P.A.I.N. FAQ's / Frequently Asked Questions

Q - What is the problem? Why plastics?

A - Plastic doesn’t go away, it breaks down, absorbs toxins and gets into our food, drink and even the air we breathe. The problem is huge and the implications far-reaching, but it boils down to an urgent need for the world to quickly stop using single-use plastics. For more info please see the Greenpeace page here. Up to date articles about plastic at the Guardian are here.

Q - Why the arts?

A - Avoidable plastics are normalised throughout society. If the arts are championed as ‘factories of possibility’, where alternatives can be imagined – it makes no sense that avoidable plastics are still normal there. An art event, institution or festival that clearly and effectively avoids all use of single-use plastic is a great way of saying IT'S NOT NORMAL as well as IT IS POSSIBLE.

Q - How will it happen?

A - P.A.I.N. is an ever-expanding network of individual arts professionals referred to here as Ambassadors of P.A.I.N. (this can be you!). Ambassadors of P.A.I.N. work with a collective toolkit of demands and solutions that make changes and spread awareness wherever P.A.I.N.ful situations are encountered. P.A.I.N. also offers these tools to institutions and organisations who know P.A.I.N. and want to make a change.

Q - Surely climate change and air travel is a bigger issue?

A - Yes, bigger and very complex environmental issues exist and need urgent solutions on a systemic societal level. By contrast, plastic pollution is a problem that is solvable, with relatively simple solutions. Stopping the use of these plastics is normal and easy, with a huge impact on future pollution. It is one of the easiest steps toward environmental health, and not to take it would be crazy. P.A.I.N. focuses on the Arts, as an exemplary first step of 'de-normalisation' allowing a larger vision of stopping the use of these plastics everywhere. P.A.I.N. is not a distraction from other environmental issues.

Q - isn't the EU already banning these plastics in Europe?

A - yes, great steps have been made in this direction - but implementation will be slow, while we can get ahead of the game and act now.
AND importantly the new laws do NOT ban or even reduce the production of plastic-bottled water and drinks. They only propose an effort for recycling, which is an ineffective solution. This is a major problem - no-one should be using plastic-bottled water.

Q - What if I don’t like complaining? Should I be worried about being a 'pain in the arts'?

A - The P.A.I.N. campaign is a positive one. The goal of Ambassadors is to spread awareness and concrete tools for change. Every Ambassador has their own approach. If yours is confrontational, that’s one way to raise awareness - you might add non-negotiable requests to your technical rider, or speak up in public settings. Some Ambassadors like spreading the message with charm, humour and diplomatic sensitivity - e.g. with negotiable requests in their rider, and via personal conversations with colleagues. The strategies proposed here on the website range from anonymous sticker-bombing to adrenaline-fuelled public actions. See the 'Actions' page for more.

Q - Arts organisations are already struggling. Won’t this add to their burden?

A - 1) Let’s face it, the problem is like a leaking roof - it isn’t going away. 2) Organisations who care about how they present, not just what, end up being valued the most. 3) Like investing in renewable energy, it may cost a bit to start with, but with time it pays off. 4) Check out the "Solutions Toolkit" - it’s not even that expensive…