Telling the Climate Change Story

There are many ways to tell the climate change story. It can be told in numbers organized in charts or graphs – the tools preferred by scientists. Or it can be told in a myriad of artistic ways as evidenced by the categories on this blog. For painter and photographer Diane Burko, the climate change story is best told in large-scale images that capture both the majesty of the depicted subject, and the poignancy of its potential demise. Inspired by the science of climate change, Burko’s paintings and photographs invite us to revere what we have, and to understand that despite its magnitude and seemingly unlimited resources, our earth is at risk and requires as much nurturing from us as we do from it. The merging of the aesthetic and the rational in a single experience invites us to confront our own understanding of, and response to, climate change. In the interview below, Burko talks about her two current projects: Politics of Snow and Polar Investigations. For more on these projects, see also this excellent post on the World Policy Institute Blog. You have had

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Vanishing Ice

The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington is currently showing the exhibition Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012. Curated by Barbara Matilsky, with an accompanying catalogue distributed by University of Washington Press, the exhibition provides a 200-year overview of artists’ responses to the enduring fascination that frigid and isolated places seem to exert on the human imagination. While climate change is, at least in the public consciousness, a relatively recent concern, our desire to conquer the poles is not. In that context, it is interesting to step back and look at the evolution of Arctic imagery, from early 18th century romantic depictions of forbidden landscapes to contemporary works highlighting the vulnerability and fragility of polar environments. Artists from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Russia, Switzerland and the United States are represented. Notable among them are Arctic veteran photographers James Balog, whose ambitious project Extreme Ice Survey was recently featured in the documentary

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