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Sunflower | Oil

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, October 16th, 2022 - 81 comments
Categories: activism, art, climate change - Tags: ,

Some kids threw soup on a famous painting, and lots of people were pissed off.

Some young Just Stop Oil climate activists staged an action to wake people the fuck up. Did they wake up? You choose.

The action is both wrong and right, understanding this matter, because it is also beyond that. I watched people working through the issues on twitter yesterday, and remembered how I was unsure about Extinction Rebellion’s similar attack on a Picasso last week. My head is saying some stuff about whether it’s helpful, my body, heart and soul is cheering them on. Listen to the power in that young woman’s voice, watch her hands shake.

Even if you disagree with the method, stand beside them, because they are willing to do what is necessary. These are scared young people stepping up, taking risks to their future, laying down a huge challenge, while most people are sitting on their hands and ignoring the climate crisis that is unfolding.

Micky wrote a post the other day about the latest development from the New Zealand government on climate, and the huge problems with the regressive positions of National and organisations like Federated Farmers: Climate change: I think that we are f&*ked

We’re only fucked if we believe that government/farmers/big business will lead. They won’t, they will follow. The people leading are those two young women throwing paint at art and gluing their hands to the wall. Or SS4C. Or the myriad of indigenous groups who have been working on climate for decades. Or the people who are already devastatingly affected by climate and choosing to act instead of despair. The climate NGOs and activists. The ones willing to put their bodies on the line. Those are the people who are leading the change.

Once the narrative changes, once people accept how bad things are but that we still have choices, then we will get the mass movement that will shift governments and the powers that be.

The great European art as a target for climate action. Destroying beauty is an act of self harm. On a level it’s wrong, but it’s also an act of power. It’s painful and challenging, and it may be one of the most important things we need.

If we condemn the apparent harming of a painting, how then do react to the destruction of a whole continent of rainforests? Read this if you dare, and then choose your response,

If you have found yourself picking a side for the Van Gogh and against those two women, that harming art is always wrong, then I’m going to ask you why you side with the painting and not the forest? How much difference does it make to understand that the painting isn’t harmed (it’s covered by a sheet of glass), but the forest is failing as we speak. Why are we arguing about the painting that isn’t even harmed, and why are we not doing everything we can to save the forest and ourselves?

Here’s what Just Stop Oil said,

Only Civil Resistance can get us out of this crisis — it’s time to step up and stand up for what’s right.

But why attack paintings? Why not go after oil execs or the banks?

This is my thinking, we need more of them. It’s not that these acts won’t be effective, it’s that there aren’t nearly enough of them. Yet.

Here’s something else to understand about this protest. The closer we get to climate collapse and not taking meaningful action, the more desperate people will become. The Van Gogh and Picasso actions will be mild in comparison. This isn’t about right/wrong, or fairness, it’s about the degree to which increasing numbers of people will feel they have to act.

Maybe the point here is that we think we still have choice about saving beautiful art. But all art will fall as the Amazon does, and this seems to the stuck point: we believe that we can survive without the forest. We can’t. From the above tweet,

… the Amazon is fast approaching a tipping point where it will cease to be a functioning rainforest, without which the world cannot avert dangerous global warming. If “we lose the Amazon, we lose that fight” against climate change, WWF chief executive Tanya Steele warned.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the action and the two young people, I have yet to see alternatives for acting now with the urgency and power needed. This isn’t to say breaking the painting is good, but maybe if more of us were on board people wouldn’t be this desperate.

There are of course a multitude of things we can do, all of us, right now, to effect change. We are by no means powerless. Take in the seriousness and terribleness of the situation, but don’t give up. Stand up and fight.

 

Front page image from Kt Shepherd: sunflower seedheads as mulch and habitat.

81 comments on “Sunflower | Oil ”

  1. r0b 1

    They did no harm to the painting (which is protected by glass, which they knew). It was a brilliant protest.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/14/just-stop-oil-activists-throw-soup-at-van-goghs-sunflowers

    • But is it?

      In terms of getting their names (and cause) in the papers, yes indeed.

      In terms of persuading anyone to support their cause (who isn't already doing so)? I don't see any evidence that they've achieved this.

      It's like the XR protesters in London – who are literally taking their lives in their hands – all they appear to be achieving is hardening opposition against them. They're not convincing any of the commuters whose lives are disrupted. They're not changing the attitudes of the people who have control over the levers of power.

      • weka 1.1.1

        this I think is the centrist/conservative view, born from a lack of understanding of how radical actions effects change.

        XR have had a huge impact on climate activism as well as shifting the mainstream discussion and awareness of the climate crisis. I know what it was like writing about climate before their first few years compared to now. There's way more MSM coverage, more people understand the urgency, and surveys show that in the UK 75% of people expect their lives to be negatively impacted by climate,

        In October 2021, three-quarters (75%) of adults in Great Britain said they were either very or somewhat worried about the impact of climate change, while around one-fifth (19%) were neither worried nor unworried. These findings from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS’) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) for Great Britain are similar to results from the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Public Attitudes Tracker (319.5KB), which surveys UK households. In Winter 2021, 85% of people said they were concerned to some degree about climate change.

