There were a range of factors that made COP16 different than its predecessor COP15. For one, it was held in a tropical paradise as opposed to a frozen northern metropolis. But more changed: the organization of the event, the layout of it, the expectation. For COP15 we talked to Ian Garrett of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts to get his perspective on the arts and culture surrounding the talks. For COP16, he’s traveling with Inhabitat writer Moe Beitiks, who went ahead and picked his brain. Read on to learn about art, climate change, Conferences of Parties, and the very real role that logistics play in last year’s talks!
INHABITAT: Many folks were disappointed by the outcome of COP15, yet as a cultural flashpoint it proved very powerful. What was your primary motivation for coming this year?
GARRETT: I wanted to follow up on the energy of COP15. There was a lot of buzz and momentum immediately following Copenhagen. There was talk of many artists trying to collaborate on a Cancun project, or coordinate together. So, I wanted to be here to see what resulted.
INHABITAT: What’s it been like so far? What’s your experience of the art and culture?
GARRETT: Well, the momentum slowed, I can tell you that much. Of the networks I’m a part of, it seems like a minimal presence is here in regards to the arts. Some of the more interesting guerrilla actions have been wrapped into the buffer zone of the Cancunmesse. Some more officially supported projects have been given short shrift in regards to accessibility. Also, the parallel conferences are much less convenient; that’s in general, not just comparatively. And, there really isn’t local cultural participation. But I’m not sure that was an option here, perhaps intentionally. I don’t ever know of any demonstrations in public. Sure, I could be missing them, but the activity outside of the conference itself is very slight.