Theme : will be based on the concept of oil and crude materials and their destruction of nature and society as a whole. The idea is the spilling of oil will have an effect everywhere with its drips touching everything.
General storyline I (maybe with someone else) will walk up representing humanity/Big Oil. Will admire this beautiful piece, and then spill all over it. Subject matter/ pieces in the whole canvas: forest, ocean, desert, cityscapes, possibly Iowa City, polar ice caps, human health, and how our culture is impacting these elements.
Main characters me, the piece, humanity.
Interviews / Research Erica Damman (arts medium), Richard Priest (oil background), online research of artists of inspiration
Arts Medium slanted canvas with acrylic subjects. Then real oil or a replacement will be spilt over it, dripping on ceramic/plastic figures of humans on a map.
From the beginning I have been interested in the question, “if we know our current system is bad, and there is a better option, why don’t we do it?” This seems to be at the heart of every activist; trying to understand why change is not happening. What I have come up with is that Americans are plain addicted to their ways. I want to use the metaphor comparing Big Oil companies to Drug Dealers, as they facilitate quick, easy, dirty oil into our system and make almost all our products that much easier to access. Companies understand that using fossil fuels is damaging our environment, but “we must support ourselves and using Big Oil is just what our company does.” But isn’t that the same thing as providing something you know is bad because “its a part of my job”? Drug dealers don’t make you buy their product, but they are readily available when you need a fix.
As a part of my project, I would like to explore this metaphor in depth and come up with parallel examples of how the two are similar. I could put this into an art form using painting, sculpture, or a fictional short film.
Here is one example of a glass sculpture piece I would like to do.
The idea of this piece is the funnel-like quality for one thing to impact everything there after. This sculpture form could play with the idea of drugs by using objects associated (powder, oil, syringes, etc.)
I am also concidering a film that documents a drug dealer’s choices and decisions, and comparing that to a figure affiliated with Big Oil.
The USDA updated the Plant Hardiness Zone map in 2012 for the first time since 1990 because there had been such advancements in technology that the map became much more precise. The USDA will need to update again just half a decade later because of the ever changing climate and the impact it is having.
This shift is currently having a great impact on agriculture and water quality, but may also impact our societal norms by a shifting demography simultaneously. We are in uncharted waters and the future is an unknown. Unfortunately, at this point all one can do is hold on and hope for the best.
The thirst for meat is rising worldwide at a rate that is unsustainable under the current model for production. This TED Talk provides a possible solution to some major issues: desertification, an increased demand for meat and climate change on the whole. This is a radical idea, but it provides a paradigm for working with nature rather than leaving it to it’s own devices. We as humans are still animals and can provide an ecosystem service that can have benefits for all species living on this planet. We must come to terms with the reality that is before us, instead of fantasizing about an idealized outcome. Life is hard and it should be; one must struggle to ensure that progress is made. This talk may seem counter-intuitive to what most believe to be true, but if one were to look at how nature works at an optimum level, death and population correction is one of the most crucial parts of the equation. For an example, simply look at deer in Iowa, Kangaroo in Australia or what happened in Yellowstone after the wolves were eradicated. Without an apex predator, populations of some go out of control and destroy an even larger area than humans could. Finding a niche is the only way we can prosper and that niche is not from the outside looking in.
We must be participants in the ecological world using the most valuable tool nature gave us… our brain.
Dan Barber, a famous chef from New York City, talks about his profound experience of seeing the best foie gras in the world being cultivated by a rancher in Spain. This talk highlights the missing link between our food and our lives. Many people think that food comes from the store and heat comes from the furnace. As a former chef, I can attest that most do not know and do not want to know where the they eat comes from… especially fine dining. A process like gavage is a prime example of humans manipulating nature to attain a product that is made naturally if one has the patience.
Writing in the Conversation online magazine, Professor Mathew Nisbet from Northeastern examines the role of public health issues in making breakthroughs on climate change awareness and action, drawn from “a series of studies that I conducted with several colleagues in 2010 and 2011,” where Nisbet examined “how Americans respond to information about climate change when the issue is reframed as a public health problem.”
Here’s a clip:
“In comparison to messages that defined climate change in terms of either the environment or national security, talking about climate change as a public health problem generated greater feelings of hope among subjects. Research suggests that fostering a sense of hope, specifically a belief that actions to combat climate change will be successful, is likely to promote greater public involvement and participation on the issue.
Among subjects who tended to doubt or dismiss climate change as a problem, the public health focus also helped diffuse anger in reaction to information about the issue, creating the opportunity for opinion change.”
White House officials showcased a new study this week on the looming health impacts of climate change. In a line: Climate change poses a serious danger to public health – worse than polio in some respects – and will strike especially hard at pregnant women, children, low-income people and communities of color, an authoritative US government report warned on Monday.