        NZ surveys show similar. That number is increasing.

        They're not changing the attitudes of the people who have control over the levers of power.

        Yes, they are. You think Ardern got to her nuclear free moment out of the blue, that she just read some IPCC reports and reached a conclusion and had the political capital to speak out? Māori, XR in the UK, SS4C, NGOs, activists and the Greens all pulled NZ culture into a position that made it viable for their emerging leader to speak out. That is change. We've known about CC since the 70s, and it's been urgently understood since the 90s. Activists are forcing us to talk about it now.

        They're not changing the attitudes of the people who have control over the levers of power.

        Of course they are. MPs, staffers, councillors, and so on are all regular people too,, who have grand kids and who understand what is coming. This is true across society. What you are pointing to is the old guard who are basically a death cult and don't care if they kill the planet, they want to retain power and control. But they are by no means the only thing going on.

        All change happens from the edge and then the mainstream adopts what can be integrated.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.2

        They're not convincing any of the commuters whose lives are disrupted. They're not changing the attitudes of the people who have control over the levers of power.

        Such actions keep the existential threat of anthropogenic global warming, and how it will affect 'generation protest', in the mainstream media, and all on a relatively tight budget (soup and glue) – money (and effort) well spent, imho.

        So well done those activists for eliciting a few 'tut-tuts' and fueling debate about what sort of protest actions are effective and/or acceptable, as well as keeping the heat on 'pro-status quo' types who are reluctant to share the levers of power.

        One of the activists, 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer from London, said in front of the painting: "What is worth more, art or life? Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice?"

        Food for thought. That activist has more hope for the future of this iteration of human civilisation than I do.

        The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.Thunberg

        So many ways to raise awareness – van Gogh soup is better than nothing, imho.

        The wave of demonstrations comes as the British government opens a new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas exploration, despite criticism from environmentalists and scientists who say the move undermines the country’s commitment to fighting climate change.
        https://foxtrending.com/world/canada/climate-protesters-throw-soup-on-van-goghs-sunflowers-in-london-gallery/

        • Belladonna 1.1.2.1

          Presumably those protesters, environmentalists and scientists will be first on the line with voluntary electricity cuts when the power runs out – because renewable energy isn't able to provide 100% of power requirements. /sarc/

          The UK appears, from this – to be working consistently towards increased renewable energy. But it is not at the stage where you can just turn the oil tap off (and absent extensive investment in Nuclear power) it may never be there. Winter is the enemy of most alternative energy power (as COP26 found in Glasgow)

          https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/how-much-uks-energy-renewable

          Clearly, it is not (and presumably never will be) quickly enough for the protesters – who have yet to articulate an effective alternative strategy.

          "Just stop oil" (the group behind the 'Van Gogh soup') current demands have now switched to include basic energy for all (seemingly ignoring the basic conflict of that statement with their 'ban oil' message)

          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/15/it-was-terrifying-stop-oil-activists-on-the-new-battle-against-fossil-fuel

          • weka 1.1.2.1.1

            Oh, I just realised you have a form of climate denial. It's not about being enough for the protestors, it's about what the science says we need to do.

            I'm going to assume you're not part of the death cult that says 'it's too hard to change, therefore we will live good lives until collapse and not worry about those that come after use'

            However the position that 'it's not that bad so we don't have to take drastic action, and we shouldn't take drastic action because there's no need and it will harm people' is denial of the seriousness of the crisis.

            What this position does is say 'let's change at the rate that people and society can handle' irrespective of whether that will work or not. The point isn't to transition to renewables, it's to avoid climate catastrophe in whatever way we can.

            If transition takes 30 years and we don't drop GHGs fast enough, then climate will collapse cov. Either one understands that last sentence and acts for life, or one is in denial that it's that bad.

            Not to worry, I think a lot of people are broadly in this position. Accepting that CC is real, but not ready to accept just how bad it already is.

            • Belladonna 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Well, based on that criteria, the "Just stop oil" protesters also have the same climate denial.

              If they are demanding "basic energy for all" – when they know that much of that energy comes from fossil fuels – they they are just as complicit as the rest of us.

              If we don't handle change at the pace that society can cope with – we'll have social breakdown, with all of the consequent harm coming from a failed state. I don't, myself, see that as a better solution than a state failed due to climate change.

              And, none of this has any impact on the major drivers of climate change – the big emitters: primarily China – which is *increasing* carbon emissions – while other countries are decreasing them.
              https://www.c2es.org/content/international-emissions/

              Whether or not Britain allows permits for oil exploration, matters not a spit in the wind, when compared to China tripling emissions since 2000.

              • weka

                If they are demanding "basic energy for all" – when they know that much of that energy comes from fossil fuels – they they are just as complicit as the rest of us.

                Except they want us to transition now, whereas you are saying 'let's transition slowly even if it means society and the major ecosystems collapse'

                If we don't handle change at the pace that society can cope with – we'll have social breakdown, with all of the consequent harm coming from a failed state. I don't, myself, see that as a better solution than a state failed due to climate change.

                do you accept that we will have social breakdown from climate? When do you think that will happen?

