by Phoebe Shum
Getting people to do something about climate change can be a tough feat. Eleri Evans, PhD candidate at Swansea University UK, explores how a community arts program was designed with the hopes of involving more people in taking action against climate change in Wales (Evans 2014). She elaborates on theories of critical realism and how our actions are affected by the way we think. She introduces the theory of internal conversation and explains how people actively converse with themselves to define their values and actions. To demonstrate her point, she focuses on a particular community arts project organized by Awel Aman Tawe (AAT), a community wind farm project in Southern Wales. AAT, founded in 2000, is a renewable energy activist group that has faced both success and hostility from their community. Their aim in developing an arts program was to engage people on a deeper, personal level with climate change and initiate change-oriented intervention. The program features film, drama, poetry, and a project named “Postcards from the Future,” in which people submit original images of what a climate-changed world would look like. Competitions like their bilingual climate change poetry competition received over 700 received entries worldwide. The arts program was successful in providing the community with a platform to bring the community together and initiate change.
According to Evans, the majority of our population recognizes the emerging issue of climate change, but the issue still remains as a problem too distant from us. Media coverage on climate change is decreasing more and more. Climate change is becoming something we’re tired of hearing about––but its effects on our environment are intensifying day by day. Creative arts may not be a typical approach to promoting climate change activism, but they undoubtedly help push a larger circle of people to take action and generate productive conversation.
Evans, E. 2014. How Green is my Valley? The Art of Getting People in Wales to Care about Climate Change. Journal of Critical Realism, 304–325.
TWEET: Using #arts to promote #climatechange in Wales.