THIS weekend is the last opportunity for visitors and locals to enjoy the inspiring ephemeral art festival “Call of the Running Tide”. Environmental sculptures and multimedia pieces are featured along the Port Douglas coastline and at the Port Douglas Community Hall.
Jill Chism, a local, nationally renowned, Environmental and Public Art practitioner, initiated the concept in 2017. Call of the Running Tide (CRT) supports the region’s significant history of environmental activism. The concept also has its roots in the Douglas Shire’s history of environmental activism.
Jill had also recently completed a large private commission based on John Masefield’s poem ‘Sea-Fever’.
Sea-Fever by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
The call in the poem is a heart-felt desire by a nineteenth century sailor to ‘go to sea’.
Jill’s use of the phrase as the title for the Douglas exhibition reminds us of the vitality of our connection to nature. It is a ‘call to change’ the ways we continue to destroy the ecosystems that are crucial to our survival on the planet.
Douglas Shire Councillor Abigail Noli, officially opened the Festival, acknowledging the Shire’s long and proud history of environmental custodianship.
Douglas Shire Council supports Call of the Running Tide through the Regional Arts Development Fund which has funded five local artists of the total of 40 artists, and also contributed $5000 towards marketing and set up of the exhibition.
“Additionally there is a resource agreement which amounts to $40K over three years, as Chair of RADF, I am very proud that Council supports arts in Douglas through an arts strategy which commenced several years ago; the aim of the strategy is to place more emphasis on having a cultural and artistic presence across the Shire.
“Council has contributed financially but the hard yards have been done by a collective of people spearheaded by the CRT Team, Jill Chism, Rosey Cummings and Tim Ellis; they have given endless hours of volunteer support to make this event happen.
“An event is only as good as community support and this year that support has escalated despite the difficulties imposed on local individuals and businesses through a fluctuating tourist industry.
“As an example, the Mossman Rotary Club has funded and provided plastic lids for the children’s component displayed at Mossman Shire Hall; cleverly called the “Garden of Plastic”, the work from which will form a mural for the new Paws and Claws building. Other local contributors from Mossman are Mossman Hardware and Markhams Timber.
“Local Port Douglas businesses have also contributed to this years event through sponsoring artists and providing accommodation or accommodation deals: It really is a community project.
Cr Noli continued to explain how Douglas Shire Council has taken a pledge, through the Corporate Plan, to be leaders in Environmental Stewardship, proudly working through clever, strategic and innovative planning for future growth and development.
“Embedded in all our policies and documents is the following overarching statement,
‘Douglas Shire will be at the forefront of environmental protection by developing strategies, setting policies, and working with all stakeholders to become the envy of and to inspire locations across Australia and the World.’
“And we have walked the talk. In 2019 Douglas became the world’s first destination to be awarded Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification. Council has continued to receive this award ever since.”
Cr Noli referred to TPDD’s Executive Officer Tara Bennett who has stated that “more travellers than ever are seeking to minimise the carbon footprint of their holiday, and this award proves nature and tourism can co-exist while also achieving positive social, environmental and financial outcomes.”
Cr Noli closed by referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options.
“These are the experts that we need to be listening to and being advised from.
“Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.
“However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO₂) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize.
“They report that, “CO₂ concentration is the highest in at last two million years, sea level rise is at the fastest rates in at least 3000 years, Arctic sea ice area is at the lowest level in at least 1000 years, glacial retreat is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years. Every region is facing increasing changes.
“Of relevance to this week and the Call of the Running Tide, changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, increasing ocean acidity, and reduced oxygen levels have been clearly linked to human influence. These changes affect both ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them, and they will continue throughout at least the rest of this century.
“I am giving you this information because later this financial year, Council will be asking for your opinions as to what Council should be doing, in this space of carbon emissions, and climate change, that type of thing. What I am asking of you this evening is to make it clear what you desire when the time comes for this community consultation.”
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