Views from Above - Greenpeace Nederland

Views from Above was a semester-long collaboration between the Master Non Linear Narrative at the Royal Academy of Art and Greenpeace Nederland. The project was kicked off on September 3rd, 2018 at the KABK with presentations by Martin Lloyd, Christine Gebeneter, Charlotte van der Tak, and Rectangle Design from Glasgow.

Together with Greenpeace, the students investigated the impact of deforestation on climate change and gained insights into the variety and interconnectedness of environmental problems.

Views from Above

Networks, Colonial Vision and Indigenous Resistance in the Brazilian Amazon

In the light of the US American withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Jair Bolsonaro’s win of the 2018 presidential election and the increasingly tangible effects of global warming the Non Linear Narrative master programme at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) took the climate crisis as the central topic of discussion for its academic year of 2018 – 2019. The complex and interdependent causes and conditions of climate change, make it difficult to isolate and address as a single notion, turning it into the most challenging example of a non-linear narrative per se.

During the entire semester students collaborated with Greenpeace Netherlands to investigate the impact of deforestation on climate change and the vulnerability of fragile ecosystems like the Amazon region. The eleven projects on display at the Galleries of the KABK testify the perseverance and diligence necessary to understand the global interdependencies and risks of climate change.

In 2017 Greenpeace Netherlands received funding from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery to carry out a project called All Eyes on the Amazon. The project’s aim is to stop the large-scale destruction of the Amazon rainforest through collaboration with Indigenous groups, identifying and holding individuals and companies behind deforestation accountable. Indigenous groups are considered the guardians of the rainforest and through Greenpeace’s programme, are equipped with tools to report information and evidence from their perspective.

To understand the interdependence of factors contributing to deforestation, students reviewed its various causes and their effects on the world climate. Areas of investigation included marketing and representation of nature, agricultural and industrial exploitation, government corruption and biodiversity loss. Next to the ecological rationale, students also learned to consider ethnic and socio-political circumstances like indigenous land rights and disputes, and violence against the Indigenous people of Brazil.

Additional expertise were brought to the project through lectures by notable individuals from the environmental movement and the field of science. Workshops with Greenpeace geo data specialist Edwin Keizer, map experts and artist duo Hiryczuk / Van Oevelen and design lector Alice Twemlow allowed students to look at problems from different perspectives.

A complementary expert day at Greenpeace Netherlands headquarters in Amsterdam was organised during the semester and included talks from Hilde Stroot, head of biodiversity at Greenpeace, Emily Jacobi, founder of Digital Democracy, and Oliver Salge, Greenpeace campaigner and project leader on location in São Paulo.

The Master Non Linear Narrative was very happy to collaborate with Greenpeace and witness students engage with problems of planetary sustainability and social justice. We hope this initiative will help a young generation of students to recognise their opportunities and responsibilities in fighting the global climate crisis and encourage them to take a stand on social, environmental and political issues at large.

The students presented the results of their projects in the exhibition 'Views from Above' held during 9-21 February 2019 at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK).

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