By: Paul Ellis
In his first week, President Biden’s climate executive order declared 40 percent of benefits from federal climate investments should go to historically disadvantaged communities. 60 years ago, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, widely credited as launching the modern U.S. environmentalist movement. What media beyond books could encourage action now? The added involvement of young people like Greta Thunberg, and Mari Copeny of Flint, Michigan crusading against environmental injustice and for climate action makes the environmental movement more intersectional and intergenerational. Creators like Gen-Z for Change educate and organize their generation on TikTok. If the common thread across the generations is that everyone can localize the cause to their own life, geography, or preferred media, then we are lucky to be alive with the most creative tools to localize climate change in writing, audio, print, photo, and video of anyone ever. The IPCC has focused on national, state, and local climate assessments to localize the effects in scientific data and economic impacts. Isn’t this moment in history an opportunity to imagine not the wasteland of inaction, but the modern, efficient, and equitable world we are on the verge of? In 2022, don’t we have a public highly receptive to valuing wild spaces and variety (after spending more time than usual over recent years secluded or engrossed in the routine of work)? Like a modern Works Progress Administration, visual artists and renaissance environmentalists have a crucial role to play to show where the opportunities of climate change lie, not only the consequences. Let’s act like the most vulnerable communities depend on it.