Embracing the Vulnerability of Others

Marte Røyeng is a singer/songwriter based in Oslo, Norway. I met her on a trip to Norway a few years ago where, at the time, she had just finished creating a musical with at-risk youth that dealt with aspects climate change. I have been following her work from a distance since then, always delighted to listen to her haunting and richly textured songs. A gifted musician who plays mandolin, piano, guitar and banjo, Marte has performed in concert venues, cafés and smaller festivals in Oslo and as far north as Lofoten. Here, she tells us what drives her, why urgency must be accompanied with compassion, and why embracing the vulnerability of others is a source of hope. What inspires you? I often find inspiration in descriptions of a life that is different and more extreme than mine. When I feel like a stranger to what I am listening to, reading, or seeing, I feel the need to respond, and that response is usually a piece of music,

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The Nature of Man

Madmen and Dreamers is a progressive rock band who writes, records, and performs original rock operas. Our first project, The Children of Children, enjoyed a limited run at the Bleecker Street Theater in New York City following its regional tour. The band, founded by Christine Hull and me, is raising funds for the tour of its new project, a climate change rock opera called The Nature of Man, written by Mario Renes, Christine, and me. While we were touring The Children of Children, Mario, Chris and I began to talk about the next project. The environment was the obvious choice, but which aspect of climate change should we focus on? As writers are universally cruel to their characters we started tossing around worst case scenarios. It didn’t take long to settle on water: the lynchpin of climate change and flash point of fracking and pollution. But… how to make this huge issue accessible to the audience? While pondering that, Chris and I were

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The Making of “Concert Climat:” A Tale of Words and Music

Revelations don’t come very often, but when they do your head is never quite the same. In the fall of 2014, a revelation came to me in the form of Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything. It confirmed what I suspected to be true about climate change, which is that no attempt to deal with it can succeed without challenging the economic system that created the problem and brought us to where we are today. Science, politics, economics, culture all had to be considered at once if there were any hope of confronting this potential apocalyse. Her thesis is logically and brilliantly argued, and a pleasure to read. It reminded me of two other books, among many I’ve read over the past decade, which are revelations in their own right. Whereas Ms Klein’s book considers climate change through an economic and political lens, Bill McKibben’s Eaarth examines it from a cultural orientation, and Dr James Hansen’s Storms of My Grandchildren

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Going Up: Climate Change + Philadelphia

In Going Up: Climate Change + Philadelphia, eight artists from around the country – Daniel Crawford, Lorrie Fredette, Jim Frazer, Eve Mosher, Jill Pelto, Kaitlin Pomerantz and John Heron, and Michelle Wilson – explore the future of a hotter, wetter Philadelphia. Several of the artists use data as a point of departure, and others suggest imaginative ways of thinking about problems and solutions, even considering the responsibility of art to reduce its own carbon footprint. The gallery contains artwork made for indoor display as well as pieces that document social practice or conceptual art that happened outside the gallery or studio, less focused on the product than the process. Many help us to notice our surroundings more closely, observing the small and incremental changes around us that track global change. Going Up opened on September 24th at the Schuylkill Center, and runs through December 2016. Artist duo Kaitlin Pomerantz & John Heron explored waste and water pollution, presenting an imaginative way to think

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