                And, none of this has any impact on the major drivers of climate change – the big emitters: primarily China – which is *increasing* carbon emissions – while other countries are decreasing them.
                https://www.c2es.org/content/international-emissions/

                Whether or not Britain allows permits for oil exploration, matters not a spit in the wind, when compared to China tripling emissions since 2000.

                That's not even new denial, that's old, bog standard denial from the last decade. Everyone has to transition, it's a global crisis. If China transitioned and no-one else did, it wouldn't work. Why should China transition if the UK won't?

                • weka

                  I will say though, that I think it's good that you and others lay out your positions like this. Better that we all know where we stand.

                • Except they want us to transition now,

                  But do they? The only policy on their website is about preventing licenses for exploration (which has nothing to do with the oil being pumped today)

                  https://juststopoil.org/

                  They only hint at 'act now' is this:

                  Let’s get on with ending our reliance on fossil fuels completely: by powering ahead with renewables and cutting energy demand; by insulating Britain and rethinking how we travel; and by ensuring that no-one is left behind and everyone’s voice is heard.

                  But no actual policy on what the government should do differently. It's a list of pious hopes (and, even they don't believe the last one – the *last* thing they want is for the voices of people who don't support them to be heard).

                  UK *is* transitioning – emissions are dropping, and with plans in already in place to accelerate the drop.
                  China is *not* transitioning, and in fact is continuing to increase emissions.

                  If you are arguing that we're in a climate crisis now – then China – with plans in place to continue to accelerate carbon emissions to 2030 – and then slightly reduce (to 2020 levels) by 2040 – is the elephant in the room.

                  We may indeed have social breakdown from climate change. We will be worse off, if we have social breakdown earlier, due to attempts to change more quickly than our social fabric can tolerate.

                  • arkie

                    China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell by a record 8% in the second quarter of 2022, a 230m tonne (MtCO2) reduction that is the largest in at least a decade.

                    The new analysis for Carbon Brief, based on official figures and commercial data, shows China’s emissions have now fallen year-on-year for four consecutive quarters, extending what was already the longest sustained decline in recent history.

                    https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-chinas-co2-emissions-fall-by-record-8-in-second-quarter-of-2022/

                    • Yes indeed, the vast majority of it due to the Covid lockdowns and the downstream effects on industry and the economic crisis.

                      The article doesn't claim that this is a downward trend. And, indeed, cites climate responses (drought, heat waves), as well as resilience in the electricity grid, as drivers for increasing coal-fired power generation.

                      "The amount of new coal power projects given government permits in the first six months of the year reached 21GW, the largest amount since 2016."

                      On top of plans for new coal power capacity, there has also been an increase in announcements of new coal-based steelmaking capacity, compared with the level seen in the past two years.

              • arkie

                The report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 – the year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established – can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. The scale of historical emissions associated with these fossil fuel producers is large enough to have contributed significantly to climate change, according to the report.

                ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988. If fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 4C by the end of the century. This is likely to have catastrophic consequences including substantial species extinction and global food scarcity risks.

                https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

                Fossil fuels are the source of the majority of emissions as the above report shows.

                Climate change is a global issue, and in our globalised system of manufacturing a lot of the production of consumer goods have been outsourced to China (to increase profits). This allows other countries to lower their emissions and then they can blame China for the emissions created during construction of the products of western companies.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.2.1.2

            Presumably those protesters, environmentalists and scientists will be first on the line with voluntary electricity cuts when the power runs out – because renewable energy isn't able to provide 100% of power requirements. /sarc/

            Someone will have to be first – why not a protester, environmentalist and/or scientist? It's simply a matter of facing our probable future – like it or not.

            Clearly, it is not (and presumably never will be) quickly enough for the protesters – who have yet to articulate an effective alternative strategy.

            If it's quickly enough for you then that's super. Unlike these activists, I'm too old for quickly/slowly to matter much, although I do have a preference.

            The protest action chosen by the pair of activists covered in weka's OP won't be everyone's cup of tea, but isn't that rather the point? From your 2nd link:

            But at St George’s Circus, not everyone was critical. Many passersby thanked the protesters for the action they were taking. Mary, 56, was stood to one side of one blockade, watching the police search protesters’ bags, said she was glad to see the protest in her neighbourhood.

            Brilliant location: high profile, zone 1, one of the most polluted parts of London as well,” she said. “Working-class families need to be made aware of what is happening with fossil fuels, because we inhale this day to day.

            Anything that raises awareness is important, so I’m happy to see this here today.

            I'm with Mary. Keep up your good work activists, while you can.

    • weka 1.2

      nice one r0b.

  2. Ad 2

    For the last week Wellington has had direct protests on Wellington's main motorways, which have been in our headlines. There were 5 people.

    A year ago the previous major protest about the climate was the highly coordinated Howl Of A Protest which was well signalled in advance, highly televisual, lasted for days, brought cities to a standstill, and had an original concept. They are on track to bring the government down and replace it with something they want.

    The right is teaching us something useful.

    • arkie 2.1

      The right is teaching us something useful.

      That those who aren’t immediately dependent on the income of waged labour are more able to devote themselves to organising in their own collective interest?

