By Allison Crimmins, Director, National Climate Assessment
I was once asked at a climate change conference what we need to “save the world.” I’m sure the questioner was expecting a technical or perhaps policy-related answer. But my response was: “More artists.”
I have seen a painting introduce a complex scientific idea to friends who are not scientists; watched an intriguing drawing spark a young person’s curiosity in how things work. I have noticed how a well-designed graphic persists in presentations and media long after a paper or report is published. And I know that a photograph can invoke empathy, can stir us to support one another and seek solutions.
Both art and science have long endeavored to document the present and illuminate possibilities for the future. Right now, as Americans across the country are facing the threats and impacts of climate change, we need the kind of fresh vision that art can inspire.
Art has the power to show us how climate change is threatening the people and places we love, our livelihoods and pastimes, and how we think of home and community. And importantly, art has the power to motivate action, to spur creative responses to new and growing risks.
To harness this power of art and advance the national conversation around climate change, the fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) has announced a call for art. For the first time, the NCA5 invites artists to creatively visualize climate change in the United States: its causes, impacts, and the strength of our collective response.
Selected art submissions will be featured in NCA5, which will be used by hundreds of thousands of people across the country and around the world. We’re looking for visual art that aligns with the chapters and themes of NCA5. The goal is to depict climate change in ways that resonate with readers, connecting climate science with the lived experiences of the American people.
Two concurrent calls for art, one for adults and one for youth (age 13-17), will be open through January 27, 2023, to align with an upcoming public comment period on the draft report. More information about this call for art and the public comment period can be found at globalchange.gov/nca5.
It is our hope that this call for art highlights new perspectives and broadens the growing community of people working towards climate solutions. We are optimistic about the possibility of artists contributing innovative force toward the growing inter-disciplinary effort to “save the world” from the risks of climate change. We can’t wait to see what you create.