We have had 3 fashion shows to present over 6 weeks. The final show is in Paris this Saturday – we are calling it ‘London’ and we want to link it to saving the planet by asking, why do all the empty buildings in London have their lights switched on all night?
I don’t have time to comment on your letters so, instead, I thought I’d just step back and give an overview of what this website is about – a resume of what I care about.
“The acorn is happy to become an oak.” Each individual has a right to fulfil his human potential and to become himself. This cannot come about by being self-absorbed but by freedom; freedom to follow one’s deep interest and to engage with the world. I have learnt that the art lover is a freedom fighter. Through art we have a profound way to understand the world. True art gives culture; we are dangerously short of culture – culture is the antidote to propaganda. Our motto is: You get out what you put in.
The only sane view is the view that questions, “Can we make the world a better place?” This view gives us knowledge. All human beings care about justice. We normally get very upset and angry about injustice. We have empathy; we can each put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes: it could happen to me. This is why I became political. I first cared about death and torture, and war. Then I came to realize how, through links with their secret services and through propaganda (to mislead and pacify the public) the political powers sequester and manipulate the law to their own ends – always serving the monopoly interests of business.
These interests have burgeoned into such colossal waste of resources including human life that now our whole planet is threatened. The first, most urgent, thing to do is to try to save the rainforest.
Besides the fashion shows there have, of course, been many other things happening. Here are just a few that might interest you:
Cool Earth update:
the No Fun Being Extinct campaign launched 28th November to raise £7 million to kick start the rescue of 3 of the world’s most endangered rainforest. As of 15th February, £1,150.000 was raised.
The Times, Guardian and Telegraph interviewed me and covered the Cool Earth story which went viral in the national media. As a result, the World Bank contacted us and Cool Earth has just met with them in Washington DC.
Storm model agency has backed the project enthusiastically. Stephen Fry tweeted to Save an Acre – within an hour the Cool Earth site received nearly 2,000 hits. A party was thrown for Cool Earth by Daniel Lismore to raise money for the campaign. So many of you, our AR supporters, have contributed generously to the campaign.
The funds raised have enabled Cool Earth to extend its work: A new Green Teen Philanthropy project was started to teach students how to use their skills to protect rainforest. Matthew Owen, Director of Cool Earth, visited the Aguaruna communities in Northern Peru to scale up the conservation project and include more communities fighting against logging.
The Ashaninka communities in the Amazon received a clean water supply. A joyous moment for families who have had to cope with polluted water and walking several hours over arduous terrain to collect fresh supplies. Each village received a medical out post. Now there is medicine to deal with venomous bites and malaria.
The New Year started with a record number of people donating to Cool Earth with more supporters committing to be regular donors to the charity than ever before.
Matthew met with an NGO working in Papua New Guinea – the largest remaining rainforest in Asia Pacific region. The communities there wish to stand up against loggers and a plan is currently being discussed.
Ovo Energy is protecting an acre of rainforest for each of their customers with Cool Earth. This number increases to 70,000.
Storm models and Harper’s Bazaar support the project with a 2-page spread helping us to promote the cause. We are planning further activities with them in the autumn.
James Lovelock update:
I donated the original artwork for my Family Tree to help save James Lovelock’s archives for posterity. It was auctioned to great success at the Science Museum’s fundraising dinner last week. Together with other funds raised, it will make it possible for the museum to become the perfect permanent home for these invaluable records of a lifetime’s work.
I went to a book launch and signing for Dispatches from the Dark Side, by Gareth Peirce, the famous human rights lawyer. The book is on ‘torture and the death of justice’ and the political misuse of the law in England and America that has accompanied the war on terror.
Torture today is easier to read about because most of it is of a kind that doesn’t leave physical marks – when it does, the victims are killed. Today, the agony of torture is prolonged; it destroys people over an indefinite length of time. I’ve only just begun to read the book but I’m already shocked that things have got so much worse because of the US need to ‘win the war on terrorism’, e.g. Guilty pleas resolve 97% of (all) US trials, an extraordinary statistic inevitably achieved by the defendants’ apprehension of what lies ahead … and a desire to avoid, at any cost, the US law’s most extreme applications… The lawyers of one young man, Gary MacKinnon (alleged to have hacked into Pentagon computers), offered the opportunity of a guilty plea, were told that should he refuse… he would ‘fry’. (p81)