Art, Data, and Environmental Stewardship

In Community & Activism, News by

This article jives with something dear to our hearts at Little Blue Marble: the importance of the bringing the arts and humanities into efforts to educate about climate change’s impacts and to envision mitigation and adaptation solutions, since it’s our firm belief that even though it is a key piece of the puzzle, science alone won’t save us. This synergy between science and art is why we explicitly chose to publish fiction. Scientific American examines Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute PhD student Maria Michails’ projects to get more people involved with environmental issues.

Environmental issues can often be overwhelming or disheartening for members of the public, and art offers an innovative way to promote interest that can lead to deeper engagement down the line …

Early environmental movements in the US tended to focus on very local and tangible issues – stopping the pollution of water or getting smog out of the air. Climate change has shifted the focus to more global threats, which has the dual effect of making the problem seem insurmountable and making the apparent threat more abstract. Research societies and environmental groups are again turning their focus more locally. They are hoping to promote a sense of environmental stewardship: the sense of responsibility to use conservation and sustainability practices to protect the natural environment. This sense of responsibility relies on the development of personal buy-in, something that often depends on an emotional connection for long-term staying power. Art has the potential to cultivate that emotional connection.