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There is nothing more important than being good shepherds of our blue planet, something we have collectively failed at. Musicians and artists have always had the role of raising consciousness to move society forward, or to give comfort in times of crisis. The current climate issues are a challenge to all of us, and touch everyone from the richest and powerful to the poorest and powerless members of society. It is impossible to stay on the sidelines and assume ‘others’ will take care of this. But I believe that everyone has two principal responsibilities: 1) to be attentive to one’s personal impact on the environment and 2) to use one’s talents and skills to help bring about change. It is easy for musicians and artists to feel helpless, but our role is important as voices that can help move people to make better choices, as role models, and as bringers of hope and comfort in disquieting times.
Beethoven serves as an important influence as we consider the next steps. His love of nature, his deep need to be connected to nature, his love of walking, and the creative alchemy he used to translate nature’s voice into some of his greatest music should all give us ideas for how we can make progress in our time as musicians thinking about climate, justice, and peace. We cannot keep going as we have been before. We must think differently about how we run the world, how we organize our lives, how we impact our immediate environment and the larger world. Everything is connected!
I am thrilled to participate in the Beethoven Pastoral Project, to bring even greater focus to the climate crisis through the lens of Beethoven, music and creativity.