A sunflower, for example

Marie Loh, England

Mixed media designer, decorative arts specialist and conservationist, and recently-turned environmentalist and C&C activist. http://mumsgottalent.com/

(Submitted by the author)

A sunflower, for example, looks the same as any other sunflower; its visual rhythm is always the same: an outer circle of golden yellow leaves, an inner circle of dark brown bushy matter. You could find out the exact mathematical calculation for reproducing a picture-perfect copy on a computer. So if you took a photo of a sunflower and loaded it onto your computer, what is visually displayed on your monitor has a mathematical and scientific calculation running behind it. It has its own rhythm.

Nature, too, must have its own rhythm for producing the same plants over and over again, each species having its own unique number, pattern or rhythm. Simplifying this further, everything could essentially have its own number, even we humans.

Numerology, the study of numbers and their supposed influence over human affairs, has long been studied and taken seriously and developed by philosophers such as Pythagoras. It’s not just cosmic fortune-telling websites that we see today; Pythagoras - donned the Father of Western Numerology - combined the mathematical disciplines of Arabic, Druid, Phoenician, Egyptian, and Essene sciences. Since then it has continued to evolve, but the validated system, Chaldean numerology, is the same one.

Even people’s names can have a rhythm and hold true meaning. This is something I am yet to learn about, but I totally see the logic of maths and numbers running behind everything that we see and experience.

The point is that we no longer seem to be running in rhythm with the earth, we are banging our own drum and it’s totally out of tune and deafening us to hearing nature’s delicate one. Our rhythm and patterns don’t flow from nature; we’ve tried to replicate nature without any thought for what we take from nature.

We are living in ‘virtual times’, we want it today and we build it tomorrow with not a second thought about any repercussions. We have plastic veneer instead of real wood, we chat online instead of in person, and nearly everything we do requires power of some kind. But that power comes from our earth’s resources and we never stop and think if they will run out, and continue beating our drums about what we deem as more important ... "The mortgage, Christmas, money, new car, money, money, money ... spend, spend, spend.”

What happens to earth’s pattern, rhythms and beats whilst we bang our drums? Well, they get interrupted, of course.

Starting at the top, with the North Pole, if you can imagine our beat being so loud with all the drilling of oil, burning, collective cars moving globally, crap being churned out, stuff being moved and the general tampering that we do to the world, it’s no wonder that we're seeing changes there: we’ve all seen images or video footage of the Arctic; stillness and peace is what you would expect. But we are now seeing movement - great chunks of ice melting away or sliding somewhere unexpected. Animals' environments are changing unexpectedly, too; they have to adapt, and quickly, but not all are able to do so. They die out and then we hear of species under the threat of extinction.

Yet we don't reproach ourselves, because the developed world is currently only experiencing mild climate changes. Here in the UK, if we get hotter summers, I expect most people would be happy about the fact that they can sit in the garden and get a nice healthy tan! Ah, but with the extreme of hotter summers, comes the other end of the spectrum ... more rain, too. More rain leading to floods, to which the UK is already prone, and insurance companies I believe, now do not cover natural disasters in their policies ... h'mm, I wonder why?

Let’s go over to Africa, a few degrees more heat there and a few inches less rainfall means droughts and sweltering heats, more disease, more hunger and more deaths and this is what really tips the balance.

Imagine that balance tipping just a little bit more everywhere: the UK completely falls apart if we have snow … people panic buy bread, milk, and so on, but what if we had two months of snow? Or if that balance suddenly aggressively shifted and we had a month of continuous rain … imagine what that would mean for developing countries, as we continue to beat our drum, louder and louder.

We drown out nature all together, she can’t heal herself and natural disaster on a global scale occurs. It’s no joke, the next decade we will be seeing this and hearing of it, more and more ...

So how do we change things? Contraction and convergence - we need to backtrack. We need to know the facts, understand what differences we can make and which choices and actions will make the biggest differences to lowering our carbon footprint.

I believe this is where art, design and creative media can make a difference, and how I personally can make a difference.

I think art and design could and should be the catalyst to deliver the message that science and mathematical evidence are trying, yet failing, to communicate about the imminent and pending environmental disasters we face. And the ways we can fix them.

As Aubrey of GCI has written in his paper on contraction, convergence and ‘stringularity’, which conveys a wonderful idea that we can all be ‘in-tune’ and ‘in-time’ together. He calls it ‘stringularity’ because when we halve the length of a string at constant tension, we double the rate at which it vibrates. So if you will allow me another analogy, that’s the same as two people taking one stride, but covering twice as much ground as one person taking two steps.

One drum, one rhythm, nature’s rhythm, let’s beat it together!

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