As busy humans, we hear and learn thousands of things every single day. While certain headlines might make us stop for a second to process shocking, or interesting information – for the most part we can all call ourselves “endless scrollers.” Yes, we’re guilty too; we’ve all flipped to our news feeds and surfaced 10 minutes later unsure what we even just saw!
One thing that is sure to make us stop every time, however, is art. Art is able to express in one quick visual all the thousands of words our minds process every day. And more than that, art has a way of making us actually feel something about that info, and these feelings make us want to do something!
Whether that something means learning more or joining a cause and taking action, when it comes to the issue of climate change every little “something” counts. So, if you are looking to learn a little more about climate change through a series of really powerful images and visuals, look no further (or rather keep looking, here). Check out these five awesome artists who are helping us learn about climate change – and doing so in a rather aesthetically pleasing way.
1. Vincent J.F. Huang
Vincent J.F. Huang has created a number of sculptures that illustrate the realities of climate change. Though his pieces may be shocking at times, they force the audience to see the connections between our daily habits and their environmental consequences. In one of his recent exhibitions, Huang created a giant Polar-Bear-Burger, featuring a polar bear sandwiched in the middle of two classic burger buns. When you consider the fact that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organizations like the Worldwatch Institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent, does Huang’s Polar Bear Hamburger 2014 seem too extreme?
2. Olafur Elliason
In Olafur Elliason’s installation piece “Your Waste of Time,” the Icelandic artists brings his audience up close with the infamous melting glaciers. Elliason’s display features pieces of Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier, kept in a refrigerated room. We are told everyday that the world’s glaciers are melting at a rapid pace, but we never get to see this happen up close. While the pieces of Vatnajökull preserved at New York’s Museum of Modern Art aren’t set to melt anytime soon – how tragic would it be if these were the only glaciers left on the planet?
3. Basia Irland
Education is at the heart of empowering humans to combat climate change. Playing off this idea, artist Basia Irland has started the “Ice Book Project.” Irland makes books out of ice and embeds tiny seeds into the books and calls the piece “Ice Receding/Books Reseeding.” Climate change has been shown to cause erosion and damage to major water ecosystems, with this in mind, the books are placed next to rivers as part of watershed restoration efforts. Whoever said art couldn’t make a difference was so wrong!
4. HeHe: Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen
Combining art and technology, the French duo known as HeHe a.k.a Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen, bring the air pollution of Paris to life in their series “Champs de Ozone.” Utilizing real-time air quality data, the pair were able to transform the data into colored projections that illustrate the changing levels of pollution over the city. While the key to the color code – i.e. red signifies highly toxic, purple signifies moderate pollution, etc. – is not provided, the presentation is up to the viewer to decide. We don’t know about you, but we like to follow the rule: no air pollution is good air pollution.
5. Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris
Landscape photography has the wonderful ability to capture a sweeping image of a natural environment, illustrating the many plants and animals that call that place home. The work of Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris captures a different sort of landscape image, the landscape of our rapidly changing world. Sayler and Morris are the co-founders of the “Canary Project” that fuses scientific research and art to communicate to their viewers how climate change is impacting the Anthropocene (current geological age where human activity has been the dominant influence on the environment and climate). The collaborative work “A History of the Future” features photographs from recent natural disasters that have been linked to a changing climate. Below is an image from the collection on Hurricane Sandy.
Hopefully looking at the work of these artists has inspired you to learn a little bit more about climate change and seek out more information on the topic. Understanding an issue is the first step to tackling its many challenges, check out these posts for more!
- BUSTED! The 6 Worst Myths About Global Climate Change
- Serious About Addressing Climate Change? It’s Time to Get Serious About Changing Your Diet
- 7 Crazy Effects of Climate Change That Can Only Be Explained With the Help of Bill Nye
- Why We Don’t Care About Climate Change (But Really Should)