      • weka 2.1.1

        how would you explain the large number of well of liberals/progressive in NZ?

        • arkie 2.1.1.1

          An explanation could be that anyone serious about improving our society and the planet recognises that progressive solutions are the most practical politically available?

          However large-scale direct action, like being able to organise a performance equivalent to the protests Ad is referencing, involves many additional things other than the time and money; a sympathetic media and political parties, etc. etc. Climate activists are at a disadvantage in all these respects.

          My point being that there is a natural alliance between climate activism and anti-capitalist activism so it is unsurprising that a pro-capitalist, anti-climate action grouping were able to be more visible in their protests.

    • weka 2.2

      agree. I'm still pissed that it was an anti-mandate protest that occupied parliament grounds for three weeks instead of climate/eco activists. This is why I support those two young women, they are doing something.

      • arkie 2.2.1

        I support them because previous protests at the adjoining National Portrait Gallery convinced that gallery to end their 30 year association with BP.
        Direct action works:

        Energy giant BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery is to end, following years of protests against the funding.

        BP has backed the gallery’s prestigious portrait prize for more than 30 years.

        In 2019, past winners were among the artists who called on the gallery to cut ties with the firm, and protesters covered themselves in oil at the venue.

        Pressure group Culture Unstained called the news “a major win for the campaign against fossil fuel sponsorship”.

        https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-60476760

        • Belladonna 2.2.1.1

          However, it looks as though it will be a major loss for the artists involved in what was the pre-eminent international portraiture award.

          From your quoted link:

          "It's not clear how the competition will be funded in the future, with arts organisations and corporations tightening their belts due to the pandemic."

          Given that it's been suspended for 2021 & 2022 because of a rebuild (I expect, also because of Covid) – and now with the economic crisis – it seems most likely that the Award will simply slip into history.

          Not that the protesters care. After all, what does art matter…

          • Incognito 2.2.1.1.1

            Not that the protesters care. After all, what does art matter…

            And you know that because …???

            https://cultureunstained.org/

            Tainted money is better than less money, right? After all, it is pretty legal, isn’t it?

            Neoliberal self-righteousness is the worst form there is.

            • Poission 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Just Oil and ER are funded by tainted oil of the worst kind,by the entitled heirs of Getty and Rockefeller.This let professional filming of the events,the conditions were though no unlawful act could be undertaken ( Significant requirement due to US legislation and Tort laws,the former coming with federal time the latter with life on skidrow)

              • Incognito

                Another Faustian pact? Mercenaries for hire? A Western First-World variant of so-called Jihadi Brides? What else did they promise and had they been promised: unlimited sexual pleasures in the Afterlife? In other words, #theydidittoo?

                Anywho, what has this got to do with Culture Unstained?

                • Poission

                  The protest involving the two children with learning disabilities was funded by foreign oil money,as all threads evolve to a point,which is part of the set of the post,whether it is a blind evolutionary wall is merely a matter of taste.

              • weka

                Shellenberger appears to be pro-fossil fuels to support civ. The line you are repeating here is a RW narrative designed to prevent transition.

                This from long time climate activist Cindy Baxter,

                • Poission

                  Shellenberger was a proponent for keeping Nuclear in California,which Newcombe has now said is necessary to meet California peak load,

                  He is also correct in the problems caused by the German Greens in allowing Europe to be held to economic ransom by Russia,due to their desire to retain Russian FF rather then Nuclear,and the enhancement of biomass which still produce carbon,and yet gets carbon credits.

                  He does provide engineering solutions,which seems to be lacking with the likes of Baxter.

                  • weka

                    Sure, he has an anti-transition position and opposes the system change needed to prevent climate collapse.

                    He does provide engineering solutions,which seems to be lacking with the likes of Baxter.

                    She's not an engineer, why would she be providing engineering solutions? She was pointing to an obvious problem in the lines being run and her argument was coherent.

                    We can't engineer our way out of this crisis via BAU, although obviously engineering is a crucial part of transition.

                    • Poission

                      Engineering solutions do provide an outcome for a sustained society,promoting the munting of an economy for what has essentially become eschatological reasons will not.

                      Sweden has essentially just broke ranks with Germany and the lowlands by implementing a policy for fossil free electricity,(removing renewable from the frame) which will include nuclear as well as wind solar and hydrogen.

                      They have removed themselves from the intergrated EU mandate by simplifying the code (and removing ambiguity) and also allowing the pricing to be controlled in Sweden not Germany,by removing increased (unbuilt )capacity in the interconnector until Germany lowers its prices,essentially like Norway they are not going to subsidize the Germans.

                      Here we are in deep financial trouble with the highest current account deficit (outside emerging markets), high fiscal spending,which is not generating export$$ to reduce our 1/2 trillion in overseas liabilities,rising interest rates,

                      Whilst our energy projects are doable,they have big price increases factored in at present,due to the poor thinking of the Gvt.

                  • pat

                    "They have removed themselves from the intergrated EU mandate by simplifying the code (and removing ambiguity) and also allowing the pricing to be controlled in Sweden not Germany,by removing increased (unbuilt )capacity in the interconnector until Germany lowers its prices,essentially like Norway they are not going to subsidize the Germans."

