Climate art: let’s get it right – An exhibit of words on paper by UVA’s @writeclimate

Department News

Since February, @writeclimate engaged over 1200 members of the UVA community in a conversation on climate change. On pieces of paper, they all wrote a piece of our shared climate story— the history of climate science and policy, why we care about climate change, and what we are doing about it. From the paper, students have created art. The show opens at the amphitheater on April 16th at noon. April 17th-23rd you can visit the show in Clark Hall.

@Writeclimate asks participants to hand-write a piece of our shared climate story. The act of writing tends to focus the mind and promote a sense of commitment to the words being placed on paper. The students have been out around grounds, rain or shine, talking to those who stopped by about our shared climate story—the science, the policy—and also about why they are concerned about climate change and what they are doing about it. @Writeclimate students also talked with friends, roommates, teammates, and classmates. Look for the table where you, too, can ‘write climate for the right climate’ when you visit the exhibit.

The story begins with pivotal moments in climate science—starting with the first inkling of the greenhouse effect, hypothesized by a French physicist in 1824. By 1900, we knew how CO2 and fossil fuels affect temperature. Some of the people encountered across grounds wrote pieces of
that history. Others wrote the second part of our climate story: what the United States has done to promote a healthy atmosphere and a stable climate. In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was established by a republican president; another republican president joined the first climate agreement in 1992. And in 2015, a democratic president took us into the Paris Agreement. Many participants wrote the policy story. But most people opted for the third part of our shared climate story: they wrote their own words about why they care about climate change and what they are doing about it.

Visit the show “Climate art: let’s get it right” during Earthweek. See the words, and hear the voices, of your community. They are speaking out—with dead seriousness, anxiety, sadness, outrage, humor and cheer—for a better climate future. The students of @writeclimate have transformed those voices, the words on paper, into works of art. Come look. See our climate story unfold in art.

The project is being supported by the Department of Environmental Sciences, the UVA Committee on Sustainability, and the Jefferson Trust. For more information, contact Professor Deborah Lawrence, dl3c@virginia.edu. Read more in the Cavalier Daily, and check out a time lapse of the collage construction on Twitter.