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Letter Signed By 200 Demanding New BP Arts Sponsorship To Be “Dropped”

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National Portrait Gallery London 044 by David Holt via Flikr

214 have signed a damning letter in today’s Times calling for BP’s new 5-year sponsorship deals with the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Opera House and Royal Shakespeare Company to be cancelled.

The signatories argue, “These institutions’ decisions are badly out of step with the mood of their own staff and audiences”. The announcement of the new deals last week was met with condemnation from campaigners and an assurance that protests and art interventions against BP sponsorship would escalate – including a public ‘Splashmob’ in the British Museum in September.

Prominent signatories include actors Mark Rylance and Ezra Miller, writer and activist Naomi Klein, Nigerian poet, campaigner and winner of the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) 2010 Nnimmo Bassey, environmentalists Jonathon Porritt and Bill McKibben, composer Matthew Herbert, artist Conrad Atkinson, climate science historian Naomi Oreskes, and West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda.

Clayton Thomas-Müller, a prominent Canadian Cree activist and signatory of the letter, said:“By signing this new deal with BP, the British Museum is helping the oil company drill more wells and build more pipelines – poisoning Indigenous communities and destroying our planet’s future. Once again, the British Museum is on the wrong side of history. With public culture supporting fossil fuel colonialism, it’s up to frontline struggles to keep the oil in the soil.”

Anna Galkina, a campaigner with Platform (part of the Art Not Oil coalition), said: “Oil sponsorship is meant to buy artists’ silence and audiences’ approval, and silence the people who live on the frontlines of oil extraction and climate change. This letter shows that more and more artists, culture professionals and academics are no longer happy standing by while BP brands the UK’s biggest museums and theatres for a pittance. BP is wrecking the climate and wrecking lives, from the Gulf of Mexico to West Papua, and deserves to be cast out of our culture.”

Earlier this year, BP’s 26-year sponsorship of Tate and 34-year sponsorship of Edinburgh International Festival were ended, following years of protests, art interventions and dissent from prominent artists and performers.

BP claims its sponsorship comes with ‘no strings attached’ but internal emails released by the Art Not Oil coalition have shown this to be untrue. In 2015 BP leant on the British Museum to host a Mexican “Days of the Dead” festival where it was able to meet with members of the Mexican government just weeks before bidding for new drilling licences in the Gulf of Mexico, according to British Museum emails published in a report by the coalition in May. Other emails showed BP convened a security meeting attended by senior staff from sponsored institutions to discuss security measures for responding to peaceful protest. The Museums Association’s Ethics Committee have considered the report’s findings and are expected to issue a statement soon on whether its Code of Ethics has been breached.

Among the letter’s signatories are 16 representatives of frontline groups, solidarity campaigns and Indigenous struggles against BP’s operations and the impacts of climate change, from Australia to Latin America to the US Gulf Coast to West Papua. A full list of signatories can be found below.

Letter text:

Re: Another five years of BP-branded culture

BP’s announcement of five-year sponsorship deals with the British Museum, Royal Opera House, National Portrait Gallery and Royal Shakespeare Company is outdated and unacceptable.

We cannot afford another five years of BP-branded culture. We believe museums, theatres and galleries are public institutions that must play a positive role in taking urgent climate action and defending human rights. If the world is to avoid rapid and devastating climate change in the coming decades, most of the oil on BP’s books cannot be burned. Meanwhile, the company continues acting in defiance of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and harming lives every day – despite community resistance from the Gulf Coast to West Papua to Australia.

We know now that BP sponsorship comes with strings attached. A recent report revealed how BP leant on the British Museum to hold events timed with BP’s bid for drilling licenses in Mexico, and how the museum checked in with BP on curatorial decisions.

Branding a major museum or theatre has become cheaper for BP (just £375,000 a year for each institution, on average). This is less than the cost of a short billboard campaign. Surveys show that a majority of Londoners, and the British Museum’s own staff, are against BP sponsorship.[7] These institutions’ decisions are badly out of step with the mood of their own staff and audiences. BP is not welcome to use our culture to promote its destructive business – these deals must be cancelled.