                    Do you have a link?

            • Belladonna 2.2.1.1.1.2

              I know that because the protesters have done nothing to enlist the support of the organizations which are funding them – to replace BP as funders for the Award.

              From the beginning, Just Stop Oil has also enjoyed substantial funding. As well as ongoing crowdfunding, Dale Vince, the millionaire founder of green energy company Ecotricity, said he gave them £10,000. Vast amounts more came from the US: the Climate Emergency Fund, a philanthropic fund set up by Aileen Getty, gave them “hundreds of thousands”, its director told the Guardian.

              https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/15/it-was-terrifying-stop-oil-activists-on-the-new-battle-against-fossil-fuel

              Getty would be an ideal sponsor. But activism is apparently more important than art.

              We all survive on 'tainted money' – capitalism is evil, after all /sarc/

              The benefit pay cheques that the majority of these protesters use for their day-to-day living – are directly funded by taxes on the evil corporations that they despise. If tainted money is good enough for the protesters, why should the artists despise it?

              • Incognito

                You are wrong because you are too lazy to check & think and prefer lazy stereotypes & generalisations and kneejerk reactions that you can type (i.e. copy & paste) quickly and post here on this forum masquerading as informed intelligent debate.

                https://cultureunstained.org/ethicalsponsorship/

                Capitalism is as evil as a doorknob. It is the self-righteous justification for actions & behaviour that have negative consequences, on balance, that one could label ‘evil’ if one really wants to drag this down to that simplistic level where no solutions can and will ever be found.

                The benefit pay cheques that the majority of these protesters use for their day-to-day living – are directly funded by taxes on the evil corporations that they despise. [my italics]

                You made all of that up, didn’t you?

                Getty would be an ideal sponsor. But activism is apparently more important than art.

                According to the tweet in Poission’s comment @ 2.2.1.1.1.1, Getty’s money is tainted too coming from “decadent heirs”, FFS.

                Activism is a means/medium, as is Art, and they can and do cross-over more often than you seem to realise; Vincent van Gogh knew this.

                • Um – no. Benefit pay cheques come from taxes – which includes company taxes as well as, of course, the transactional taxes paid to (for example) fill your car up with petrol (as well as buying leather, milk and all the other products the activists despise)

                  https://www.gov.uk/tax-on-shopping/fuel-duty

                  Or does filtering it through the government magically wash the money clean?

                  If Getty money is sufficiently 'clean' for activists to accept – then, presumably, it's sufficiently 'clean' for artists.

                  Your link on 'ethical sponsorship' doesn't appear to give any examples of this actually happening. It's simply a hit list of organizations where they've succeeded in stopping sponsorship from 'tainted' sources.

                  • Incognito

                    Thank you so much for your lesson on Tax and basic economics.

                    You asserted 2 things, among a few other minor distractions:

                    1) The benefit pay cheques that the majority of these protesters use for their day-to-day living

                    2) The benefit pay cheques … are directly funded by taxes on the evil corporations [my italics]

                    You did not back-up your 1st claim.

                    The 2nd claim is pertinent nonsense, of course, because there’s no direct line from one company paying tax to a beneficiary receiving a cheque. The absurdity is clear when one thinks this through; a single tax receipt can spoil the whole of the government coffers and make all recipients of government money/funding receiving tainted dirty contaminated money. Through the electronic global banking system, this spreads like a virtual virus to put billions of people in the same boat. Now that would be truly evil!

                    You didn’t look very hard, did you?

                    https://cultureunstained.org/examples-of-best-practice/

                    • Having a policy on ethical sponsorship does not equal actually gaining any sponsorship.

                      Still not seeing any examples on your quoted website of these organizations successfully replacing 'tainted' sponsorship money with alternative sources.

                      Yep. Filtering tainted money through government hands magically cleans it. Just like inheriting money from tainted sources magically cleans it.

                      Given that (so far at least) I've not found any of the arrested protesters reported to be employed – and many of them have proudly stated that they've given up work or study to protest – it seems highly a reasonable assumption that their chief form of income will be a benefit.

                    • Incognito []

                      There were plenty of examples listed, you just don’t want to see and accept it, which is called wilful denial.

                      For example, one is the Royal Court Theatre. If you go there, click on the following link, and scroll down to its corporate sponsors and supporters you’ll see examples you don’t want to see and know about.

                      https://royalcourttheatre.com/support-us/our-supporters/

                      So, you accept that there is no direct line as far as specific tax to individual benefit goes. Good.

                      Your assumptions about protestors being unemployed and therefore beneficiaries are no more than biased preconceptions and lazy stereotypes and remain unfounded. Sad.

                      When you assert things and confirm that you didn’t make them up you can expect to be asked to support your claims.

