Musicians Making a Difference
“Artivism” is a term you mightn’t be familiar with. It’s a unique concept that fuels the prolific awareness and conservation efforts of a handful of QCGU students. They go by “Musicians Against Climate Modulation,” a collection for whom music is their voice, who have found ways in which their passions can support each other and make their values loud and clear. Thus far, they’ve hosted documentary screenings, engaged in collaborative immersive art installations with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and have many future ambitions.
Recently their attention has been on Australia’s world wonder, the Great Barrier Reef, a natural marvel that has undergone mountains of irrevocable damage thanks to pollution. The harrowing truth is that obliterating the reef isn’t a mistake we can undo. So, this intrepid team of “artivists” have declared their love of the reef, through sacrifice and imploring the support of friends and fellow crusaders to raise funds.
The “For the Love of the Reef” challenge demanded a two-week renunciation. Jaidyn Chong (Bachelor of Music, Composition) took a tough pun-making hiatus, Phoebe Bognár (Bachelor of Music, Flute) forewent avocado delicacies and redesigned her colourful wardrobe into a monochromatic one as a metaphor for coral bleaching, and Harmony Jane Debono (Bachelor of Music, Classical Voice) has given up meat, dairy and seafood.
For Jaidyn, reef preservation is an issue close to home as he was raised in Cairn, moving to Brisbane for his music studies. On a recent family holiday, Jaidyn was shocked and upset to learn that the damage had reached unprecedented extremes, and he resolved to get involved in a solution. “I want to spread the word that if we lose the reef because of environmentally unsustainable measures i.e. the Adani Coalmine; we won’t have anything like that again.”
Phoebe’s passion for environmentalism goes hand in hand with her love of art. She credits our natural world with inspiring hundreds of years of music, art and poetry, and refuses to watch our environment become a thing of history too. MACM avidly believes that to perpetuate either marvel – music or our world – we can use them both in a mission to help each other.“Standing for my principles has enabled me to establish a clearer vision of who I am as a person in this information-busy society.”
So Phoebe’s artivism achieves change through sparking conversation:
“By giving up something you love people often ask, why? This then brings the conversation of why climate change matters to greater salience, to the dinner table and to conversations in the university common room… if we can talk about an issue as colossal as climate change from a personal level then perhaps this resonates stronger than seeing statistics or graphs.”
Harmony Jane perceives activism and preservation as a responsibility – because ultimately the consequence of environmental degradation will be ours to deal with in the future. And in accepting this responsibility, music has become the voice that is speaking up and not giving up.
“Music is a wonderful art that translates emotion for us and if we can use music as a way to connect these issues to people, then maybe more action can be done about our future and the environment.”
Harmony Jane, the rest of her many uncredited teammates at MACM and anyone else with ethical alignment has an opportunity to change the world’s narrative, in leading lives that fight climate change. This can be done in ways as simple as gaining open-mindedness, or as declamatory as adding your voice to the generation of protest and positive action. And these QCGU students have taken measures that have inspired their colleagues, peers and a community of witnesses in a huge way.
These guys raised over $1200 dollars in this challenge alone. To show your support for these superheroes at Musicians Against Climate Modulation, you can find them at their Facebook page or visit their website.
By Bridget O’Brien