In August 2013 we set sail from Stromness on our second Sea Change expedition, aboard Lerwick community boat The Swan, with a crew of 27 artists, scientists and informers. More ›

The Crew

The expedition crew of 27 includes a wide range of scientific and creative folk.
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Day 1: Sea change forthcoming?

The that that fuels all of us.

The fuel that fuels us all.

In Scalloway, on the Shetland Islands. The boat upon which I am to be embedded with a crew of artists, sailors, scientists – The Swan – arrives as I type. Why am I here – a venture capitalist obsessed by carbon?

My last night in Aberdeen was a night spent out with oil workers, engineers and trades who work on the oil platforms out in the North Sea. Perhaps the jet fuel that powered by flight over came from those platforms. A helicopter went down a few days ago, and they’re land-locked. Drinking beer with a cleantech VC …

We lurch ever closer to the climate cliff that looms before us. We don’t have to. Solutions clearly exist: the technology required to build a low-carbon economy is cleantech; the patient capital required to deploy it at scale sits in our pension funds; the political tool to unleash that capital is a long-term, increasing price on carbon.

It certainly won’t be easy – yet we do almost nothing. Our efforts are akin to bailing out the titanic with a teaspoon. Why?

I’ve recently become less interested in the solutions themselves, and more interested in why we remain effectively paralyzed on climate: the underlying rules of the game, the systemic reasons our market economy is prevented from unleashing it’s creative might to solve our collective carbon problem.

The personal psychology of denial. The economic models that discount future catastrophic warming. Our commitment to a myth that prioritizes freedom in the marketplace over collective action. The deep conservatism of corporate leaders.

Climate paralysis is a multi-disciplinary phenomenon. The solutions must likewise cross boundaries: art to science, economics to theatre, anthropology to engineering. Cape Farewell is about new ways of communicating. It sees climate as culture, not a physical thing. Sea Change implies deep, foundational shifts: turning tides, complex ecosystems, efforts to interact sustainably with those ecosystems.

I welcome the opportunity to think, talk, see, interact within a highly diverse group, in a deeply thought-provoking place. Now let’s see about some sea change …


Author: Tom Rand


Joins the expedition for week 2 and 3 Tom focuses his efforts on carbon mitigation and is active in Cleantech venture capital, technology incubation and commercialization, and public advocacy.
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James Brady’s expedition blog for ecoartscotland

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See James Brady’s blog here:   http://ecoartscotland.net/    

Leaving Fair Isle

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Andy Crabb’s Sea Changes Part 1 now on vimeo

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Sea Changes, part 1 featuring Karine Polwart from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. Part 1 of a film about Cape Farewell’s Northern Isles expedition, on board the Swan LK243. The Swan is a traditional Shetland fishing sail boat, restored and operated by a community based trust in Shetland swantrust.com/. She is a truly beautiful boat. The film... Read more ›

Carbon Cycle

1.carbon sink
CARBON/SINK Site-specific organic drawing, North Haven pier, Fair Isle (peat and fresh water / 12” x 120”)     A musing on the ecology of the Carbon Cycle and the human intervention within it’s system: the symbiotic links between the entropy of organic matter – moorland as a carbon sink – fossil fuels – carbon... Read more ›

Wind, stone

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Wind, stone: by Teresa Elwes

Fish For The Table

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FishForTheTable 03 vimeo from Tam Treanor.

Microcosms: Eons, Tides and Dreams

‘I go to the rockpool at the slack of the tide to mind me what my poetry’s for.’ –      Jen Hadfield (from the poem, Daed-traa*)           ‘The parent materials were gathered together as volcanoes poured them out in fiery streams, as waters running over the bare rocks of the continents wore... Read more ›


bunk and deck
quota n 1. the proportional or part of a whole that is due from, due to, or allocated to a person or group 2. a prescribed number or quantity, as of items to be manufactured, imported, or exported, immigrants admitted to a country [from Latin quota pars how big a share?, from quotus of what... Read more ›

Freedom Come All Ye” performed by Karine Polwart in The Italian Chapel, Orkney August 2013.

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“Freedom Come All Ye” performed by Karine Polwart in The Italian Chapel, Orkney August 2013. from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. In August 2013 members of Cape Farewell’s “Sea Change” project explored the landscapes, history and future of the Orkneys whilst sailing on board The Swan, a beautifully restored Shetland Fifie. The group consisting of artists,... Read more ›

Pelagic Gannets

When the seas calmed and I was no longer confined to my sick bunk, it was wonderful to be on deck and to observe my new watery surroundings, I saw gannets flap and glide past the Swan and was amazed to see their large wingspan for the first time. They truly are a majestic bird!... Read more ›

Sea change See change

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Poet. Climate change.  Environmentalist.  Scientist. Carbon economy. (Ex-)soldier. Renewables. Conservationist.  Fishing quota.  Artist. Sustainability. Writer.  Everyday words susceptible to our own interpretation, predisposition and characterisation.   Words that can be polarising and divisive.  So what happens when you mix them with a few associated ingredients?  On the one hand there is the potential for an explosive... Read more ›

Big words + Lumpy times

scalloway map
LUMPY adj lumpier, lumpiest full of or having lumps (Transport / Nautical Terms) (esp of the sea) rough confused seas We headed south on ‘lumpy’ seas from Scalloway towards Sumburgh Head.  Our direction towards the East side was guided by the weather forecast and I was pleased to be moving at last. I have been... Read more ›