How do we vision a just transition out of the Fossil Fuel Era?
In New Orleans, we know that times of transition are best met with community and celebration. Our society’s transition out of the Fossil Fuel Era is no different.
Fossil Free Festival (FFF) is a biennial gathering around art, music, films, food, and difficult conversations about the ethics and complexities of funding art and education with fossil fuel philanthropy. It is a dedicated and open space for Louisiana to imagine and design a #FossilFreeCulture.
Antenna launched the first FFF in April 2018. The event initiated a rich conversation among artists, activists, tribal leaders, scientists, educators, administrators, funders, and the general public. FFF 2020 will continue these conversations while opening up new imaginative horizons. Across the globe, demands for corporate accountability, reparations for slavery, colonialism, and climate change, and the rights of Mother Earth are forming a counterweight to corporate impunity for crimes against humanity and nature.
FFF 2020 wants to contribute to the expansion of Louisiana’s and the world’s horizons for justice by exploring ideas such as a ‘Green New Deal’ for a just transition of culture and economy; organizing beyond ‘restoration’ to demand reparations for 300 years of extraction; the rights of nature; and a youth vision for the future.
Why Fossil Free Fest?
In an era of massive defunding of the public sector, non-profit arts and educational institutions are struggling. Oftentimes, our search for support for our work leads us to accept funding from sources we may consider contentious, such as oil and gas or petrochemical corporations. We accept this money with some discomfort but without hesitation; after all, we tell ourselves, all money is questionable, the world needs our work, and we need to pay our rent.
According to BP Executive Vice President Dev Sanyal, companies cannot operate “sustainably” without the support of society. This support is termed by the industry as a “social license to operate,” a metaphorical concept that indicates that society has sanctioned the actions of the company, trusting that the benefits of its operations outweigh the costs to society.
By accepting the financial support and, as an imperative, the branding of fossil fuel corporations, are we granting these companies a social license to operate?
Rarely do we create the time and space to deeply examine as individuals and institutions the connection between our work and the operations of our funders. Does oil and gas funding affect the tone, quality, or content of public dialogue about climate change or even overt censorship? What is our role and responsibility and where is our agency when it comes to climate change? As society moves away from reliance on fossil fuels, how can we build sustainable lives and practices, economically, ecologically, and socially? How can we and solidarity across occupational divides and unite as workers of arts, education, and industry and, most importantly, as members of a shared Louisiana community?
FOSSIL FREE FEST IS PRESENTED BY ANTENNA, A MULTI-ARTS ORGANIZATION IN LOUISIANA. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO CONTRIBUTE, CONTACT FFF@ANTENNA.WORKS.