Artful & Eco-Conscious: Environmental Conservation Projects Among .ART Adopters
Featured image: Leaves by Andy Goldsworthy
Before we delve any deeper, let’s start off by looking at the inception of Earth Day. The very first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, and for 20 odd years, most of what went on was confined to the US. In 1990, however, the original coordinator of the first Earth Day Denis Hayes broadened its horizons and organised the event in over 140 countries. Today, more than 1 billion people in over 193 countries across the globe get together to celebrate Earth Day.
Since its inception, the movement behind Earth Day has been about the power of individual voices gathering. There is, after all, significant power in numbers and actions: it helps create accountability and bold, creative solutions.
During the movement’s first decade, its actions were focused on legislation regarding pollution. It was successful with several acts being approved, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Superfund, Toxics Substances Control Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The momentum also led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the ban of DDT and lead in gas.
The 1990s saw a focus on more contemporary environmental issues, and there was increasing action regarding recycling. Once we hit the millennium, global warming and clean energy became central to Earth Day’s campaigning.
Fun fact: the first Google Doodle celebrated Earth Day back in 2001. This year, Google created its 20th doodle to celebrate Earth Day. Without a doubt, the internet has immensely helped to connect people around the world and unify their voices behind one overarching message about protecting our planet.
Most of the 50th-anniversary celebrations of Earth Day in April 2020 were cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. Nevertheless, it quickly changed into a digital format, mobilising more people online than ever before. Since then, the digital realm has become the ideal platform to discuss current issues, raise awareness around climate literacy and environmental justice, and gather prominent voices from global activists, international leaders, A-list celebrities, influencers and more. Regular citizens are also able to show their support globally through videos, social media posts and more.
Of course, the .ART community has been no exception when it comes to engaging with this extremely important topic. Today, we look at several community members that use their voice to raise awareness and contribute toward the discourse around ecology, preservation, climate change and more through the power of art.
Based in Northern California, Anna Davidson has combined her scientistic and artistic skills in the name of environmental justice. “Ocean Memory” is one of her many incredibly projects, the aim of which is to work according to scientific and artistic practices to broaden the understanding and awareness of the deep ocean. The work is funded by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI).
The Art of Resilience
The Art of Resilience was conceived to demonstrate how art can unite a range of disciplines to help in the understanding and communication of disaster and climate risk. It does this by bringing together international artists, technologists and makers. The diversity of artistic mediums demonstrate how art can be embedded within scientific research, and art is used as a Call to Action, to educate people on the importance of resilience to disasters.
To discover more about their work, you can head to artofresilience.art.
Surrounded by a flurry of artists, Chris Kelly is an active member of the cleanup community in his area – a monthly litter picking initiative that also fights against single-use plastics. Chris is motivated by environmental issues and likes to use his personal project to spread awareness of ocean plastic pollution. His artwork enables him to follow his conviction through the end: 10% of his sales go to Ocean charities and he uses 100% recyclable packaging.
Milan Rai is a conceptual artist whose practice focuses on the fields of urban ecology that engage with conceptual thinking and social practice as an arts-based methodology. Milan works across situations, interventions and eco social–art practices. He aims to find pragmatic solutions to socio-ecological issues. He shares his curatorial essays, stories, eco-sophies, ideas and behind the scenes tidbits on his .art website.
“Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy” is Lauren Bon’s inspirational guideline. Through her practice, environmental artist Lauren Bon explores self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web. She is currently working a project titled Bending the River Back into the City, through which she aims to utilize Los Angeles’ first private water right to deliver 106-acre feet of water annually from the LA River to over 50 acres of land in downtown LA.
Jude Allen & Isla Robertson
In an effort to address the topic of soil health, Our Living Soil is an ambitious art/science program that seeks to inspire a deeper public understanding of the importance of soils. It links two major international conferences being held at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow: COP26, the UN climate change summit, in 2021; and the World Congress of Soil Science, led by the British Society of Soil Science in August 2022.
Salt Tree Art
Salt Tree Art is a non-profit environmental arts organization that aims to create rich community spaces that unite arts and ecology in unexpected, educational and inspiring ways. Their creative process revitalizes the links between community, ecology and the arts by developing environmental artworks and producing public performances and events. Inspired by the regenerative agriculture movement, they aspire to pursue regenerative art in order to offer innovative solutions to environmental issues.
Lin Barrie and Clive Stockil Lin Barrie and Clive Stockil are behind the catchy name that is Wine and Wild Dogs. Captivated by Conservation, African wild dogs, creative writing and responsible tourism, they regularly share their knowledge and art on their blog. Check out the “Endangered Landscapes – Earthscapes, Skyscapes, Wildscapes, Mindscapes” article which is complemented by inspiring facts and paintings.