Using art to inspire action on the environment – new UN campaign

Using art to inspire action on the environment – new UN campaign

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Art can be a catalyst for environmental action – that’s the message today from a United Nations seminar and exhibit which are bringing together artists from around the world.

Mia Hanak, Founding Executive Director of the Natural World Museum, which is co-sponsoring the events in New York, said that, “art is a vehicle for environmental action and social change. Our collective goal is to ignite people’s passion for being a part of the global solution and together inspiring people to take bold actions in finding new ways to embrace sustainable lifestyles.”

The seminar and art exhibition are also sponsored by the UN’s Environment Programme (UNEP) and Department of Public Information (DPI), under the title, “art changing attitudes toward the environment.”

Seven artists from different regions of the world are exhibiting photographs focusing on the environment at UN Headquarters in New York until the end of May.

Indian-born photographer Subhankar Banerjee has photographed the Arctic region over the past eight years and said today that the area suffered from negative perceptions as a “hostile wasteland” and that its indigenous peoples had also suffered from intolerance. “I hope that my work would help unlearn many of these intolerances against a whole part of our planet and our indigenous friends who call this home,” he said.

The events are part of the “Unlearning Intolerance Seminar Series” which was initiated by the UN in 2004. Eric Falt, Director of Outreach with DPI, said that the aim was to “examine intolerance, as well as to explore ways to promote respect and understanding among peoples.”

“In previous years,” he said, “the series has focused on anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, genocide and the role of the media in promoting tolerance.”

Ms. Hanak said, “We are sending out a call to action through the arts to break down our barriers and activate environmental and social transformation. We can each do our part in turning the tide in public awareness - and just remember one person can make a difference and together we can create change.”