As I was walking through the University of California, Irvine (UCI) campus in November of 2014, a glimmer of sweat dripped down my arm. It was 85ºF that day. As an Oregonian, used to cold, crisp November days, this seemed outrageous. In that moment, I realized California was in the midst of a severe drought and I knew that there was a way I could help.
I began studying climate change, how it is communicated, and how artists have created work that engages viewers on the topic. In February of 2015, I was granted the Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) Communications and Student Engagement Fellowship at UCI. Through this fellowship, I discovered many tools used to communicate climate change, and how important it is to make information understandable and easily accessible to the public. There have been many disputes over climate change, but the science is real, and it is the reality that we and future generations must tackle. It is our duty to keep conversations going, and to take action on the issues affecting the future of the Earth. As a CNI Fellow, I organized and co-produced the Inaugural UCI Earth Week Artists Showcase. This event included painters, photographers, poets, musicians, and dancers who were all dedicated to creating work regarding our environment. In July of 2015, I presented a poster illustrating my work as a CNI Fellow at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) in San Francisco. That summer I also began working for Know Tomorrow, an organization that coordinated a national day of climate action that took place on campuses across the country. I organized and produced another, larger artists showcase, which included an art gallery, performances, students sustainability organizations, and speeches by distinguished artists and scientists. The event was beautiful, and immensely empowering.
In Fall of 2015, I choreographed a work, Ma Terre, which reflected the relationship between large corporations and the natural world. This work premiered at UCI's graduate student choreographic showcase, New Slate, and it paved the way for my thesis work. Using Dance to Communicate Issues of Climate Change, my M.F.A. thesis research, examines the choreographic methods of several renowned dance artists who have created works regarding social issues. By examining their methodologies, researching the science behind climate change, deepening my understanding of climate communication, and using my own creative intuition, I developed a screendance, Notre Terre, and a live performance, Carbon Footprint: Watch Your Step. These works portray human interactions and relations with the natural world; how we manipulate nature, how we are in awe of nature, and how we are a part of nature. How we must make changes toward a sustainable future! If you are interested in viewing my thesis work in full, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are an artist, scientist, or someone who is passionate about the Earth, please feel free to contact me. I am interested in hearing your thoughts, and discussing ideas for future collaborations and projects to reach new audiences. It's crucial that we continue to communicate the issues of climate change. Let's keep the conversation going!