In the run-up to this exhibition we have been receiving clear signs that what were once considered rare, intense examples of environmental disaster are becoming the new normal. We are headed toward what scientists are describing as a Hothouse state characterised by melting ice, warming seas (which in turn means rising seas), shifting currents and dying forests. An important recent paper (published by PNAS in August 2018) reveals discoveries on how sensitive the planet is currently, and how this will develop as post-industrial average temperature increases: http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2018/08/07/1810141115.full.pdf. A useful analysis can be found in the below point number 1. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report Global Warming at 1.5°C (October 2018) is a document of significant value: https://ipcc.ch/report/sr15.
Our governments must come together to take action. The window in which we can take back (some) control is narrow: a few years at most. Already the EU has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. Grabbing hold of our rising temperature will ensure that sea rise slows in decades (or perhaps centuries) to come, but sadly we have already passed the turning point to stop this process. We must not let this situation deteriorate further.
As individuals, we can play a role: scientists say we all must make rapid changes to our lifestyles, in order to avoid severely damaging climate change. The IPCC says we need to: buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter; eat more locally sourced seasonal food and throw less of it away; drive electric cars but walk or cycle short distances; take trains and buses instead of planes; use video-conferencing instead of business travel; use a washing line instead of a tumble dryer; insulate homes; reduce electricity usage or switch to renewables, consume less generally…
For artists, this truly does come down to making conscious choices between using acrylic (plastic) paints or natural (handmade and completely lead free) oils; toxic resins or eco-resin alternatives; turpentine or zest-based cleaners; new papers or recycled papers… even one’s studio lighting should be considered. Every decision counts.
We must demand low carbon in every consumer product: from creation, to processing, to delivery. We must tackle our packaging (particularly plastic) over-use and demand that our local councils process our recycling responsibly. We must be vocal, too.
Though many of the below links come from US based sources, each has been useful as research into what is a global situation.