Artists know climate change

The Alaska Dispatch News ran a survey this past winter to find out how Alaskans felt about climate change. Here is what they discovered: 24 percent of Alaskans worry “a great deal” about climate change, 26 percent worry “not at all” and the rest of the respondents fell almost equally into the “worry some” and “don’t worry much” camps. This timely poll helps inform Kachemak Bay Conservation Society’s Alaskans Know Climate Change education campaign.

If we Alaskans are to be successful in preventing the worst-case predictions about our warming state from coming true, we need to make the connection between the changes we are seeing to our climate and our role in causing those changes.

Through the ages, art has been the reflection, the mirror and the oracle of culture. The cultural rift in this country has become deep; and as this rift has carried us away from each other, climate change has become a political term, a culturally divisive term, a term of us vs. them.

But, to be clear, that is not what warming is. Warming is not us vs. them. Warming is warming. Art has the power and ability to poke holes through self-inflicted veils and let light shine through. Our goal should not be to win this culture “war” but rather to end it, by finding common ground in our mutual love of Alaska and concern for future generations. Art can be the seed for this mutual understanding.

The Artists Know Climate Change art contest has been a collaborative effort between Kachemak Bay Conservation Society (KBCS) and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve (KBRR). The two organizations came together last winter with the intention of fostering dialogue and inspiring positive action in regards to climate change in our community.

KBCS will be awarding $2,000 to seven artists, along with honorable mentions, a scientist’s, and a people’s choice award. The art will be on display at Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center during KBRR’s Climate Adaptation Conference – April 19-21. On Earth Day, April 22, KBCS will be hosting a celebration with three guest speakers, also at Islands and Ocean, and will award the prizes to the artists. The art will be on display at K-Bay Café for the month of May, with a First Friday on May 5. KBCS also plans to turn the top 12 submissions into a 2018 calendar.

KBCS owes a huge thank you to all the artists who participated and to all the volunteers who helped realize this unique contest.