  • Prevent heat (or cool) loss by weatherizing your home.
  • During the winter, dress warmer and turn down the heat.
  • During the summer, turn off or down the air conditioning. If you live in a dry-climate state, consider an evaporative cooler rather than AC.
  • Going on vacation? Unplug those electrical devices!
  • Replace your aging appliances with new energy efficient ones.
  • Turn off lights when not in use and use energy efficient bulbs.
  • Use cold water wash.
  • Forego the electric/gas dryer and hang your clothes outside.
  • Choose to shop with or buy products from businesses that have invested in renewable energy or produce products sustainably.
  • Explore the use of alternative energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal (tax credits may apply!).
  • Purchase renewable energy credits to help fund more renewable energy sources.
  • Join a Community Choice Aggregation system if you are lucky enough to be in one of the few areas that have implemented one.
  • Participate in one of The Arts Organization’s P2EASE courses.  (These are an in-development  set of online courses focused on environmental and sustainability issues.)

These are not just ‘feel-goodisms’ but real and measurable changes. Many of these also have the side-benefits of reducing expenses, reducing landfills, and perhaps also reducing your waistline. What is not to like about that?

Let’s work so that Good Governments and Good Businesses finally have no choice but to come together, acknowledge the climate change threat, and follow what the Good Citizens and Good Consumers are already doing.

 

Climate Change Organizations (these are just a few of the many that are doing good work):

Sierra Club Climate Recovery Partnership

Earthjustice

Citizens Climate Lobby

350.org

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Environmental Defense Fund

Greenpeace

 

Article links:

Individual Responsibility for Climate Change

Philosophical Debate on Individual’s Impact on Climate Change

It’s Not My Fault: Global Warming and Individual Moral Obligations

Climate Change and the Ethics of Individual Emissions: A Response to Sinnott-Armstrong


As the principal of Clayhaus Photography, Jeff Clay specializes in fine-art landscape, architecture, and travel images. He also does portrait and event photography as a partner in Perfect Light Studios. Finally, with a background in information technology and project management, and as sole proprietor of Clayhaus Consulting, he works with non-profits and small businesses to help implement Internet and social media campaigns. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT with his wife, Bonnie and their three wild and crazy retrievers.

Chasing Reality

Iceland GlacierI recently saw the photography-cum-climate change documentary Chasing Ice. Though I knew what to expect – visions beautiful in their presentation but horrific in their implication – I still came away wondering how any thinking person could deny the evidence of their eyes: glaciers and ice caps around the world are melting at an alarming and unprecedented rate. Though it is not necessarily logical, many climate change deniers refute the conclusion drawn by 99+% of climatologists and atmospheric scientists: climate change is real and yes, Wilma, we are to a great extent, the ones causing it. But to see a film such as Chasing Ice and not be moved by what it all means implies a persona impervious to both logic and feeling, rigid in its ideological sureness.

So it is both sobering and heartening to see a person moved to tearful change after watching the movie. Though I am happy for her maturation, I would so love to see any number of politicians – who are actually being paid by us to facilitate change – see the movie and openly declare their change of heart and mind. Instead, dutiful to their stolid and unmovable beliefs, many will likely pass on the opportunity to grow up.

When did it become an acceptable part of being an adult to permit beliefs to trump facts? We are all entitled to believe what we may. But truly we cannot have our own facts. The true sign of growing as an individual – and by extension, as a society, a culture – is to evolve. Changing one’s mind is not necessarily flip-flopism. Not if the mind is changed by an uncalculating maturation, a progression that pushes surety aside, permits new information in, balances and weighs, and says “things change, and so does my mind!”

Because truly, things do change. And the changes that we – or our children – may witness would be big, if not catastrophic. Imagine Venice drowned, New York inundated, the Maldives no more, coastal areas everywhere flooded, super storms the norm, increased desertification, longer and more intense fire seasons. The economic costs are already adding up, the future human costs unimaginable. And the age-old expression is ever-true today: “Time and tide wait for no one.”

Next post: Things you can actually DO to help the climate change crisis 

 


As the principal of Clayhaus Photography, Jeff Clay specializes in fine-art landscape, architecture, and travel images. He also does portrait and event photography as a partner in Perfect Light Studios. Finally, with a background in information technology and project management, and as sole proprietor of Clayhaus Consulting, he works with non-profits and small businesses to help implement Internet and social media campaigns. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT with his wife, Bonnie and their three wild and crazy retrievers.

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