          • arkie 2.2.1.1.2

            Art matters, for sure, but does the Art World? Artist's would much rather be able to just make work, with no need to appeal to the tastes(?) of exceedingly wealthy individuals who only see their art as yet another commodity to be hoarded:

            Billions of dollars of art changes hands every year with little or no public scrutiny. Buyers typically have no idea where the work they are purchasing is coming from. Sellers are similarly in the dark about where a work is going. And none of the purchasing requires the filing of paperwork that would allow regulators to easily track art sales or profits, a distinct difference from the way the government can review the transfer of other substantial assets, like stocks or real estate.

            Still, there is no question the art market has exploded in value and scope from the sleepy days when its customs were created. Paintings routinely sell for $10 million, $20 million, often as much as the penthouses in which they hang. Though the profits from art sales are subject to the robust capital gains tax on luxury goods of 28 percent, the I.R.S.’s ability to track who is accurately reporting windfalls is something of a struggle. Even figuring out who sold what is a hurdle. Half the purchases are in private, not at public auction, so many prices never become public.

            Recent studies have projected substantial tax evasion by the richest Americans, which led to President Biden’s plan to boost audits. While there is no evidence of widespread cheating involving art, experts say it’s clear the secrecy of the market creates vulnerabilities for an enforcement system that rarely conducts audits and relies heavily on the willingness of collectors to make plain their profits.

            “The only ones who know,” said Khrista McCarden, a professor at Tulane Law School who specializes in the tax code, “are you, the art gallery and God.”

            https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/19/arts/design/money-laundering-art-market.html

            • Belladonna 2.2.1.1.2.1

              Yeah, I have a problem with works of living artists being re-sold for vast sums, while the artists themselves don't benefit.

              Perhaps something like a copyright – where the artist gets a fixed percentage of each sale (and the original owner has to register the change in ownership, and price, or is liable to the tax dept for fraud).

              That's not a worked out policy – and I'm sure there are fish-hooks not covered – but it's the general idea.

              It's a bit different with older works. Pretty hard to justify a residual interest in a Degas or Van Gogh. Although, author's estates benefit from copyright for (I think) 70 years after death. Which seems like a useful yardstick.

              • arkie

                The UK already has such a law:

                Authors of original works of art are entitled to a royalty each time one of their works is resold through an art market professional.

                https://www.gov.uk/guidance/artists-resale-right

                Ours will be modelled after theirs and come into effect in 2024:

                Painters and other visual artists whose work is resold will get 5 per cent in royalties under a new scheme set up as part of the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) trade agreements.

                https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/arts-minister-carmel-sepuloni-visual-artists-to-get-resale-royalties-by-2024/YWEA74H7LWADHKBURB5CAW6V44/

                • Excellent. Bring it on NZ!

                  Gosh, that’s an unanticipated benefit of the trade agreements.

                  But, why wait until 2024? It can’t be difficult legislation to write (I’m sure it will just be a copy of the UK one) – and is unlikely to be controversial in the House (or, at least, I would hope not!)

                  • The, perhaps slightly controversial, bit might be:

                    It would be managed through a non-government, not-for-profit collection agency, which after initial establishment and operational costs would become self-sustaining through administration fees from the royalties set through regulation.

                    Why not through the existing IRD?

                    All 'commercial' (as in making a living out of selling art) artists must have an IRD number – and it would seem like a very straightforward exercise for the auction house to simply dispatch their 5% to them via the existing tax refund system.

                    The article doesn't make it clear how (or if) private sales will be covered by the legislation. If it is a copy of the British one, then probably not….. Pity. It's a big loophole.

              • Incognito

                It is really tough to make a living as an artist, especially when young and unknown. Relatively few find work in their line of work, to start with. I feel for those young spirits who have passion and creativity in abundance but are crushed by disappointment and worse; the pandemic has given quite a few a killer blow.

                The following is just an indication of the ‘state of the art’:

                At the bottom of the list was creative arts, whose average graduate salary came in at $47,000.

                The lowest paid of these were performing artists, who had an estimated average income of $34,100.

                After graduation 59 per cent of people with performing arts degrees found employment in their industry.

                https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/125587619/the-toppaying-industries-for-university-graduates

  3. Molly 3

    "I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the action and the two young people, I have yet to see alternatives for acting now with the urgency and power needed."

    Well, the simple answer is that this action is also not "acting with the urgency and power needed". It's performative frustration that not all have the same priorities as those doing the action. At least – it appears that assumption to be the case.

    The reality is – they are working amongst circles where everyone thinks the same, has the same knowledge base, and the same desire for transition – so everyone else becomes 'the other'.

    The other – must be – ignorant, irresponsible and wasteful. Why do they continue to do things like drive (perhaps in an EV) to get around? (they must be stopped), drink milk? (they must be shamed), look at art? (how wasteful of time and appreciation).

    What is the intention here – to bring people on board to the same view?

    Or to shame people?

    The performative nature of this (and other ill-advised target actions) puts people off – learning more, and entering discussions. In fact – where are community discussions and information sharing organised by such groups? Providing people with information and space to learn and understand takes much more time, and requires much more effort and engagement – but the change is more likely to be permanent and the impetus for political change will slowly grow.

    There is a bravery that comes from such actions. But it is a self-directed bravery, that makes such protestors feel like they are putting themselves on the line for their cause.

