SENIOR THESIS ART EXHIBITION
What if art could communicate science in ways that data alone can’t? Could visualizing statistics allow us to relate to information in new ways? Could art become an educational tool and inspire us to act? These questions swirled through my mind as I tried to figure out how to make art – something that I’ve done since I could first hold a pencil, about the environment – a topic I’ve studied for the past four years as a dual Environmental Studies and Studio Art major. I decided to illustrate some effects of climate change on Oneida County to show how the Hamilton community will be impacted. In addition to increased flooding, more crop vulnerability, extreme heat events, and warmer temperatures, we will also likely see shorter winters with less snow, and increased spread of disease. These illustrations on Lyme disease, biodiversity and dairy production highlight some less-known regional climate crisis impacts. While there are intentionally no people illustrated, these drawings address threats to human health, food and job security and changes to our ecosystem. I want to acknowledge that I am approaching this topic through the lens of a white woman attending Hamilton College, and that those most impacted by the climate crisis will be low income and communities of color. Climate change is happening here and it’s happening quickly. We need to halve our emissions by 2030 if we are going to avoid the worst impacts and stay below a global warming of 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. It’s not too late to act. According to Christiana Figueres, the leader of the 2015 Paris Agreement, “This is the decade and we are the generation.”
I would like to thank the Steven Daniel Smallen Memorial Fund for Student Creativity and the Art Department Fund for Seniors for their wonderful generosity and support. I would also like to thank Professor Strong for sharing his wealth of knowledge about the climate crisis to enhance this project. Lastly, this would not have been possible without the Art department and their incredible dedication to each student.