The Nexus of Art and Climate Change

The Nexus of Art and Climate Change

May 28, 2020 | Author: Shefali Mehta, Founder of Open Rivers and Anshul Mathur, Co-Founder of One Resilient Earth

Bridging Unlikely Bedfellows to Inspire and Solve

Climate change, and the related environmental challenges, continue to mount.  It is quite apparent that we are facing greater growing ramifications and no one is spared.  However, it has also become increasingly apparent that while we must have focus, engage and act with swift (and significant) actions to address, and attempt to mitigate, climate issues, the prevalent narrative has taken a mental toll on many. Those closest to the work, such as the scientists and organizations devoted to understanding the extent of the impact and identifying solutions, face mental exhaustion and a range of dilemmas[1], such as “eco grief”.  For society at large, the enormity and the implication of climate change is so overwhelming, that many end up in denial or hopelessness, an example highlighted by Shenkar Vedantam in his Hidden Brain Podcast.[2]

 

 

Art has played a critical role in human society through the millenia, providing a channel to connect us, inspire and communicate the ineffable. While artists and scientists are not commonly seen as collaborators, art and science have often been closely intertwined with many artists through the ages[3] taking their inspiration from science and scientists utilizing art to push the edge of their research and innovation. We have seen a steady shift towards using art and photography to bring us closer to the true impact of climate change.[4] In addition to building awareness, artists should be seen as critical stakeholders in solutions.  As the severity of the climate and environmental issues grow, we need the skills and perspectives of many to solve these problems and help our communities to adapt and thrive in this new world. In early 2019, the founder of One Resilient Earth – Laureline Simon Krichewsky helped organize an innovative new initiative at the UN – Resilience Frontiers which brought together thinkers and interdisciplinary thought leaders including artists to envision climate-resilient futures.

Wedding art and science creates a powerful vehicle for the communities and individuals living with climate change. One Resilient Earth was founded under this premise to empower people to become resilient to environmental and climate crises. From individuals to communities and ecosystems, One Resilient Earth fosters collaborations bridging together art, science, ancient wisdom and new technologies. One of its aims is supporting scientists and others on the “frontline” of the climate crisis who are depleted and exhausted, to find new ways to look at the problem and open up to creative solutions using a transdisciplinary approach. In this paradigm indigenous wisdom, spirituality and art are seen as integral components of the solution space.

We invite you to engage with One Resilient Earth  through its various initiatives – Tero, Nests, Tapestry and Gifts. We are open to collaborators, partners and others with a desire to build resilience in the face of one of the greatest threats facing humans today.

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Anshul Mathur is a former physician who currently spends time analyzing human behavior with a focus on the food and nutrition space. His experiences have ranged from management consulting to data science focused tech startups. He is also a visual artist and brings his multitude of experiences to the climate resilience thinking of One Resilient Earth.

 

 

 

Shefali Mehta is an economist and statistician who deploys her skills as a strategy and implementation advisor focused on agriculture and the environment. She founded Open Rivers to collaborate with organizations and teams to crystallize and implement robust strategies that leverage their strengths and truly unleashes the potential of its organizations and its people.

 

 


Featured artwork: Dream Time. Acrylic on canvas 200x100cm 2017 by Joaquin Vila

[1] https://blog.csiro.au/are-you-experiencing-eco-grief/, https://www.npr.org/2017/04/22/524557600/first-step-to-eco-grieving-over-climate-change-admit-theres-a-problem

[2] https://www.npr.org/2016/04/18/474685770/why-our-brains-werent-made-to-deal-with-climate-change

[3] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-interplay-of-art-and-science/, https://www.sciencehistory.org/fine-art, https://www.ebsco.com/blog/article/the-steamy-relationship-between-art-and-science

[4] National Geographic, https://paulnicklen.com/about/, https://www.sealegacy.org/, https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/art-for-earth