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Our current exhibition The Tip of the Iceberg visualises issues related to global climate change, featuring work by artists from across BC. We’ve invited three artists: David Ellingsen, Jordan Schwab and Desirée Patterson to share resources that they find inspiring as they create artwork addressing climate change and its impacts. We invite you to click through to learn more!

1. Mission Blue
This first resource instigated my journey on the path of environmental awareness, which soon permeated every facet of my life and inspires my art practice. While watching Mission Blue (a documentary by marine biologist and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle), I realized the dire state of the world’s oceans and I could no longer continue living a lifestyle that contributed to this degradation. Blue Living Guide helped me transition to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

2. Edward Burtynsky
As I learned more about our current environmental crisis, I developed a yearning to make artworks which addressed these concerns; however, I was terrified to tackle this subject matter. Serendipitously, Edward Burtynsky’s,  A Terrible Beauty, was shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2014. I was astounded by this exhibition (and by Burtynsky’s compelling work). A short time after, I gave myself permission to explore environmental themes in my art practice.

3. Films
As I created artwork depicting environmental narratives, my thirst for knowledge increased substantially. Films have always captivated me, and I feel like they’ve inspired me the most. A few of my all-time favourites are: Blue the Film, The Minimalists: Less is Now,Chasing Ice, and Plastic Paradise.

4. Climate Reality Project
It was after watching An Inconvenient Sequel, that I found my call to action as an activist. Through this documentary I learned about the Climate Reality Project, an organization dedicated to giving people the tools, know-how, and network to take on and win climate and justice battles. I  received training through the organization in 2018. For anyone interested in joining this community of climate leaders, training is now being offered virtually and there is one up-coming for Earth Day 2021, on April 22nd.

5. Cristina Mittermeier 
Lastly, a renowned British Columbia based photographer that is doing incredible work to raise awareness for our oceans and biodiversity loss is Cristina Mittermeier. I find her work incredibly inspiring and I have followed her organization SEA LEGACY for years now.

Here is an additional list of organizations that are doing exceptional work and offer excellent resources:

Climate Convergence
Sea Smart
Dogwood BC
West Coast Environmental Law
Suzuki Foundation
Blue Dot Movement
5 Minute Beach Clean Up
Sum Of US
Georgia Straight Alliance
Care to Action
The Ocean Clean Up

I also have a blog where I share resources and information. I have been on a blogging hiatus for the past while, but I hope to get back into my environmental blogging soon.

1. Article – The Globe and Mail
I came across this article when I was trying to figure out a way to translate an invisible presence (carbon gas) into a physical, sculptural representation. It is not long, almost a throw away article for the day, but the numbers stuck with me, and I used them to calculate measurements for a variety of projects.
2. My Own Eyes
My second resource, and maybe my most important, have been my own eyes. I have spent time in Jasper National Park almost every year of my life, usually around the townsite, or heading east towards Edmonton. It had been almost 30 years since I drove south through the Icefields, having fond memories of stopping to see the glaciers. Driving that way over the past few years, I was shocked to see where the glaciers were, my brain having trouble correlating my memory with the drastic change laid before me.
Icefields pullout March 2020. Photo by Jordan Schwab
3. Mountain Legacy Project
If you would like to see changes in glaciers for yourself, but do not have access to a time machine, check out Mountain Legacy Project. This was started by researchers at the University of Victoria, the site includes hundreds of time-lapse photos from Rocky Mountain National Parks over the last hundred years, as well as articles and academic papers discussing the rapid change in the landscape.
4. The Second Body by Daisy Hildyard
My last resources are two books I read in the past few years. Although neither is specifically about climate change, in The Second Body by Daisy Hildyard, through nearly poetic scientific research, she investigates how humans exist not only as individuals, but as a species that must coexist with other living things and the environment. 
5. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller
Finally, in Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller, our planet is presented as a huge spaceship that we are riding through this vast universe, and as the drivers, humans must take care of this ship, or risk destroying the only ride we have. 
Portrait by Stasia Garraway
1. The Guardian / Environment
A constant flow of the latest environmental news from around the globe filtered through The Guardian’s unmatched independent journalism and commitment to telling the truth about the crisis. My top source for new project ideas, research leads and staying current.
2. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Keeping up with the deluge of new climate records being set, the NOAA is the “confirmation of data” source for my Weather Patterns project, now in its tenth year. The sheer volume of new high temperature recordings in the unending, upward trajectory of the planet’s climate makes for a rather bracing read. A wealth of information.
3. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Kimmerer deftly examines the tools of science and the gifts of the natural world through the wisdom of indigenous culture. This book not only offers a urgently needed path towards the healing of human relationship with nature, but also between settler and indigenous cultures. Everyone needs to read this one.
4. Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte
A wealth of inspiration from the foremost authority on the communication of information through visual design. Time is quickly running out to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis making it a critical time for artists to not only question the intellectual aspects of this existential crisis, but the emotional and spiritual. We need to help get everyone on board.
A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
From the CBC Massey Lecture Series, this book concisely reveals how our “modern predicament is as old as civilization”. Across the span of the last 10,000 years of human history Wright illuminates our repeating cycles of extraction, destruction and domination, now on a scale at odds with the continuation of life itself.
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