The Art Of Saving A Planet

A Season For Change

Renee Chavez
6 min read
Not Without A Fight
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How is it that preserving the only known planet that can sustain human life is still considered “controversial?” Whether you’ve seen the tragically low water levels at Elephant Butte or follow National Geographic on Instagram and see the images of polar bears dying as a result of melting sea ice, you can’t deny that climate change is real. If you persist in thinking it’s all a hoax (or even if you don’t) well, perhaps you should turn off Fox News and get out into your community for HABITAT: Exploring Climate Change Through the Arts. The season long public arts collaboration is seeking to create a dialogue about climate change, whether through film, photographs, music or poems. The following are just a few of the stellar events in the HABITAT lineup.

The Potential Project

Thursday, Sept. 10, at 5:30pm

UNM Keller Hall Center for the Arts

Free for all ages

If international activism is your cup of tea, show up for keynote presentation “The Potential Project” with special guest artist Mel Chin. He discusses his vision for an independent future for the nomadic people of Western Sahara—a future where they have designed their own currency and built an economy on their greatest (and perhaps only) resource: solar power. According to Chin, “This project focuses on economic and technological innovation as ways to bring about a new form of independence—for all.” Whether you think this sounds like a great idea for that dystopian sci-fi novel you’re writing or like the solution to real problems across the world, you’re bound to learn something new at this event.

Downtown Block Party

Saturday, Sept. 12, from 4-8pm

Central between Fifth and Sixth Street

Free for all ages

What better way to get people involved than to throw a party? The Downtown Block Party is an artsy education celebration that will include interactive art projects, performances, demos, live music, food and edifying fun for
todo la familia. Exhibitions will address subjects such as alternative energy, land and water use, food issues and local environment monitoring with a focus on positive solutions and opening the dialogue for the climate change conversation. Make sure to check out feature projects like “GhostFood” (which will let visitors smell food that is not available due to loss of biodiversity), “Little Sun Pop-Up Shop” (a social business and global project addressing the need for light in a sustainable way that benefits communities) and “Energy Illuminations” (a collection of lamps made with bioluminescent materials that are activated when energy-related keywords appear on Twitter and Google.) Also get your Gaia groove on to the sound of change with reggae, Latin, world and rock tuneage produced by DJ Gabriel Jaureguiberry, Racine Kreyole and Jade Masque. The physical festivities extend down Central from Fifth Street to Sixth Street but the ideas have the potential to spread across the world.

Knew Normal/Off The Charts

GhostFood “GhostFood” by Miriam Simun.
Aug. 29 through Oct. 31, Nov. 21 through Jan. 9, 2016

516 Arts (516 Central SW)

Free for all ages

As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words” so what better way to join in the dialogue than to hop over to 516 Arts (516 Central SW) to view gallery exhibits that are tackling environmental controversy head-on. “Knew Normal” is a collection from multiple artists that explores the way climate change affects both our exterior surroundings and interior environments—our bodies and psyches. Also showing is “Off the Charts,” a local, national and international collection that examines the visual language artists use to portray our evolving world. Both shows end on Oct. 31 to make way for “Bewilderness” and “Rise.” The former explores the extremes of pristine wilderness and human control/exploitation while the latter looks back at navigational profiling for answers on how we will navigate the changes occurring in our world on a physical level.

Chasing Ice

Friday, Sept. 18, at 8pm

Harry E. Kinney Civic Plaza in Downtown ABQ

Free for all ages

Trying to plan a romantic date night? What could be sexier than caring about the Earth? Grab bae (and Fido too) for a large, free, outdoor screening of Jeff Orlowski’s award-winning
Chasing Ice (2012) at Civic Plaza. The film centers on environmental photographer James Balog who heads to the Arctic on assignment for National Geographic to get undeniable evidence of climate change. Using “revolutionary time-lapse cameras … [he] capture[s] a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.” Balog artfully captures the frighteningly quick melting of entire icy landscapes that have withstood the test of time until now. Bring the whole family for something that will nourish the brain more than the latest superhero action flick.


Open your eyes and your mind to get a glimpse of what the future might hold. For the full schedule of HABITAT events which continue into January 2016, go to

In the words of our President, “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last to be able to do anything about it,” so get on out there and let your voice be part of the conversation that will shape the future of humankind.
Cruel-Apparition, Lemmings and exhibition 2


“GhostFood” by Miriam Simun.

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