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11 Visual artists taking on the climate crisis

Be they sculptors, painters, photographers, or filmmakers, these artists are sparking important conversations about the climate crisis and inspiring action around the world. “[P]eople are changed by art – enriched, ennobled, encouraged – they then act in a way that may affect the course of events… by the way they vote, they behave, the way they think.”

The late American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein was right:

Art really does have the power to change people, and thus, our future.

That’s why today we’re heartened to see more and more artists taking on the generation-defining issue that is the climate crisis. They’re expressing what this threat means for all of us and are making the need for action emotional, urgent, and tangible.

So, here are 11 outstanding visual artists whose work is inspiring conversations and action all around the world!

LORENZO QUINN

Lorenzo Quinn is an Italian sculptor best known for his massive recreations of human hands. As he describes, “I wanted to sculpt what is considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body…[t]he hand holds so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy.”

Lorenzo’s sculptures often grapple with environmental issues, including the climate crisis. Some of his most famous pieces on the matter include “Support” — a commentary on the threat of rising seas to the historic city of Venice — and “Give,” which asks the question “Can we save the planet… and save ourselves in the meantime?”

NICHOLE SOBECKI

Nichole Sobecki is a Kenya-based photographer and filmmaker whose work primarily focuses on “humanity’s fraught, intimate, and ultimately unbreakable connection to the natural world.”

Guided by that theme, Sobecki often covers the effects of the climate crisis and its solutions. Whether that means sharing pictures of the global clean energy transition or documenting the devastating impacts climate change is already having on vulnerable communities around the world.

OLAFUR ELIASSON

The Icelandic–Danish artist Olafur Eliasson has advocated for the environment for decades using sculptures and photography, among other mediums. In fact, in 2019, Eliasson was appointed goodwill ambassador for renewable energy and climate action by the United Nations Development Program.

One of his global warming-focused works, “The Weather Project”, can be seen below.

Speaking of “The Glacier Melt Series 1999/2019”, another climate change-focused piece, Olafur notes, “Every glacier lost reflects our inaction. Every glacier saved will be a testament to the action taken in the face of the climate emergency. One day, instead of mourning the loss of more glaciers, we must be able to celebrate their survival.”

JOHN AKOMFRAH

John Akomfrah is a British artist of Ghanaian descent whose works include the themes of memory, post-colonialism, the experiences of migrants around the world, and more recently, the climate crisis.

In 2017, Akomfrah releasedPurple,” a six-channel video installation that draws upon his travels in the French Polynesia to address climate change, human communities, and the wilderness. It’s been called the “most ambitious project to date” of his multi-decade career.

DANIEL BELTRA

Daniel Beltra is a Spanish photographer whose photographs show just how drastically our planet is changing as a result of human activity.  

Beltra is known for his focus on aerial photography, which “more easily allows for the juxtaposition of nature with the destruction wrought by unsustainable development.” For him, this angle helps emphasize that our planet has limits and that we are pushing past them.

One of his best-known photographs — an image of the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — can be seen below.

ANA TERESA FERNÁNDEZ

Ana Teresa Fernández is a Mexican-born, San Francisco-based sculptor and painter. Released in 2021, her “On the Horizon” exhibit stunningly demonstrates the risk rising sea levels present to her community, and of course, coastal communities all around the world.

As she describes, “We human beings who call this ocean planet home are key protagonists in the plot and pacing of this tale. Individual actions will have everything to do with how our collective story unfolds.”

ALLISON JANAE HAMILTON

Allison Janae Hamilton is a Kentucky-born, Florida-raised sculptor, photographer, and videographer. Her art draws inspiration from her roots growing up in the South and from a passion for landscapes.

As her biography describes, “she engages haunting yet epic mythologies that address the social and political concerns of today’s changing southern terrain, including land loss, environmental justice, climate change, and sustainability.”

You can see those themes captured in works like “Floridawater I” (2019).

ALEJANDRO DURAN

Did you know that if plastic use were a country, it’d be the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world? It’s true, and along with the inescapable problem of waste, is serious cause for concern.

That’s why we’re glad to see Alejandro Duran taking action through the Washed Up Project. This is a series of artworks made of the international trash that washes up on Mexico’s beaches.

Duran is raising awareness of the problem and hopes to help end the plastic pollution trashing the world’s land, oceans, and atmosphere.

KATHERINE BOLAND

Katherine Boland is a British-born, Australia-based artist who makes art focused on the natural world using non-traditional mediums. Among them, fire.

Katherine was inspired to make art to raise awareness about climate change after experiencing the 2019–2020 Australian bushfires firsthand. Below is a piece from “OUTPUT: ART AFTER FIRE,”  an art project supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade following the fires.

JASON DECAIRES TAYLOR

Jason deCaires Taylor is a sculptor, professional underwater photographer, and as his art clearly shows, an avid environmentalist. He is best known for his many large-scale underwater sculpture exhibits.  

As his bio describes, “Taylor’s pioneering public art projects are not only examples of successful marine conservation, but works of art that seek to encourage environmental awareness, instigate social change and lead us to appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty of the underwater world.”

His works are mesmerizing and moving and completely speak for themselves.

JULIE HEFFERNAN

Julie Heffernan is an American painter whose art touches on subjects ranging from the environment to history and feminism, among others.

Recently, she made waves in the climate art scene with “When the Water Rises,” a series of paintings that “create alternative habitats in response to environmental disaster and planetary excess.”

