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The Art of Climate Change
The Art of Climate Change
The venue: The Sun GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Introduction to the climate change project
The Art of Climate Change is a project by Dorsi Lynn Diaz that is an interactive art show and exhibit to help raise public awareness about climate change, and to provide an educational model for other communities to use in their own cities and towns.
An art show and exhibit will be held at The Sun Gallery in Hayward, Ca. from June 19 - July 27, 2014. The project has many different elements to it, including a website, educational art related drawing lessons - along with ideas for solutions and a call to action. I have recruited many artists, inventors and climate change scientists from around the world to get involved in the project and have my local community involved as well.
The Artists reception for the show will be held on Saturday, June 28, 2014 and everyone that is reading this is welcome to come. The hours will be from 1-4, and possibly 1-5, depending on the amount of exhibitors we have. The show will be ongoing however between June and July, and I will post the open hours for the Sun Gallery at a later date. Any events that are added will also be added to the end of this hub, as there may be some activities that come up after this is written. I sincerely hope anyone that lives in this area can drop in to see the exhibit - or drop by the website www.TheArtofClimateChange.com to learn more about climate change.
A little background on the project
I have been a working artist for over 25 years and have worked in several different mediums. I also owned and managed a sign company for over 14 years with my husband and partner. Besides being an artist, I have also been a writer here at HubPages for 6 years and I also write at The San Francisco Examiner where I have reported on climate change for over 5 years. In addition to these freelance jobs, I also teach art to children in the San Francisco Bay Area at Green Forest Art Studio, The Sun Gallery in Hayward and for Young Rembrandt's at public schools in the East Bay.
My background is in design, marketing and sales. I have also worked as a photographer in Hayward and Berkeley, so most of my articles have original photos that I have taken over the years.
So how does someone with such a varied skill set end up working on a project like "The Art of Climate Change?", you might ask?
Good question, and one that I had been asking myself for quite some time. How do I take my passion for art, teaching children, writing, climate change and marketing and weave them all together? This was the burning question for me until last year, when the vision for the project was born.
The full story with more details of my vision can be read here at The San Francisco Examiner: The Art of Climate Change
The Art of Climate Change: The Problem
Anyone who reads the latest news knows that we have a problem. A huge problem, when it comes to climate change. You can surf the Internet or surf TV channels any day of the week and find almost daily reports of record breaking storms hitting cities and countries around the globe. Droughts, raging wildfires, flooding, extreme heat and cold and other climate change related symptoms like tornadoes and tsunamis are becoming more commonplace.
Although environmentalists have been sounding the alarm bells about climate change for decades, climate catastrophes have taken many people by surprise. No one really expected to see such devastation happen in such a short space of time. Just in 2013 alone, there were over billions of dollars in damages caused by extreme weather disasters fueled by climate change.
Because of a major and deliberate dis-info campaign for decades aimed at confusing the public about global warming now better known as climate change, there is a huge gap in the public's understanding on what is happening to our climate, and why things are accelerating so fast. People are confused, they don't understand the sudden changes, and for many, they are just waking up to the realization that we suddenly have a huge problem on our hands.
It became apparent to me when putting this project together that the first thing I needed to do was to talk about "the problem." The problem first needs to be recognized and understood before any other information is presented. Let's look at the definition of a problem to start with:
prob·lemˈ präbləm/ noun noun:
problem; plural noun: problems.
a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.
Some fast facts about "Our Problem":
- The year 2013 has seen no less than 39 weather-related disasters costing $1 billion or more in damage. That's far more than last year, when there were only 27, according to an analysis of disaster statistics by the Weather Underground's Jeff Masters—and very near the all time high of 40, in 2010.
- Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position (from the NASA gov website)
- Arctic permafrost is melting, glaciers are receding, and sea ice is disappearing. Changes in the Arctic will not only affect local people and ecosystems but also the rest of the world, because the Arctic plays a special role in global climate.The Arctic could be ice-free as soon as 1-3 years from now.
