Saturday, 26 May 2007

Greenland Ice-music & Carbon Neutral

Last week, my remarkable cousin, Linda Beilharz, finished skiing 540kms across Greenland, the Arctic icecap, part of her pledge to ski four icecaps of the world (in a team with Rob Rigato and Roger Chao). In 2004, she was the first Australian woman to cross Antarctica from the sea to the South pole on foot (c.1200kms). The Arctic journey, sponsored by Bendigo Bank was a carbon neutral initiative. This means that they had a neutral carbon dioxide emissions effect on the environment, partly to draw attention to the climate and ecological changes occurring in melting ice areas. This involved unassisted journeying with no food drops, no guides, dogs, kites or powered vehicles and offsetting carbondioxide emitted during preparation and flying to get there. The journey was in conditions of winds up to 150km/hr and -50 degree Celsius wind chill temperatures, climbing to 2600m at the highest point.

[photo from IceCap Journeys]

I have been using GPS as a data source for music and photographic interactive installation, towards an artist residency in Japan later this year. I proposed to Linda that it could be really interesting to develop musical composition of ice-music derived from the waypoints (coordinates of the Greenland journey). I intend to use dimensions of data to form significant large-scale structures in the piece, e.g. coordinates to centre temporal and pitch/harmonic regions in the piece and perhaps a couple of other dimensions like temperature and wind-speed or altitude to affect timbre (tone colour) [inspired by Stockhausen's approach in Studie II]. Within these structural parameters the musical layers will take shape according to my compositional methods. Linda today supplied all the information I need so I am ready to go!

[photos from IceCap Journeys]

In this spirit of environmental awareness and to tie in with my ice-music project, I am making my Japanese trip carbon neutral by offsetting and counteracting the plane travel et al with carbon credits from Bendigo Bank and trying live green daily - a good challenge in consumeristic Tokyo!

The 13,808km Sydney-Tokyo return flight generates around 2,485.44 kgs of greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, my modest Vespa emissions back home means that my vehicular emissions annually are much less than an average family car's. That said, air travel is one of our individually single largest offenses against emissions, planes contributing around 3% of humanity's total CO2 emissions/greenhouse gases according to WorldChanging. The opportunities to buy carbon credits or offesets are popping up, as well as the aforementioned Bendigo Bank, including Carbon Planet and you can use the Australian Government's Greenhouse Gas Calculator to estimate your household's, car's and waste disposal emissions. On a related subject, I am reading Lonely Planet's Code Green book about eco/enviro-friendly travel destinations and practises (quite interesting) and Selected Essays and Interviews with Jeff Wall (relating more to my research, very informative).

[photo from IceCap Journeys]

[New Keyspan VoIP Skype phone, Yosh, and 'The Science of Sleep' DVD directed by Michel Gondry: my current favourite movie, for its imagination and creativity, very lateral]