CAN ART HELP TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE?

The use of visual artistic stimuli is helping to reach more people


By Caoimhe Clements: Arts Columnist


Scientists have proved that the Climate Crisis is and will be the biggest threat to humanity. Over 50% of Americans still say Climate Change is fake. The scientific facts will disagree.

Denialism is the study of human behaviour in which an individual chooses to deny reality as the truth is uncomfortable or too painful to accept. How can we help to educate people on Climate Change?

Art is scientific proven to help with the engagement with the topic of Climate Change. Why is this? People feel more connected through the acts of a visual language as it makes them feel a certain way. This is often achieved by the artist through the use a medium and colour palette, these elements help to construct certain emotions within their viewers.

Danish Artist Olafur Eliasson is known for their Climate Change Installations at the Tate in London. The latest 2018 installation titled ‘Ice Watch London’ was a showcase of icebergs which where brought from Greenland to England. The idea behind this eye-catching installation was for the public to react and engage with the subject. To witness an event of Climate Change in their city. A place of comfort for them.

Image: Ria Soppola

Eliasson studied the psychology of human behaviour and the impacts experience has on people. Does having experienced an event affected us differently than individuals who have not experienced the same? As the public experienced Ice melting in London, this sparked the conversation of how Icebergs melting increases sea levels and the long-term impacts that has on the change in climate. Thousands of Instagram users used the hashtag Ice Watch London. This installation was a success.


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Image: Jordan Singh

Climate Change is caused by the human act of burning fossil fuels. When burnt, fossil fuels release Carbon Dioxide which causes the planet to heat up. Plastic is made from fossil fuels. A material which is use every day and often ends up in our oceans.

Did you know plastic kills around 1 million Marine Animals each year? Plastic Pollution is a serious environmental issue. What will you change?

Dare you to Google ‘Smokey Mountain Landfill Philippines.’ When someone visually sees a subject put into a scale you start to witness the problem. Art has the power to do that.

American Artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi known to educate people on how plastic is a killer claiming lives of sea animals. They chock, suffocate and unable to eat, their stomachs filled with plastic this will later cause death through starvation. Angela regularly collects plastic and other waste washed up on local beaches. The plastic becomes a material which is used to construct art sculptures of marine animals that lose their precious lives to plastic.

It is called the Washed Ashore Project which began in 2010. Today is it an organisation with aims to education through regular beach clean ups and the expanding use the visual language through art sculptures presented outdoors. Angela regularly travels around the US with the company of her brilliant sculptures. Next time you witness plastic lying outside, will you take it or leave it? Stopping an animal from consuming it or follow the crowd. Your choice.

The subject of Climate Change is continuing to grow in the arts industry. Artists use their professions to express angry, eco-anxiety and their concerns for the future of our planet. Science agrees Arts play an important in the aspect of education and teaching the world about Climate Change. People are more intrigued to witness the visual sight of something it is much more appealing to the eye than text. In the end Art can help to tackle Climate Change. But will you play your role in tackling the Climate Crisis?


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