Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What will be left

In the run-up to COP17, the British Embassy in China is holding a postcard design competition and soliciting entries from the public. There's something poignant and moving about this enterprise of writing messages to the future -- to the children and grandchildren of this world not yet born.

The top prize is a seed rod, which could not be more perfect. A tiny gem, frozen in time, representing the hope that the brilliant and immense biodiversity in our world can be preserved, and if needed, someday restored. Depending on the actions taken today by societies everywhere, succeeding generations may actually need these capsules and their precious cargo. It is possible that the world 50 years from now will be vastly different. We could lose the groves, the thickets and glades, the forest slopes and open meadows covered with plants whose genetic code is captured in the seed rod.

In such a time, this chapel of ecology is both a promise and an artifact bearing witness to a planet that once was. It holds memory, a reminder of humanity's choice and the world we had enjoyed.

The Seed Cathedral under construction in Shanghai (Despoke)

The seed pods, stored in fiber optic rods (British Council)

The e-mail invitation from the British Council:

Dear BEN friends,

You are invited to join a postcard competition called “Our Climate,
Our Future” co-hosted by the Cultural and Education Section of the
British Embassy and the Green Channel of The competition is
open to the public, aiming to encourage members of the public to

- their opinions on messages from China to COP17, via

- their own climate change stories, what impacts they have
seen/experienced and what actions they have undertaken

- their messages to people in the year of 2100, what they
want to say to next generations and future about climate change

The top 100 winning designs will be printed as real postcards and
displayed at the British Council stand at COP17 with postcards from
other counties (Bangladesh and some European countries), top 30
winners will receive their own postcards delivered back from COP17
stamped with Durban postmark and signed by delegates of COP17. Each of
the top 2 winners will be awarded a seed rod of the Seed Cathedral,
part of the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

Please send your designs to before 22 November
2011. More information about the competition could be found at You can download the design
template both in jpg and ppt formats as well as the registration form

Please feel free to distribute this message to your friends who might
also be interested. Join us to highlight your creativity, share your
stories with the world and convey your messages to the decision makers
attending COP17!

Best regards,

Cathy Sheng 盛少岚
Project Manager, Climate and Sustainability 气候变化与可持续发展项目经理
British Council Beijing 英国文化协会北京办公室
Cultural & Education Section, British Embassy 英国大使馆文化教育处

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