Courtney Taylor, an art curator at Louisiana State University, could hardly have described the series better:

“Julie’s work addresses excess and its relationship to climate change, issues that become more relevant, more pressing, each day…[t]he beauty of her painting pulls us in to consider these fraught issues, but, in addition to considering these catastrophes and our complicity, we’re pushed to consider our response.”

JOIN THE MOVEMENT FOR SOLUTIONS

Feeling inspired by those works? Then join our fight for a safe, sustainable future for generations to come!

Here are three things you can do to take climate action today.

Join our email list. Sign up today and we’ll keep you up to date on the latest climate news and all the ways you can take climate action.

Learn more about becoming a trained Climate Reality Leader. Climate Reality Leaders come from all walks of life, but they all share the same desire to make a difference and help create a sustainable future for the Earth. During a training, you’ll learn what the climate crisis means for you and how you can take action in your community to fight back.

Join a local Climate Reality chapter. Across the US, Climate Reality chapters are making an impact in the fight against the climate crisis. Join your local chapter and join action opportunities in your area!

By Diego Rojas

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Source: www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/11-visual-artists-taking-climate-crisis

Categories
Social Media

TIKTOK versus climate change

It’s not just about dance videos – young activists are using TikTok to change the climate movement one post at a time.

For many in Gen Z, social media has become a crucial part of how young activists connect, educate, and inspire each other.

And while that’s not new, what is new is how young activists are using one platform in particular: TikTok.

As you probably know, TikTok is an app for making and sharing short videos. If you’re not an active user, your first thought is probably “infectious dance videos,” and to be fair, that’s how TikTok first burst into mainstream consciousness.

But today, the platform has become much, much more than a vehicle for dance videos (though there are still a lot of amazing ones being made). And with over 1 billion global monthly users on the app, activists can reach a substantial amount of people in mere seconds.

That many users – and the app’s history as a platform for creative expression – inevitably invites innovation and new and diverse ways of thought and expression about, well, just about anything.

And new and diverse ways of thought and expression is exactly what we’re seeing when it comes to climate action on TikTok. Especially from young activists.

MEET ECOTOK

In the summer of 2020, a collaborative TikTok group emerged to influence the next generation of activism and education.

EcoTok as it’s called, is a collective of 17 environmental activists and educators. A main goal of the group is to celebrate diversity both in their identities and in their approaches to climate action.

With over 115k followers, EcoTok has made a huge impact on the climate movement.

Critically, the collective has helped normalize talking about climate issues among young people and encouraged other users outside the group to tackle climate issues on their own accounts.

Check out the collective and you’ll see posts on everything from sustainability to climate communications to getting involved in local action and so much more.

In one post, Henry Ferland, known on his personal TikTok as “@Traashboyyy” encourages individuals to simply pick up trash when going on walks as an easy way to help their local environment. Everyone likes easy, right?

The approach is working – and the group’s influence is growing. In less than two years, EcoTok has gone from a small collective to an entire subgenre of TikTok, with the EcoTok hashtag currently fostering over 260 million views.

You read that right: 260 million. And counting.

Part of these exploding numbers come from the simplicity of the subgenre’s mission. At a time when temperatures are (literally) going off the charts, it’s a place to talk about climate with other young people – what it means for them. What they can do. Breaking it down. Making it relatable.

Doria Brown, known on her personal TikTok account as @EarthStewardess, focuses on educating audiences on energy science, sustainability, and science communication. With over 42K followers on the app, her content is clearly catching the eyes of many.

Members of EcoTok have started the conversation on a truly global problem while incorporating inclusitivity into their advocacy.

The result is an online forum for individuals from all over to contribute creative ideas and provide solutions – generating a new discussion about the climate crisis and how we can actively be a part of tackling it.

 

CALLING OUT CLIMATE INJUSTICE

Climate change is not only an environmental issue – it’s a justice issue.

Globally, people of color live with the harmful, lasting effects of climate change much more than white individuals. The numbers don’t lie.

As just one example, in the US, wildfires are on the rise – and some groups are more vulnerable to wildfires and their devastating impacts than others. One study found that majority Black, Hispanic, and Native American districts are – on average – 50% more vulnerable to wildfires than others.

Having done the least to contribute to the climate crisis, it’s simply unfair that these communities suffer the most.

The discussion happening on TikTok now is answering the “how?” part of stopping climate injustice.

Black climate activists are leading the charge by using TikTok to educate and advocate for change in the climate movement.

However, one of the harder parts of advocating for climate justice is bringing the issue home –why it’s important and where it comes from – for audiences who aren’t living with dirty air and other kinds of injustice day in and day out.

That’s where environmental justice champion Arielle V. King comes in. King uses her platform to discuss the uncomfortable realities of climate and racial injustices the Black community faces.

As an environmental justice lawyer, Arielle is striving to make environmental education more inclusive. Her content ranges from breaking down what environmental racism looks like to posts actively protesting and advocating for change.

Environmental justice advocacy can take various forms. It means something different to everyone – but the passion for justice remains the same.

PhD student, Gabrielle created her TikTok account called @Eco_Og to advocate for positive and accessible sustainable communities. Her videos showcase how people can live more sustainably while not having to break their bank.

With all the great work these women (among many, many others) are doing, we know the expertise of activists of color will help advance the movement to be more inclusive and reach true equity.

 

A NEW MOVEMENT

Here at The Climate Reality Project, we believe it’s time for a new climate movement.

The bottom line is – the climate movement will stay stagnant if we do not include racial and environmental justice in our activism.

The first step is educating ourselves about climate justice.

It can feel like there’s so much to learn – to help you get started, we have put together a few introductory explainers to help. You can read more here.

Source: www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/tiktok-versus-climate-change