What changes need to be made to society to improve our response to climate change?
First of all, I think we need to take it seriously. We all know it’s real, the facts speak for themselves. But as long as we don’t actually feel or see the consequences we won’t act. Especially “us” - speaking about European countries, we will feel the change when others are already suffering. Big companies and industries are very good at manipulating us, greenwashing, and telling us about how sustainable they are, when in fact we still damage the planet by consuming their products. Even if we will still live in a world that is ok to live in, our children might not be able to. That’s what we have to keep in mind. So I guess changing starts with yourself, even in the tiniest things, in the smallest approaches. We don’t need 100 people living perfectly sustainable lives, we need thousands to do it imperfectly, to start somewhere.
You are completely right that we need to take climate change more seriously. Politicians and CEOs of large corporations continue to evade responsibility, pushing it onto the people. We have to realise climate change will affect all of our lives. Whilst the degree of severity depends on where we are in the world, we still have a collective responsibility to prioritise our earth. So many people believe it is all or nothing and fail to realise that if they made small changes to their lifestyles the collective benefits would make a great difference.
How do you think art can help educate people on social and environmental issues?
People are very sensitive to critique. I mean I personally also notice that - we don’t like to be confronted with our guilt. It’s easier to look away, and we can still do that until it actually affects us. So I guess it’s clear we have to face social and environmental issues but the tone is important, how we say something, how we approach people. It’s not about proselytizing but inspiring. For example: Don’t say “stop eating meat” but say “Have you tried this plant-based meat? It tastes amazing!” - and that is also where art comes in. Art doesn’t necessarily point fingers, it speaks in a softer way. Plus, I think problems are more accessible when they are illustrated in form of installations, photos, videos, paintings, or any other form of artwork.
It is no secret that people love to ignore the fact that they have a responsibility to improve the state of our earth. If we were more open to constructive criticism, more of us would be able to change our lifestyles in easy ways for the better. Art appeals to open-minded people. Let’s try and open our minds to the hidden messages in different art that gently influence how we live our lives.