This poem was originally a contribution to Tania Kovats' film COTIDAL - but we thought it and its film deserves a place of its own.
Everything is connected. In May 2013 Transition Town Louth held the Louth Festival of the Bees, an art exhibition, conference, operatic concert and more, which connected bees and wildflowers, arts and science, to promote aspects of the environmental crisis that humanity faces. The Festival brought us into contact with sculptor Marcus Vergette who was looking for an east coast site for another Time and Tide Bell. Soon Marcus was with us, scoping locations along the Lincolnshire coastline.
Our beaches are a contrast to the other Bell locations, wide open expanses of sand and big skies, a deep history of shifting coastlines over centuries and millennia and a future whose only certainty is deep uncertainty. The Time and Tide Bell produced an opportunity to start conversations about our relationship with the seas, back into unfathomable time and forward to the time from which we have no evidence, not so much as a stone tool or bone fragment, because it has not yet been.
The past is the history of ice ages and sea level changes, to which people have adapted. The future will be the product of human influence, global heating and sea level rise. Our ability to adapt will be tested. The Bell looks out over Doggerland, the vast plain that, in Mesolithic times, was home to countless people, its lakes, rivers and shores, providing rich resources. The uplands of that plain are once again being built upon but now with wind-farms, substituting fossil fuels with renewable energy.
The gas pipelines that cross the beach near the Bell are now shut down, the southern North Sea gas fields emptied of their methane, burnt in our homes and factories, the carbon dioxide vented to the atmosphere. This has contributed to changing the air’s composition from 280 to 415 parts per million of carbon dioxide. We need to revers that. It is not enough to reduce our carbon emissions; the damage must be undone.
To install the Bell on our beach we formed the Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company, but that was just our first objective. Our continuing task is to create a programme of art exhibitions and events that engage people with aspects of the natural environment, fusing the arts with the sciences and using the arts as a tool to promote mitigation and adaptation to the consequences of global heating.
Our major events so far and planned:
Photographer Mark Kerton (whose YouTube channel is here), got up early to take these beautiful images of the Mablethorpe bell.
The Mablethorpe bell is the only one mounted on a beach. It is fixed to large 'helical piles', which like large corkscrews are driven deeply into the sand; this is a common way of mounting structures on sand.
Anyone who has visited the bell may have noticed various levels of the sub-structure being revealed by shifts in the sand level. It seems that when the bell was installed the sand was at a relatively high level. but for various reasons it has changed: natural seasonal variations, the impact of large scale sand pumping just off shore, and more.
This necessitated some remedial work early in 2020.
But since then the level has risen. Time will tell where it ends up.....
We are continuing to develop our Citizen Science programme, after the long break enforced by the lockdown, furloughs, etc etc.
At the heart of this project is the enormously powerful tool iNaturalist. We have created what the platform calls a 'place' - see below. It is deliberately somewhat larger than the immediate environs of the bell.
Within that place we have created a 'project', which will be central to data collection in the area. Much the best way to explore that is to use iNaturalist itself - see the link to the project here.
Having said that, examples of the observations are presented below. Click on any of the observations for more details.
A group met on the beach to kick the project off on March 4th, 2020.
A piece composed by Peter Conner and Andy Aitchison using the haunting sound of Marcus Vergette's Time and Tide Bell installation on Mablethorpe beach.