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Our world is becoming a warmer world. Global temperatures increased by 0.85ºC between 1880 and 2012, and are expected to continue to increase over the coming decades (IPCC, 2014). Temperature increases will be accompanied by changes in rainfall, sea level, and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, among other things. Climate change poses great risk to natural and social systems, and both people and other species are vulnerable. Dealing with it as a technical problem that can be addressed through greater knowledge, know-how, innovation and expertise, has not been able to lead to the substantial changes needed to address this challenge.

WHAT CAN ART DO ABOUT IT?

Art and creative practices have the potential to challenge current thinking on climate change presenting new ways of approaching complex problems. Artists are often at the forefront of innovation for the novel ways of addressing problems, free from disciplinary constraints. Art has the capacity to not only raise awareness but also to use creativity in addressing complex issues, support reflexivity and act as a conduit for cultural renewal. Creative ways of integrating the practical, personal and political dimensions of climate change may contribute to more successful adaptation.

 

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HOW CAN ART MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Transformations to sustainability involve changes in the practical, political and personal spheres (Image Three spheres of transformation). This means to address climate change as an adaptive challenge that is also linked to beliefs, values, worldviews and paradigms. Art can contribute to alternative perspectives on adaptation through eliciting values, beliefs and worldviews about climate change and challenging them. This can raise awareness and provoke community action.

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Image: The Three Spheres of Transformation (O’Brien, K. and Sygna, L., 2013; Sharma, 2009)

HOW DO WE CREATE IMPACT?

Based on the recognition that fundamental social change is needed to address the  climate challenge (Pelling, 2011), how can art challenge the root causes of climate change, the shared beliefs and worldviews that keep the system in place?

And how can art contribute to sustainable transformation triggering changes at the personal, cultural, institutional and systems levels?

LET´S FIND OUT