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Global warming and art: what a difference five years makes…

Five years ago, activist, writer and professor Bill McKibben published an essay at Grist calling for artists to step up and address one of the most pressing issues facing humanity: climate change (The Day After Tomorrow and State of Fear just weren’t doing it for him). We don’t know if artists responded directly to McKibben’s call; we do know that we’ve seen much more creative work on global warming since then. Visual artists, musicians, and filmmakers have all engaged the subject, creating some compelling, thoughtful work.

Last week, Grist commemorated McKibben’s essay by launching a series on artistic creation that addresses climate change. Beginning with a follow-up essay by McKibben, the series takes a look at both individual artists, and larger movements, focused on creative engagement with a changing climate. Among the features:

  • An audio slideshow with visual artist/photographer Chris Jordan discussing his project on our consumption of coal.
  • A worst-to-best list of songs inspired by the climate crisis (you can see the video for the best one above).

Lots of great work out there! Grist does an admirable job of illustrating the breadth and depth of artistic work on climate change. Still, there’s no way they’ve covered it all… so let us know about artists and projects you know of that are addressing this critical topic.