- President Obama has signed Executive Orders to address the growing climate crisis. The order, titled "Executive Order -- Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change", recognizes the extreme impact that climate change is having, and will continue to have in the future
- Scientists predict that global warming could contribute to the mass extinction of wild animals in the near future. An overheating world is creating a big change in climatic conditions and this can harm the delicate ecosystems in which species live.
- Weather-related losses and damage have risen from an annual average of about $50 billion in the 1980s to close to $200 billion over the last decade, according to the Munich Re insurance group.
- Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which can lead to unchecked and rapid climate change, has been referred to as "the canary in the coal mine" and its release has been theorized to have caused past mass extinctions, known as the the "clathrate gun hypothesis."
- According to a recent article at the Arctic News: "Methane levels are going through the roof."
- Paul Beckwith, part-time professor and a PhD student with the laboratory for paleoclimatology and climatology at the University of Ottawa, stated that,"We have lost our stable climate. Likely permanently."
- Last year it is estimated that American taxpayers through the federal government paid $100 billion in 2012 for the cost of climate change - more than the cost of education or transportation. We are each now paying a cost for climate change.
- It is estimated that the future cost of climate change due to excessive methane release in the atmosphere will be 60 TRILLION DOLLARS (per Professor Peter Wadhams at the 2014 AGU conference held in S.F.)
The problem and my role as a social artist
OK, so now that we know that we do indeed have a huge problem, what do we do about it? And how do I, as an artist, writer and teacher, present the problem on a mass scale, beyond just teaching about it in classes and writing articles about it?
The solution for me was to combine all 3 of these things together - teaching, art and writing - then present the show to the local community. Then, most importantly, to use that show as a spring-board to show other communities on how they can also address "the problem." And more importantly, I am now paving the way for other communities to replicate the show by being able to use the art, website and educational part of the first exhibit so they can do their own exhibit, or even just elements of it.
It also became very clear to me that one of the ways to communicate to the public the dangers of this problem was to present it through the use of great visuals and to engage them beyond just looking at some interesting art. And very importantly, to bridge the educational gap that had been left by years of mis-information about the dangers of climate change. This show needed to be interactive with the audience, with open discussion and creative brainstorming - with solutions and a call to action.
After all, climate change affects all of us, not just me, It is a global problem for each and every one of us. This project could almost be summed up in just 4 words:
We need to talk.
No easy task, but in my new role as a "social artist", a challenging and purposeful one. My mediums in art are now people and how to connect and educate them about the growing threat of climate change, through "art."
My 5 year old grandson learning about climate change
The Website: The Art of Climate Change
As with any problem, good communication is key. We all know that it is not meaningful when dealing with a big problem to just hope it will go away or to look away and avert our eyes from the elephant in the room.
To jump-start my project I bought the domain name and hosted a website at The Art of Climate Change, where I have broke down the different parts of the upcoming show as I have visualized them. The website is a work in progress. In its final design it will be a website where other communities can learn how to teach about climate change in an understandable and comprehensive way. The educational elements of the site will reach up from children to their parents and grand-parents, and also top down from community and city leaders to residents and their families.
A website that can be used by all.
Recycled signs I made for the projectClick thumbnail to view full-size
The art show comes together
Because climate change is such a huge issue, and one that has many parts, I am not going to go into the specifics of each section of the show but am going to list them here so you can see where my idea is going. The art show and exhibit will be broken down into the following sections (these are listed in what I feel are the best way of taking all this in)
- The problem
- The Arctic - and why it matters
- The Methane Monster
- Extreme weather
- The faces of climate change (climate change refugees)
- What the children say
- Educating through art
- A call to action
As of February, 2014, these are the subjects I will be focusing on, however, I may add a subject if I feel it is critical to the final "piece."
