“Modern individuals do not see the Earth as a source of spiritual renewal, but as a stockpile of raw materials to be exploited and consumed.” -Gablik
As humans we are emotional beings. For people to take action about something, they must care and feel it emotionally. This is how art can make a social and environmental difference in the world. By exposing issues, facts, and concerns about our current human condition of consumerism without regards for its damage to the environment through art that is emotive, visceral, and communicative, a greater change can be made by individuals because they are able to connect with this issue through their hearts and souls.
In the article The Ecological Imperative, Gablik gives examples of different artists who use their work to highlight these environmental issues. The photographer David Hanson reveals aerial images of missile and hazardous-waste sites nestled within agricultural landscapes and the wilderness, exposing this unseen truth and fosters people to ask questions about these images and sites.
The artist Othello Anderson paints landscapes havoc by acid rain as a away to bring attention to this environmental issue of devastation. He writes, “Recognizing this crisis, as an artist I can no longer consider making art that is void [of] moral consciousness, art that carries no responsibility, art without spiritual content…”
And Lynne Hull, and artist who creates earth works that provide aid to birds for nesting and collecting water in dry habitats.
I find these artists inspiring as they dedicate their life and their artwork to something beyond themselves and into the realm of exposure and service for the environment. For more people to take action for sustainability people need to feel the reason why and art can help this process move forward.
On another note, I agree that we are at a crucial time in the world to keep the green earth fit for human life. However, I do believe that the Earth is not in danger of losing life (unless we blow her up with nuclear weapons). I believe the Earth will survive, but the human race may not.
Gablik, S. (1992) The Ecological Imperative. Art Journal, 51 (2), p. 49-51