Sunday, May 29, 2016

"Art in a Changing Climate"

Here's a great blog post by Christina Catanese at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, in Pennsylvania:
Bill McKibben wrote, in a 2005 essay on climate change and art, “But oddly, though we know about it, we don’t know about it. It hasn’t registered in our gut; it isn’t part of our culture. Where are the books? The poems? The plays? The goddamn operas?”

Climate change is abstract, cognitively complex, with no clear single villain; dialogue around climate change often induces self-defensiveness, the steps needed to respond require long time horizons, and many of the victims are distant, in either space or time. More so than many other environmental issues, climate change is a social as well as scientific challenge, making it even harder to wrap our minds around. For decades, climate scientists have tried to make their work resonate, but too often, the result is either data overload, or fear and warning of dire and disastrous consequences, which people tune out. Mounting evidence shows that our brains are simply not wired for this kind of abstraction – we respond subconsciously based on emotion, not data.

Luckily, artists are good at appealing to these parts of ourselves, with the ability to activate our imaginations, catalyze mindshifts, motivate change and action, and develop outside-the-box solutions...
Read the entire post here

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