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Addressing Climate Change Through Art

The Tempestry Project, an ongoing project that presents climate change data in visual form via knitted or crocheted artwork.

Art has been a way for humans to express their emotions, share their history, and views through expression for hundreds of years. Art can be used to also express concern, political views, and even environmental issues. That is the power of art, it can transform topics, ideas, beliefs into a visual format that humans can better understand and relate to.

Take for example climate change. Artists are using a variety of mediums to showcase to others how climate change is impacting the world we live in. Artists have created projects that are based in paint, music, fabric, video, and even games to explain to a wider audience how climate change is impacting our lives on a variety of scales.

Climate Change Through Music

Sometimes sounds, rhythm, and lyrics can transport us to another place when we listen. Sometimes, it can help us better understand how the Earth is becoming warmer. Daniel Crawford, a student at the University of Minnesota, composed the song, called  “A Song of Our Warming Planet” to communicate the rise of temperature on Earth since the 1880s. The initial idea was presented to Crawford as a challenge to transform data into music after a conversation with geography professor Scott St. George.

“Data visualizations are effective for some people, but they aren’t the best way to reach everyone,” says St. George. “Instead of giving people something to look at, Dan’s performance gives them something they can feel.”

The composition is based on temperature data from NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. “The temperatures were mapped over a range of three octaves, with the coldest year on record (–0.47 °C in 1909) set to the lowest note on the cello (open C). Each ascending halftone is equal to roughly 0.03°C of planetary warming. As well, each note represents a year, ordered from 1880 to 2012. The pitch reflects the average temperature of the planet relative to the 1951–80 base line. Low notes represent cool years, while high notes represent  warm ones.”


Climate Change Through Games

Games are a fun way to spend time, be creative, and play with friends. They can also be used for educational purposes, like educating people on ways to fight climate change. Climate Quest is a game that you can play to try and address climate change disasters in the United States. You are given forecasts of climate disruptions across the US and you need to pick one of your heroes, 4 scientists (the urban planner, the ecologist, the agricultural scientist, or the climate scientist), to save the day! In the game each forecast is based on real impacts selected from the US National Climate Assessment.

If you have access to a computer try playing the game today and see if you can get a top score and stop some of the impacts of climate change!

Play Here


Let’s try it out! 

If you had to explain climate change to someone with art, how would you do it? Would you make a game? Draw a picture? Maybe write a song? Brainstorm what you would do and try it out! If you are having a hard time starting your idea (maybe its making a game) draw your idea out first.


Let us know your climate change art piece by tagging iamtheCODE on social media using the hashtag #SDG4