In dandelions and fireflies, artists try to make sense of climate change

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Climate change is real, it’s accelerating and it’s terrifying. We are adding carbon to the atmosphere at a rate 100 times faster than any previous natural increases, such as those that occurred at the end of the last ice age.

The effects are easily made visible through dramatic images of rapidly shrinking glaciers or the Amazon rainforest on fire.

But pictures like these can distance us from environmental catastrophe, turning it into something spectacular, arresting – even paralyzing. They don’t communicate the everyday impact of climate change, which is also taking place in our own backyards.

In the book I’m currently writing, I’ve made these smaller, less obvious effects my focus. I explore the work of artists and poets who help us understand how the smallest changes to the environment can signal large-scale damage.

They build on a crucial legacy left by Victorian observers of the natural world who emphasized the need to pay careful attention to the tiny details of our surroundings.

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