Abrupt climate change with Paul Beckwith
PIOMAS Arctic Sea Ice
Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Volumes 1979-2013
Runaway climate change
Artists, scientists, professors, seamstresses, photographers and others come together for a common cause
As crazy as this may seem in such a short time, I have lined up an amazing array of people to participate in The Art of Climate Change project, just within a short few weeks time. I do attribute this "coming together" of people to the fact that I have rigorously promoted social networking as a marketing tool to raise climate change awareness over the years. I have also actively networked within my own local community, volunteering and also being involved in numerous projects over the years.
I have been teaching children and their families a series of art lessons on endangered species as part of the project, which I started in January.
I do believe that 2014 has definitively sparked the awareness cause for climate change. Some of the exhibitors, artists and professors that are going to be in the show are:
- Part-time Climate Change Professor Paul Beckwith, of the University of Ottawa, who will do a live Skype Q & A session from the Artists reception on June 28. Attendees can sit down face to face with a leading climate change educator and ask questions about climate change from the show.
- A life size mural of a Polar Bear with an Arctic scene, painted in the show/exhibit hall by Lisa Hamblett-Montagnese.
- Photographer Rose Gold will make the day even more special for kids by taking photos of them with the Polar bear.
- A display of children and families climate change (endangered species) artwork from students of the Sun Gallery, The Joyful Noise Learning Center, Green Forest Art Studio and The Community Church of Hayward.
- A live viewing of Andy Lee Robinsons video on a flat screen TV which will be available for viewing all during the exhibits 5 1/2 weeks. Andy's video shows the decline of the Arctic ice accompanied by a musical composition by Andy called "Ice Dreams/"
- A graphic of "The Arctic Death Spiral" by Andy Lee Robinson, to be displayed in the Arctic section of the show.
- A full size poster by Sam Carana (of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group on FB) of the effects of runaway climate change, designed by Sam and displayed in the Arctic section.
- Original cartoons by Sam Carana, also an adviser on this project, displayed in the Methane section of the show.
- Quotes with ideas by Harold Hensel, another AMEG member and adviser on this project.
- A full size poster of a tunnel invention as a possible solution to our warming waters by Patrick McNulty. Posted in Solutions.
- A display of alternative fuel named "Bio-Fuel" with information by inventor Jay Toups. Posted in Solutions.
- A live aquaponics display by Michael and Natalie Elola of Lucky Garden Hydroponics on how to grow vegetables and fruit indoors without using soil. Posted in Solutions.
- A full size Polar bear costume mascot to be used for outreach. Designed and sewn by Nancy Martinez
- A national call for art by The Sun Gallery for extreme weather photos, climate change art and recycled and re-purposed art
- A display of childrens books about climate change. Joe Santiago's book will also be featured. Displayed under Education.
- The original video for the project will be displayed on a flat-screen video at the show for 5 1/2 weeks. Video editing and production by Mead Rose
- Artistically designed Climate change confections by pastry chef Cori Diaz for the Artists reception
- A local rock/punk band that sings songs about climate change. They will sing at the Artists reception.
- Possible tables set up by the City of Hayward with information about the cities climate change plan along with other entities like the EPA, Water Conservation Board, EBMUD and Waste Management.
- Deagon B. Williams, friend and adviser on this project.
Me teaching the endangered Polar bear lesson - the "splatter" technique
We all have talents, gifts and a voice
I think the most exciting part of this project has been the realization of seeing all these people from around the world coming together in one tangible place to address an issue that we are all passionate about. It's the common desire of each one of us to offer ourselves, our talents and works, to such a worthy human cause. When faced with such a huge and daunting problem as climate change, some people may feel what they say or think does not matter or will have no effect. But to give up like this goes against our human spirit, and brings us to a bleak place of hopelessness and despair.
The purpose of this show is not only to spark dialogue, but to give hope to people that might already think this is a hopeless cause. Each and every one of us has something to offer. It may not be art but it may be your voice - or some other talent that becomes part of the solution to the climate change puzzle.