Ottawa Carleton School Board, Human Rights

Aboriginal Human Rights Art Seminar 2007 in collaboration with the United Nations and Amnesty International at Ottawa Carleton District School Board.

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During March 2007,  Graham Thompson in collaboration with the United Nations and Amnesty International, conducted an Aboriginal Human Rights Art Seminar at the Ottawa Carleton District School Board of Ottawa Canada

By illustrating the spiritual connection Aboriginal People have to the Earth, Thompson in conjunction with speakers from the UN and Amnesty International, worked with students to create Aboriginal Human Rights themed paintings and drawings based on Medicine Wheel principals and Archival images of Native American life prior to colonization.

Medicine Wheel Beliefs and Principles were discussed using an interactive video based presentation North-South-East-West. The presentation North-South-East-West (NSEW), with accompanying talk, has an introduction that illustrates Ontario’s past, its present day mass media culture, and its technological future.

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The main section of NSEW begins in the east where the earth gives birth to a new day, to a new life and to the feeling of deep peace and belongingness. As well the east represents the first challenge in life – the test of survival. The animation celebrates the tiny frail flowers that live another day and open to greet the sun.

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The East represents Birth, Sunrise, Spring and the Challenge of Survival

The eastern section is followed by illustrations of the earth’s southern personality. The south brings the heat of the summer, the bloom of adolescence and the quest for a vision. The south represents the time we are given to discover our meaning and the ability to hold the power of this vision as our secret.

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The southern section is followed by meditations on the west. The west represents adulthood, autumn and the path of the vision discovered in our youth. In autumn the cool winds of the west signal the end of summer and a time of preparation – an adult time. In this direction or season of life, we learn that the path of our vision is not easy. The difficulties come like thunder clouds, yet they bring rains that “wash away yesterday” and allow us to renew ourselves and continue our work as in adulthood we realize that the sun will set before our path is complete.

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The piece completes the cycle of directions, seasons and stages of life in the north. The north represents winter, old age and the wisdom of the path of the vision. It is at this stage that our view of life is simple and uncomplicated, like a landscape where blankets of snow hide the complexities of the terrain. This is the time to have courage to live and embrace the changes of the final stage of life.

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The North South East West new media series can be summarized by mapping the geographic and climatic themes onto a matrix as shown below

Childhood

Youth

Adulthood

Old Age

Survival

Vision

Path

Wisdom

East

South

West

North

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Sunrise

Noon

Sunset

Evening

Hope, Optimism and Belonging

Bloom and Identity

Westerly Winds Bring Clouds

Life Review Like a Snow Covered Forest

UN Climate Change Conference, Bali Indonesia

Good morning, Earth exhibited at 2007 UN Climate Change Conference in Bali Indonesia through United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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The short film Good morning, Earth, directed by Gerald Betita and edited by Graham Thompson, was exhibited at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali Indonesia through the auspices of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office on December 3-14, 2007.

The 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference took place at the Bali International Conference Centre, Nusa Dua, in Bali, Indonesia, between December 3 and December 15, 2007. Representatives from over 180 countries attended, together with observers from intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations. The conference encompassed meetings of several bodies, including the 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 13), the 3rd Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP 3 or CMP 3), together with other subsidiary bodies and a meeting of ministers.

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A Still Image from Good Morning, Earth

Negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol dominated the conference. A meeting of environment ministers and experts held in June called on the conference to agree on a road-map, timetable and ‘concrete steps for the negotiations’ with a view to reaching an agreement by 2009. It has been debated whether this global meeting on climate change has achieved anything significant at all.

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Director Gerald Betita (right) in San Antonio Texas

Initial EU proposals called for global emissions to peak in 10 to 15 years and decline “well below half” of the 2000 level by 2050 for developing countries and for developed countries to achieve emissions levels 20-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. The United States strongly opposed these numbers, at times backed by Japan, Canada, Australia and Russia. The resulting compromise mandates “deep cuts in global emissions” with references to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report.