January 17, 2020

Is how we feel about climate breakdown and mass extinctions, more important than what we know, when it comes to saving ourselves?

Maggie Kellie

Oil on canvasCommercial Harvest Orange and Commercial Harvest Green, 201940 cms x 70 cms

The scientific evidence is clear, without radical change we are on course for further catastrophic climate breakdown and mass extinctions. Yet despite understanding this, many people fail to take the action needed to avert this disaster. Why is this? Having worked for many years campaigning for ecological justice this question is also critical to me, personally, as an artist/activist. It has become evident that understanding this crisis from an intellectual point of view is not enough. If we are to take action, we need to be emotionally engaged as well. These two paintings were inspired by the devastation of a much loved landscape on the Isle of Bute. They explore climate breakdown from two perspectives: one from a carefully considered, intellectual understanding and the other from an emotional, visceral understanding. If this description about why we act, or fail to, is correct, artists as well as scientists will play a critical role in bringing about the necessary political, economic and cultural changes. This work is my contribution to that debate. I hope it will provide the impetus for more people to emotionally engage with climate breakdown and mass extinctions and inspire them to take action.