This series of artwork is a part of the Austin EcoNetwork’s latest news project, “Big Picture, Local Lens: Examining Climate Change in Austin.” Big, weighty, international issues like climate change are not often investigated on the local level. But that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with the “Big Picture, Local Lens” project. It might seem counterintuitive, but climate change is a fundamentally local issue. That’s why we’re exploring how it affects us all right here in Austin, utilizing podcasts, photography, and art to tell the story in a more creative and resonant way.
Climate change is no longer just an issue for the textbooks. It’s here, it’s happening now, and it’s affecting real human lives. It has made its way into our minds and into our culture. That’s why we’re inviting local artists to help us tell the story. AEN Intern Amanda Madrigal painted our latest series, “The Art of Action on Climate,” in an effort to the tell the story of climate action, both globally and right here in Austin.
So please, take the time to sit back and to take in everything that the images are saying to you. Use this time to think and to explore new ideas. After all, that’s what art is supposed to do, right?
“Urgency” by Amanda Madrigal
The world is currently at a make-or-break moment when it comes to climate change. As President Obama says, it is not yet too late to make a change and to stave off some of the worst effects of climate change, but it’s getting close. As this picture illustrates, Texas in particular, has no time to waste. The recent report, “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States,” predicts that Galveston could see up to a two foot rise in sea level and that Texas could see a $650-million-per-year increase in storm-related losses. The study also anticipates that the number of extremely hot days per year in Texas – with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees – could more than double, from an average of 35 to 108 by the end of the century. As the study point out, these kinds of severe consequences can only be avoided with immediate action.
“From Kyoto to Paris” by Amanda Madrigal
The kind of action that is needed to stave off the worst effects of climate change is global. That’s why the international community has been meeting for years in an attempt to hash out a global deal on climate change. For years, this effort failed, until finally at the UN Climate Conference in Paris in 2015 things changed. For the first time, nearly all of the world’s countries pledged to reduce emissions and to join in on the global effort against climate change. It was an historic breakthrough and hopefully marks a turning point in worldwide climate change action.
This image pages homage to this historic moment by revealing all of the places where previous UN Climate Conferences failed, all leading to success in Paris.
“From Paris to Austin” by Amanda Madrigal
Now that a global deal has been reached, it is up to each individual country to carry through on its promise to reduce emissions. That’s where Austin comes in. As Mayor Steve Adler is always saying, “big cities do big things,” and it will be up to America’s cities to lead the way on climate action. Austin has already embraced this leadership role, enacting a Community Climate Plan and pledging to eliminate all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.
This image illustrates the importance of taking that global climate agreement and making it local. From Paris to Austin, it is now up to all of us to make sure that real change occurs.