    The targets that would make such performances more valid – and useful in drawing positive attention to the urgency – would be directed at the decision makers and companies that have – and continue to – make decisions that prevent effective transition away from oil.

    I can recognise their commitment, but I don't believe they will have the outcomes they intend.

    • weka 3.1

      Well, the simple answer is that this action is also not "acting with the urgency and power needed". It's performative frustration that not all have the same priorities as those doing the action. At least – it appears that assumption to be the case.

      Why are you making those assumptions?

      What's the problem with performance? Political ctivism has a long tradition of this.

    • weka 3.2

      The reality is – they are working amongst circles where everyone thinks the same, has the same knowledge base, and the same desire for transition – so everyone else becomes 'the other'.

      The other – must be – ignorant, irresponsible and wasteful. Why do they continue to do things like drive (perhaps in an EV) to get around? (they must be stopped), drink milk? (they must be shamed), look at art? (how wasteful of time and appreciation).

      What is the intention here – to bring people on board to the same view?

      Or to shame people?

      She didn't say any of that though. She talked about the cost of living crisis and linked it to oil. They're an activist group focused on stopping oil extraction, which is a crucial and urgent aspect of transition.

      Dunno about shaming people, if people feel shame when confronted with the reality of the situation perhaps that's for them to work through. It's kind of like Pāhekā feeling shame when learning about NZ history.

      I didn't hear her say people were bad for looking at art or driving cars. They're talking about the industry.

      As for intention, I think you'd have to listen to JSO or the two women themselves. But change doesn't always come from calling people in. Sometimes laying down a challenge is necessary. Activists have been calling people in for decades, and we're just running out of time.

      I can guarantee that this post will get more reads and more replies than the ones I write about transition and proactive pathways. Imo, this is because while people know CC is a thing, few people are willing to make the kind of change necessary. Also imo, those that are fighting for the life of the planet and/or humans have a right then to act according to their conscience.

      What grinds my gears is that in all the criticisms of this action, I've yet to see any clear alternatives being presented. What I'm seeing is people objecting. I don't have a problem with the objections, and people need to work through those. I have a problem with the lack of plans or commitment to change in other ways, especially when negating the actions of others.

      • Molly 3.2.1

        "What's the problem with performance? Political ctivism has a long tradition of this."

        Weka, I understand both why they do it, and why you admire it. I just don't, myself. And I am someone who has for a long time made submissions, on the priority of transitioning and live in a household where decision making is influenced by this awareness.

        I personally believe that the sustainable change in people's perspective and sense of urgency is unlikely to be formed in such a way. There may be people who are inspired to look further, and come away with a passion for change. Unfortunately, I think those numbers will be offset by those who use such actions to dismiss any discussion or thought.

        If – however – I am wrong, and such protests create change, then I will be very pleased to be wrong.

        Dunno about shaming people, if people feel shame when confronted with the reality of the situation perhaps that's for them to work through. It's kind of like Pāhekā feeling shame when learning about NZ history."

        That's another problem being created that's divisive in design

        "What grinds my gears is that in all the criticisms of this action, I've yet to see any clear alternatives being presented."

        I did actually mention a couple of other approaches:

        "In fact – where are community discussions and information sharing organised by such groups? Providing people with information and space to learn and understand takes much more time, and requires much more effort and engagement – but the change is more likely to be permanent and the impetus for political change will slowly grow."

        "The targets that would make such performances more valid – and useful in drawing positive attention to the urgency – would be directed at the decision makers and companies that have – and continue to – make decisions that prevent effective transition away from oil."

        Look, as I said above. I will welcome being wrong on the effectiveness of such protests. Whatever is said, they can protest however they like – I'm sure they are receiving responses from the public we are not privy to, which may be encouraging. I'm only posting my response to such actions and the reasons I recognise for that response.

        • RedLogix 3.2.1.1

          weka's brand of activism would have us either reduce standards of living or populations (or both) – neither of which have anything much to do with improving climate outcomes.

          The clear alternative is that weka refuses to understand is that engineers everywhere are busy working toward improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon intensity. In reality there is only one pathway to zero (or even negative) carbon, but the green activists would sooner the planet die than pursue this.

          • Robert Guyton 3.2.1.1.1

            Our way of life will change, or population already is reducing (so you taught us way back, RedLogix).

            Beaver away, engineers of the world, and while you're doing that, take head of what the likes of weka are saying to you!

            • Poission 3.2.1.1.1.1

              The German and european way of life will change because they listed to the Greens,and traded E=mc2,for ch4,co2.Nox,SO2/4.

              The same amount of money spent replacing Nuc. with some solar,wind,but mostly gas and biomass,which are both carbon emitters is telling,as is the refusal from Sweden to share its investigation into Nordstream with Germany,citing intelligence reasons.

          • weka 3.2.1.1.2

            Your first sentence is close but misses the opportunity to improve aspects of society in a powerdown transition, including sharing wealth more evenly.

            Your second paragraph tells an outright lie. I understand what engineers are doing. If I see you lying again about my beliefs and politics I will ban you from my posts.

            There's been a longstanding position on TS to not harass authors or make shit up about their arguments. For obvious reasons. You can make your points without misleading statements about what I think or what my motivations are. But I've had enough and you've had enough warnings.

