IRISH FILM FESTA 2019 | Blog Graffiti: Guest Post by Bob Quinn

This year, IRISH FILM FESTA short film programme focuses on documentaries, with a dedicated section, and includes Bog Graffiti (Friday 29 March, 6.30 pm), the latest experimental work by veteran author Bob Quinn, shot and edited «on his bog» in Conamara.

Bog Graffiti explores the relationship between humankind and nature, addressing the issue of climate change: «To paint images on granite rocks in the wet and windy landscape of Conamara would seem to be a folly – Quinn says – Foolishness also to plant saplings on the same bogscape – it is four thousand years since the place was fully clothed in trees. But then to turn the wood into grotesque figures must be considered perverse. Or perhaps a parable? We are part of the cycle of the natural world. This film notes the passing beauty of a tiny planet before we destroy it».

Bob Quinn also wrote a special guest post for our blog about climate change:

The desertification of the Sahara happened suddenly.

Six thousand years ago northern Africa had as temperate a climate as Europe, had two lakes as big as Munster. It was fertile enough to support a settled agricultural population and their gods. There were fauna too, antelope, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, crocodile roaming as freely as the human animals.

Over a couple of centuries – the blink of a geologist’s eye, according to a computer simulation (Milutin Milankovic Medal, 2005) – a combination of local vegetative and atmospheric changes in the area (recorded in deep land and sea cores) caused a local climate event – the Sahara event.

It should not surprise us. During another of this planet’s many interglacial warming periods , alligators thrived at the north pole; there are fossils to prove it.

A blindspot of our species is that we confuse weather with climate. Humans do not cause destructive climate events; we accelerate and intensify their frequency. Unexpected change follows unregulated ‘progress’: our cars, our holiday flights, our excessive consumption.
Present climate change is, like politics, global but people experience it in local terms: a drought in one place, a tsunami in another, forest fires here and there. Tough luck on poor people, faraway. It couldn’t happen here?

Alas, homo sapiens is all the one, seven billion of us, all on the same tiny planet, as voracious and unthinking as mice sailing on a ship of cheese.

– Bob Quinn