In its 2014 Climate Change Synthesis Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) stated that, “Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”
While we all would like to just, get on with life as usual, the reality is, we cannot afford to; not if we want to preserve the integrity of Earth’s natural systems, and all the biotic and abiotic components within them.
Preserving the incredible diversity of life on this planet, and protecting Earth’s invaluable ecosystem services requires, as leading scientists and Deep Ecologists have described, “a departure from life as usual.”
I enjoy art, science, nature, and the pursuit of a simple life.
In college, I studied geospatial science, which, to put it simply, is the science of collecting and analyzing spatial data. Examples of spatial data include, satellite images of glaciers, and records of temperature and precipitation for a given area.
While my education is in science, my passion lies in combining science and art to raise awareness for pressing environmental issues. I leverage a variety of art forms, including drawing and painting, graphic and web design, and cartography (map making), to call attention to pressing environmental issues and the importance of protecting the natural world.
I believe we can achieve a sustainable existence; that there can be a balance between what we take, and what we preserve. And I have no doubt that we can vastly improve our quality of life, as we redefine our social and economic ideologies.
To illustrate the magnificence of the natural world and the richness of a life immersed sustainably within it.
There is overwhelming evidence in support of the fact that the human condition deteriorates the further one ventures away from nature. The ailments to the human condition, brought on by urbanization and modernization, are well researched, numerous, and often catastrophic to human well-being.
Western society is apt to address problems with band-aid solutions; there is often big money in doing so. We are reactive, rather than proactive, or perhaps more importantly, preventative. I hear the question, why are there so many mental and physical health issues in modern western society? I believe the answer is simple. First, we are genetically (how we came to be via evolution) not designed to live in the material kingdom, and secondly, we cannot evolve quickly enough to keep pace with the rapid environmental changes that characterize modern western society. I strongly believe that many of our mental and physical afflictions arise from a departure from the natural world that we evolved to exist within. Keep in mind that modern society, on an evolutionary timescale, is a very new environment. Indeed, there are still many indigenous populations living within the natural world from which modern society emerged. These populations, when devoid of western contact or influence, do not suffer from many of the mental and physical ailments of their “modernized” counterparts.
I want to show the importance of returning to nature; thus, the importance of protecting the entirety of the natural world. I believe that immersion of the human mind, body, and soul into “wild” places is crucial for enhancing the quality of our lives.
In speaking of achieving a way of life, on a global scale, that is in harmony with the natural world, the renowned Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess wrote, “There will be a profound awareness of the difference between bigness and greatness.” I think of these words often because they describe an ideological shift in the way humans view the world around them. This shift is feasible, and will promote a sustainable human existence, while vastly improving human quality of life.
What are bigness and greatness?
Bigness is a big home. Greatness is a home filled with love and laughter.
Bigness is an enormous television. Greatness is the joy of watching your children play.
Bigness is a luxury apartment overlooking central park. Greatness is a walk in the park and being able to truly appreciate the trees, the flowers, the birds, and bees.
We are all susceptible to the pursuit of “big.” We give into temptation. Myself included. But if we strive to discover great, we will find it, and when we do, we will see that “big” just isn’t all that big after all.
The rediscovery of “great” is one of the most effective ways of reducing human consumption and improving quality of life.
I want my art to help the modern world rediscover “great,” and I believe that reconnecting with nature is a big part of this.
If you would like to read more about my views on the importance of the connection between human health and the natural world, please see my post Nature and Humans.
If you would like to read about my own journey in finding “great”, please see my post Love and Sustainability.
Ushering in a new era of enhanced environmental awareness. The 19th and 20th Centuries were a period of radical technological progress; the age of innovation. I believe that the 21st Century is the age of realization; a period in which we will come to see the true consequences of much of our sensational progress. This is not to say that we are doomed, but that the coming decades will be a period of extraordinary learning and growth. We will come to see what works, and what doesn’t, and new policies will pave the way to a sustainable existence.