  4. Incognito 4

    I’d like to think that Vincent himself would have approved.

  5. AB 5

    Yep – I get the analogy behind the protest. If you recoil in horror at great art being destroyed, why don't you do the same to a whole planet being wrecked?

    So I have no problem with these brave kids – wish I had as much courage.

    But really, we already know the answer to the question they are posing – "money". None of us makes a living from a painting hanging on a wall. All of us make a living and keep ourselves entertained by contributing to destroying the planet. Life without money is misery followed by death. Planetary destruction – well maybe it won't be that bad, maybe everyone's exaggerating, maybe NZ will be OK, maybe tech will save us, maybe we should get a great business guy like Luxon to sort it out for us?

    I don't see this political impasse being shifted or unstuck by attention-grabbing protests, that whatever the passion behind them, simply restate the obvious.

    • X Socialist 5.1

      ''So I have no problem with these brave kids – wish I had as much courage.''

      Those brave kids are no better than ram raiders in Auckland. But unlike rammers they have an excuse for their actions. And they are better dressed. The damage these girls potentially could have caused (NZ145 million paintings worth) would be equivalent to 100 years plus of ram raiding. Maybe more.

      I think humanity needs an evolutionary jump in brain power and morality for things to change. Humanity isn't capable of such a jump at this moment. So protests and ram raids it is.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1.1

        Extant societies won't adopt effective corrective measures voluntarily, so more inequality, fossil fuel exploration/use, “protests and ram raids it is.” If our politicians addressed the root causes in a bipartisan fashion, rather than beating each other up about symptoms, e.g. ram raids, then maybe – but, as you illustrate, it's hopeless.

        The very best we can expect is that Govts keep most citizens as comfy as possible for as long as possible while our overshoot civilisation collapses. Won't be pretty…

        https://www.footprintcalculator.org/home/en

        • X Socialist 5.1.1.1

          Reading your comments a picture of a vey ill patient in bed, being observed by a doctor, comes to mind. The doctor pulls the blankets up a little towards the patients chest, puts a straw into the patients mouth for him to feebly suck one mouth full of water, pats him on the shoulder and gives a near imperceptible head shake towards the attending nurses. One nurse moves towards the end of the bed and attaches a sign that reads: ''Do not resuscitate!''

          Yes, it's not going to be pretty.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1.1.1.1

            Yes, it's not going to be pretty.

            As the OP shows. climate change activists continue to communicate the idea that it hasn't been OK for some time, and that it's getting less OK by the minute.

            Many moderately well off pro-status quo types cling desperately to the delusional notion that everything is and will be 'OK', while a few very well-off individuals are susceptible to the con that they can secure an alternatiove future.

            Apocalypse Wow: Inside the luxury doomsday bunkers designed to protect the global elite [5 Oct 2022]

      • Tony Veitch 5.1.2

        So while we wait for this "evolutionary jump in brain power and morality" to occur, let's just sit back, shrug our collective shoulders, and watch the planet burn!

        Full marks to those young kids – showing us oldies how to effectively protest!

        • X Socialist 5.1.2.1

          No, of course not. Do whatever you can. We all should. The problem is to save planet earth everyone must move in the same direction action wise. That is not possible at the moment because human kind is at different stages of evolution and understanding.

          Maybe our dying planet isn't dying, but renewing itself? Having grown tired of waiting for human remediation it's decided to force our evolutionary jump by giving humanity no choice but to evolve on the trot if we want to survive.

          I don't know, but either way as DMK says, ''it won't be pretty.''

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    I think they should have thrown, glued and stayed mum.

  7. Maurice 7

    Delicious!

    Heinz Tomato Soup …. factory processed; big farming produced; supermarket sourced …… OIL used at every step

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    A harmless protest, and effective PR.

    But although the aims are positive, I'm not sure it meets the standards of effectiveness a good protest aims for.

    It is no easy thing to change hearts and minds – and more so, when major economic interests are lined up on the side of the status quo.

    The energy and creativity of the Yippies achieved such a change. It may be that some of their methods are due to be tried again.

  9. Robert Guyton 9

    "I'm not sure it meets the standards of effectiveness a good protest aims for."

    And what might they be then and set by whom, I wonder?

    Youthful protest in the weeks, months, years to come might well be outside of those "standards" set by the protesters of yesterday-year (us) 🙂

  10. Robert Guyton 10

    I see.

    So nothing like the message from the women who souped the painting.

    • Belladonna 10.1

      Your only criteria for effectiveness was International attention.

      I was pointing out that there are plenty of messages gaining international attention.

      You might want to re-think your criteria.

      • Robert Guyton 10.1.1

        I mentioned only one. Drawing attention to critical issues is another. These 2 women succeeded in doing that (here we are, on the other side of the world, discussing their actions and the issue they.want us to focus on). Trying to talk-down the effectiveness of their methods and the importance of the issue they are championing seems…churlish, to me.

        • Tony Veitch 10.1.1.1

          seems…churlish, to me.

          But ultimately what climate deniers (and they come in all shades of denial) do!

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