(Many of these points also apply to dance, drama, music, photography, videography, creative writing, and other creative arts.)
Historically, one important role for the arts has been to explore and express societal concerns; they have often been in the vanguard of raising public consciousness about difficult matters.
Can students use the arts to show how they see the world today, what it was like in the past, or what it might look like in the future? Their work—whether it’s a drawing, performance, sculpture, video, or writing—can help others to see and think about the world in new ways.
What can be done (in whatever form of art you teach), to address global warming and climate change in ways that help meet your teaching goals? How can you get students involved in discussing possibilities for action?
- How can we use information about global warming, and from an inventory of our school’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG,) in our art?
- How can we make art that raises awareness of global warming and GHG?
- How can we motivate people in our school and community to take meaningful action on global warming?
- How can we use art to explore solutions in a time of changing climate?
The ways could be as simple as individual posters or graphics, or complex projects or collaborative work such as a large-scale mural, a themed exhibition, or a skit or performance for the school. For an example of a mural, see Alexis Rockman’s ‘Manifest Destiny’, reproduced below.
- The arts can be powerful ways to help us see things from new perspectives.
- Historically, the arts have helped raise people’s awareness and create change.
Additional Resources for Art
- Art of Sustainability. Sustainability Institute at Florida A&M website.
- The Art of Sustainability: Imagination, Not Spreadsheets Will Create Change [www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/art-sustainability-imagination-create-change]
- Fostering Environmental Literacy Rhode Island School of Design, 2014
- Making the Case for Environmental Sustainability in the Arts. Grantmakers In the Arts, 2012. [www.giarts.org/article/making-case-environmental-sustainability-arts]
- Manifest Destiny mural/painting Smithsonian American Art Museum website. [americanart.si.edu/images/2011/2011.36A-D_1a.jpg]
More information at the Brooklyn Museum website. [www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/alexis_rockman]
(The mural is also on display at the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, Pennsylvania.)
- MassArt Sustainability – Massachusetts College of Art & Design. [sustainability.massart.edu]
- On the Arts and Sustainability. Ian David Moss, CreateEquity blog, 2009.
- Principles of Sustainability in Contemporary Art, Green Museum
- STEM to STEAM. Rhode Island School of Design website [www.stemtosteam.org
- These Artists Are Trying to Make Climate Change Visceral: Ten people turning disheartening data into amazing paintings, sculptures, and illustrations. OutsideOnline (2017)
- Visual Art and Writing in Science and Engineering. TeachEngineering website. [www.teachengineering.org/lessons/view/gat_visual_art_lesson01]
- Why Use the Arts for Sustainability? – EcoArts Australis