Paris Report: Resilient City of Light

7 12 2015

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. – Plato

“Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it.” – Fred Boltz (Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation)

Beyond clicking the “like” button on articles I’ve come across on Facebook, I’ve tried to steer away from posting anything related to the current political stalemate over terrorism. This is primarily because I’ve refused to waste any positive energy on a tiny subset of humanity who, in my view, are taking up far too much air time. I refuse to let them encroach upon my territory — our territory — the territory of the good and the kind. I refuse to let them invade my mind; they will not cast a shadow of fear within the light I carry inside me or my children.

A couple of weeks ago after my daughter Philomena heard about the incident in Paris, she suggested that World War III was upon us. The Pope did too that day. Although my chest tightened at the thought that my daughter was right, I could tell in her eyes that she was not at all afraid of that notion. Given her timely history lesson at school, she seemed to have a grounded understanding that despite the loss of life, GOOD eventually triumphed over EVIL. And should it come to pass again, good will triumph over evil once more. And I am confident that it will so long as we cast aside our fear. So long as we stop building up armies of terror by bringing them into our daily conversation and so long as we stop branding every lunatic who shoots a gun or waves a knife in the name of God as a terrorist. So long as we stop creating fantasy “States” where there were none before–there is no such thing as an Islamic State, the notion must simply be removed from our vocabulary. If corporate media channels are unable to refrain from sensationalising terror, it is up to those of us active in the world of social media to act as leaders and reclaim the conversation. We must reclaim our Territory of Light over Darkness. 

This past Saturday I returned from a trip to Paris. It was as beautiful as ever for I was in the City of Light with a huge Army of Light. Thousands of environmental soldiers were present: activists, scientists, economists and artists all taking part in the 21st yearly session of the Conference of Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The conference’s overall objective is to achieve some sort of binding universal agreement on climate (from all the nations of the world), but not all of us were there to negotiate the legalities of the agreement. While politicians were busy working on their part of the equation, the Army of Light was continuing on our collective path of innovation in reverence of the Pachamama





Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2015

Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2015

Aerocene manifests as a series of air-fuelled sculptures that will achieve the longest, emission-free journey around the world.  Aerocene holds a message of simplicity, creativity and cooperation for a world of tumultuous geopolitical relations,reminding us of our symbiotic relationship with the Earth and all its species.



Shepard FaireyPhoto: Aline Deschamps