Kate Parker writes in the TES about how primary schools have worked with the Eden Project on an art project to bring climate change to life. This is how the article begins:
The art project opening pupils’ eyes to climate change
“Climate change can be a difficult concept for primary pupils to grasp – but one art project is offering a unique insight. Our younger generation are bombarded by climate change, by disaster news, and, yes, it’s all true. I think we’re in danger of our children growing up panic-stricken, or it’s going to be a bit like when you’re exposed to too many horror stories, they don’t scare you any more,” says John Dyer.
Dyer, a Cornish painter and the Eden Project’s artist in residence, believes that young people need to be educated about climate change. But he’s not a fan of scare tactics. Instead, he says that children need to form a real connection to the natural world, and through this connection decide that they want to be part of the solution.
The key to developing this connection? Art, says Dyer. Or more specifically, creativity.
He says that if children take the time to paint, draw or creatively interpret something in the natural world, they create space in which they can be themselves, in which they can reflect, question, and understand it visually – even take the time to learn more about it, scientifically or biologically – and by the end of that process, they’re connected to it.
The dangers of climate change
Take the northern white rhino: there are just two of them left in the world. Dyer believes that if children are given the time to learn about them, to see them in their natural habitat, to understand why they face extinction and what can be done to prevent it – and then encouraged them to draw or paint one based on all that knowledge – they become invested, they start to care.
This is the premise behind his newest project for schools: Last Chance to Paint. On Wednesday, he will be filming and producing artwork from the Yawanawá tribe in the Amazon. He’s there for a week, and every day will be posting a video for schools around the world to watch for free. It’s a window into a world that’s completely beyond the norm for British children – and Dyer is hoping that by allowing schools to submit the questions they want to ask the tribe members, and then answering them on the next day’s video, it will provide that in-depth connection to them. And then, as a result, students will be eager to find out what they can do to ensure that these beautiful pockets of the world are protected. …”
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