Read the full story at the Guardian. Here’s a clip:
The report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, formally unveiled at the White House, warned of sweeping risks to public health from rising temperatures in the coming decades – with increased deaths and illnesses from heat stroke, respiratory failure and diseases such as West Nile virus.
My CNP project this semester centers around how the state of Iowa has been transformed to a monoculture of corn cropland from diverse prairie grasses. This transformation has implications rooted in climate change through the alteration of the land in three main ways: (1) changing from a robust prairie grass system capable of surviving climatic change to an “eggs in one basket” approach to monoculture corn, which is less resistant to stressors. (2) Iowa is America’s (and world’s) largest producer of corn as a result of our once fertile soil from the dense root systems provided through prairies that was ultimately tilled up with the advent of the steel plow to now grow corn for ethanol biofuels, which some argue is not the answer to thwart climate change. And (3) a large portion of Iowa’s corn goes to feed the animals we humans eat, which in turn supports the agriculture (meat and dairy) sector (perhaps the largest contributor to potent greenhouse gases known to cause our warming planet Earth). It can be argued that the state of Iowa is the most altered landscape in the US and I hope to build off that to draw conclusions about the future or Iowa’s lands and climate change. One of the ways I hope to inspire and encourage people to take action against habitat and ecosystem loss related to climate change is through connecting with Nature. It is my belief that people in tune with Nature will understand its importance to the success of our species and others in an age where Nature can be the engine to minimize climate change.
For my project I am interviewing four people from different backgrounds. I have already interviewed Julie Decker (Executive Director of Harvest Preserve) of Iowa City about the 100-acre plot of land her organization has set aside for anyone to use who is interested in connecting with Nature (albeit spiritually, emotionally, or physically). My write up will be coming soon. The next three folks I have scheduled interviews for are with Liz Maas (Board of Directors President of Bur Oak Land Trust) to discuss prairie grass and wetland restoration, Dick Sayles (President of the Quad City Audubon Society) to gain a perspective of how Iowa’s native species have been impacted (past, present, and future) by Iowa’s altered landscape, and lastly Jeffrey Landgren (UI graduate student) who is an avid outdoorsman to learn about Iowa’s Nature versus other states.
I will likely do a film for my project but unsure if it will be more of a picture film or a traditional documentary type film. I have also tossed around the idea of doing a fake radio broadcast, news story, or commercial.
It has been widely recognized that women are more susceptible than men to the ravages of climate change, particularly in developing countries. Around 70% of the world’s poor are women, many of whom who lead lifestyles in which they are heavily dependent on the land and thus extremely vulnerable to changes in weather patterns. Furthermore, existing gender inequalities impede the ability of these women to cope with changing weather and climate-related disasters.
The issues of climate change and gender equity are inextricably linked, and neither can be addressed without acknowledging the other. In many cultures, women are responsible for gathering water and fuel for the household. As climate change and unsustainable practice cause droughts and scarcities, women have to travel farther and spend more and more time to access these resources. This takes away from time women could be devoting to education or earning an income. Traditional roles often make women more vulnerable to disasters, either because of lack of education or because they are restricted from leaving the home without a male escort. Thus, they are more likely to be left behind in the event of a disaster such as a flood, and lack the resources to migrate. This is true even in the developed world; for example, single mothers in New Orleans suffered after Hurricane Katrina due to limited mobility. Women in the developed world are also more at risk of dying in heat waves than men, and women generally are more susceptible to the consequences of nutritional deficiencies that could result from climate change-related food shortages.
However, women do not only relate to climate change as mere victims. Women have the potential to be major agents of change for environmental sustainability. A recent study has shown that in developed nations, women are more likely than men to recognize that climate change is a threat and that responding to it requires major lifestyle changes, and not simply technological fixes. Since women are traditionally in charge of household consumer decisions, they have the power to choose more sustainable alternatives. On a larger scale, women make valuable contributions to climate negotiations and policy-making by taking into account the needs of disadvantaged groups and the natural environment. Women in leadership tend to be forward-thinking and less likely to take risks on short-term fixes. Recognizing this potential, the UN designated one day of COP21 to be “Gender Day,” to talk about these issues and to encourage the consideration of gender from the beginning when coming up with climate solutions.
A report by USAID accurately describes the relationship between women’s issues and climate change:
“Women must be part of the economic, social, and political transformations that come with a transition to a clean energy future, in order to participate as agents of change rather than merely recipients. . . . Women often possess special skills and experiences relevant to climate change, especially knowledge of local ecosystems, agriculture, and natural resources management. They hold great potential as entrepreneurs in clean technology and ecofriendly enterprises. Women are also disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of climate change and are often left out of technological development. Climate change interventions are unlikely to be successful without the support and involvement of women.”