Environment

How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life

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how climate change affect our lives
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Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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Lifestyle

5 Things You Can Do Yourself to Improve the Value of Your House

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home renovation and improvement
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Whether you want to own it or list it, every once in a while, a house needs a facelift. This will not only improve quality of your life but will capitalize your home’s value significantly, too.

The best way to improve home value by yourself is to upgrade only what is necessary and nothing more. For instance, why would you buy a new bathroom door when a little retouch and a coat of fresh paint will suffice? By taking this approach, you are allowing yourself to make several small improvements instead of venturing just one or bigger ones. Select projects thoughtfully and know when you should stop.

Pitch in for the kitchen

If you really want a return on investment one day, start in the kitchen. By many, the kitchen still represents the heart and the soul of the house, the central hub of a property and it will all on its own add colossal value to your home. Moreover, the kitchen can be a breaking point in selling the house, so you should not hold on to your wallet in this area.

There are many little things you can do to spruce up the overall image of your kitchen. You may paint the kitchen cabinets, replace old door handles, add additional storage space with a sliding wall or a kitchen island if there is enough room for it. In addition, you may open the living space up by taking a kitchen wall down. Possibilities for do-it-yourself are many.

Add an attic or a basement bedroom

Properties are usually valued by two things: land size and the number of bedrooms. The price range between a three to four-bedroom home is two to four hundred thousand. Since you can’t change the size of your land, you can at least increase the number of bedrooms.

If you are prepared to go full-scale, converting the attic or the basement into the bedroom is another especially favored project that will by far boost up your home’s value once you decide to put it on the market. Until you decide to list it you will enjoy in your own extra space for entertainment, living, sleeping, playing, exercising, or whatever you fancy.

Transformation with paint

If your walls have scrapes and stained paint, a vintage color or shabby wallpaper, several cans of paint can make a striking distinction. In order to increase the value of your home, it is recommended to go with neutral colors that will unify the whole house and make the space visually bigger.

transformation with paint

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Bottom line, nothing can transform a home like a cast of fresh new paint. It is the number one way to beef up a property value of any budget. Additionally, painting the house is still one of the easiest, fastest and highest value drivers.

Secure with style

All of your effort and money would be wasted if you can’t protect the investments you made. A good security door costs as little as a few hundred dollars but if it saves you just once from being robbed it instantly pays itself off. People avoid putting security screens on windows because they mostly do not look stylish enough, but there are other options, such as installing shutters. There are so many elegant and cool shutter options that we found at Independent Blinds & Awnings that it’s really hard not to find something for you.

Basic maintenance for a worry-free mind

A clean house is a healthier house for you and your family. By making a clean house your number one on the list for improving, you accomplish a couple of things at once.

First, you stay on track with maintenance issues and, consequently you are able to recognize future problems before they become costly ones. Secondly, you don’t allow dirt and garbage to pile up over time. Thirdly, smudged, dirty windows can have a bad impact on the overall perception of the house. Same as eyes are windows to the soul, windows are for the home. Therefore, you need to wash them properly.

Spice up the landscaping

Big backyard is an all Australian dream and still, it is more often than not the most ignored area of the house. However, landscaping is really important as it frames a property from every corner.

Simple, low budget cosmetic changes in the front yard including installing garden beds, adding plants, pebbles or mulch, and paving or painting the front walls will positively lift the curb appeal as well as the property value. As for the backyard, you may span a lawn to create more open space for you and your family to move freely, cut and reduce unruly trees and vegetation, and fix the fence if needed.

Adding value to your home through a cosmetic or structural renovation is an actual way to quickly enhance your money invested in a property. In the end, you need to make sure that if you will continue to live in the house and renovate, that your renovations will contribute to a good lifestyle and that it will give the impression of a “ready to move in” property once you decide to list it.

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