by Viviana Puello
Although some people still remain skeptical about climate change, it is a truly global crisis that has a lot of support from very reputable sources. For example, NASA (together with NOAA and USGS) is currently conducting research, using breakthrough technology to observe all aspects of the Earth’s ecosystem. There are satellites and other complex instruments orbiting the Earth right now that are studying the oceans, land, and atmosphere, with more to launch soon. The gathered information provides scientific evidence that proves global warming is really happening and that human activity is responsible for its progress.
Earth’s temperature has continuously changed throughout its history. The end of the last glacial age (about 7,000 years ago) more or less matches the beginning of human civilization, which could be a factor to determine how much it affects us. Although global warming could be understood as the opposite of a glacial age, there is scientific proof that shows that it is mostly caused by excessive CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. This situation could get out of control and create a global catastrophe.
The emission of carbon dioxide and other gasses from machines has caused a rise in the planet’s temperature of 0.9 Celsius since the 19th century. Consequently, the Earth is experiencing changes: the oceans are warming, the ice sheets of the poles are melting, the glaciers are retreating, and the amount of snow is decreasing. Furthermore, the sea level has risen eight inches since the last century; there are more records involving hot temperature records than cold ones, and the acidity of the oceans is increasing due to CO2.
Concerned with the global warming problem, the art community is taking a stand by sending strong messages through art. There are two main ways: through practical solutions and through persuasive ideas. In either case, artists are trying to change the world into a better place.
The themes and concepts that sculptors and painters (as well as a few architects) use in their works reflect their thoughts regarding the global warming problem. Some of them believe that scientific observations are not changing people’s behavior. They, therefore, intend to create art that creates a better understanding of the problem on the part of viewers and persuades them to look for a solution.
Israeli artist, Shyfra Levyathan, alters her photographs with digital technology to create impressive surrealistic images, which she associates with climate change. In her work, “The Haunted House,” she puts an elegant house in a barren landscape that could be related to Mars, and that contains strange weeds and flying creatures around it.
Maribel Matthews is an artist from Gibraltar who wants to raise consciousness about the problems that our planet is facing. She has started to use more abstract forms and vivid colors to represent scenes with natural disasters (fires, hurricanes, etc.), as well as painting with different mediums (other than oil), to help in this task.
In “Underwater HOA, Marker 8,” Xavier Cortada put a sign in front of a house, indicating the altitude at which the sea level will rise if global warming continues. He believes that, through this sign, people will be able to visualize the true extent of the terrible problem.
Climate change is a reality, and we all must act now before it is too late. We stand by and support the voice of the artists sending their message through the pages of this special issue of ArtTour International Magazine.