Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 3:05 PM


KIRN, Marda, EcoArts Connections, PO Box 356, Boulder, CO 80306-0356,

Research demonstrates that facts and logic are not enough to persuade people to live more sustainably. Effective action requires a combination of cognition and affect (or intellect and emotions, facts and feelings) working together rather than separately or alone. Since prehistoric times, the arts have in­spired engagement, reflection, and discussion thanks to their affective pow­er to attract, involve, and mo­tivate people to do things they might not otherwise have the interest, energy, or courage to do. In their affective roles as agents of person­al and social change, the arts, informed by science, can introduce climate literacy in new ways and move people—emo­tionally and physically—to act. This presentation offers images and ideas showing how the arts have helped shift beliefs and behaviors, how opinions are formed, and why it is important to consider the arts as collaborators in making climate literacy more personal, visceral, and actionable. Examples will include arts/science collaborative community outreach activities targeted to informal education audiences such as Bus Birding; a web app called Raindrop; programs for Science on a Sphere® (SOS); an exhibit that included a waiting booth for vehicle emissions testing as one of its sites; and the middle school program Stories for a New Future, with activities that are sustainability-focused, science-informed, and arts-expressed. The session concludes with a video clip by performance artist Michelle Ellsworth and global change biologist Rob Guralnick on their collaboration: “Preparation for the Obsolescence of the Y Chromosome,” a lovingly outrageous, scientifically accurate, hilarious and hopeful piece that explores biodiversity loss and the shrinkage of the Y chromosome by asking “What will be missed if men are gone – and what not?” “How might biodiversity and sustainability of various kinds be affected?” and “How might we replace men with choreography, apparati, web technology, and a well-stocked ‘man archive’?”