29 May 2010

Democracy, croissants, art and trains (Interlude)

Ahem. Yes, I know this post is supposed to be about Paris, but I have been sidetracked this week. Luckily for you there is still time a plenty for you to be similarly sidetracked.

This week I have mostly be attending The Convergence Festival, Dublin's annual conference on sustainability and resilience. Run by the good folks in Cultivate, based between the Greenhouse in the City Centre and Cloughjordan eco village in Tipperary, the conference started on Wednesday and stretches on into next week.

Of most interest to me were presentations and discussions in a World Cafe format on Wednesday on lessons to be learned from the global south, which started with talks on technology transfer but which left me with more insights into community building than I was expecting, and a panel discussion on Thursday night on the nature and function of Co-operatives, that produced two key insights; Gavin Harte, former head of An Taisce, called for a Brown Movement, a mix of Red and Green, arguing that it is impossible to talk about sustainability without addressing issues of social justice, and everybody's favourite broadcaster Duncan Stewart called for both the raising of the carbon tax from its current €15/ton to €200/ton, and the subsequent creation of a fund from the proceeds of which 25% would be redistributed across the board to the poorest 25% in society. Radical stuff indeed, and expect more about these thoughts in a future post.

I also made it along to a screening of "Home" in the Lighthouse, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, photographer and producer of the "Earth from Above" books and exhibitions, pretty stunning even if it was produced for Gucci and their chums, as well as to the one-day workshop on creating Resilient Cities. The Conference continues today and on into next week both here and in Cloughjordan, with an opportunity tomorrow to visit the eco-village itself with an organised tour and buses from Dublin. Full information on all the events can be found here.

Of further interest to those of you living in Dublin is the annual Anarchist Book Fair happening today in Liberty Hall. A good range of book stalls albeit with a somewhat specialist selection on offer will be there all day, accompanied by a wide range of talks including one by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, authors of last year's excellent history of the Official IRA/Worker's Party "The Lost Revolution", the progenitor of Democratic Left and the origin of most of the current Labour Party leadership. The BookFair runs all day, and is followed up tomorrow by a Radical Walking Tour of the city starting at 1pm outside the Ambassador Cinema on O'Connell Street, all of which is free.

Should none of these events pique your interest then may I recommend a lecture next Wednesday in The Science Gallery entitled 'From Mathematics to Art' by Daina Taimina, mathematician, academic, creator of Hyperbolic Crochet, and occasional commentator on this blog (well, once is technically an occasion). If you haven't seen the Hyperbolic Reef its well worth arriving a good bit early to wander around and take it all in.

While all of these events are annual or once-off, there are a remarkable amount of things to do in Dublin on any given day that don't have to cost the earth or your life-savings. Travel writer Anto Howard has just produced 'Slow Dublin', a guide to Dublin for Dubliners, encompassing the principles of the Slow Movement, with suggestions for walks, activities, slow food and the occasional bit of responsible shopping. Nicely produced with interviews, great pictures and a genuine sense of wonder in the city around us that we rarely look at in anything less than a negative light, it is a cornucopia of ideas for an ethical rainy, or not so rainy, day.

The amazing weather may be gone but there is still an awful lot of things to be doing out there in the next few days. Dublin can be great, but you have to open your eyes and let it in.

(This unusually perky and positive post has been brought to you by Unkie Dave's three weeks away from Dublin. If there is one thing we've learned from Joyce, Beckett, Behan, et al is that to truly appreciate Dublin you need to get far, far away from it on regular, if not permanent, occasions)

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Older Posts... ...Newer Posts