There is no subject more important than the global climate crisis. And so, Wales Arts Review is proud to announce the launch of our new Environment Section with this introduction from our new Environment Editor, Holly McElroy.
Globally 2020 has already been one of the most challenging years to date. From the Australian bushfires, to the highest ever recorded temperature in the Arctic Circle and findings that one million species are on the brink of extinction, it is becoming harder and harder to deny the effects of climate change. This is a particularly sobering thought as we imminently struggle under COVID-19, with pandemics only expected to become more frequent and severe in the coming years as a result of the loss of biodiversity, overpopulation and our ever globalising world.
And so, at Wales Arts Review we are passionate about playing a role in increasing awareness of such issues and doing what we can to support research and work aimed at improving our environment. It is this desire that has borne the Environment Section.
The ambition of the Wales Arts Review Environment Section is to give a focus to the challenges facing the future of the planet brought about by the climate crisis. We want to do our part to inspire change, reaffirm our relationship with the natural world and provide an avenue for promoting new research. Central to our goal is to bridge the gap between the sciences and the arts and provide a space where both can be integrated under one aim: to create interesting, well-communicated articles with a sound science basis.
As a platform for the arts, we have been complicit in allowing the disconnect between arts and sciences to continue to thrive through the media as well as wider society. This is unsustainable, as if we are to create a healthier, thriving planet we will all need to come together under a multidisciplinary, effective approach. By bringing a new and dynamic discipline to the portfolio of Wales Arts Review, it is hoped that such articles can be introduced to an entirely new audience. Furthermore, artists and scientists alike can learn from each other and inspire this generation and those after it to act for the sake of the planet.
The Environment Section will take the form of articles about environmental issues, interviews with researchers, reviews of books/TV/film/theatre about the natural world as well as visual arts and creative writing with an environmental approach or basis. And so, we would love to hear from you. Whether you’re a scientist looking to promote some new research, an artist inspired by the natural world or from any walk of life with a message you wish to share, the Environment Section is here to provide that platform.
We know that there is still so much to be done, and wider, more systematic action will be required if we are to see a more environmentally sustainable planet. However, at Wales Arts Review we believe that inspiration and education is fundamental to this goal, and if we can provide this for our readers it is a step in the right direction and could be the key to unlocking the changes our planet so desperately needs.
Here is a taste of what’s to come this opening weekend from the Environment Section:
To kick things off, on Friday Gary Raymond interviews Professor Adeline Johns-Putra, one of the world’s leading researchers into the relationship between literature and the environment to discuss her latest book Climate Change and the Contemporary Novel. We will also have an essay from talented writer and friend of Wales Arts Review, Grug Muse, about a recent whale watching trip in Cape Cod Bay, detailing humanity’s fascination and mistreatment of this endangered ocean species.
On Saturday, Stephen Reed discusses the controversy surrounding Micheal Moore’s Planet of the Humans documentary released in 2019, and assesses how current environmental movements’ are reacting to criticism. Then, in an exploration of Uncanny Environments, Liam Bell will discuss the effects of climate change in rendering familiar environments as unrecognisable and the consequences this can have on humanity’s psychological wellbeing and sense of place.
Finally on Sunday, Wales Arts Review is proud to have unique access to Sea of Artifacts, a photography exhibition created by Mandy Barker that is currently touring as part of the Fotografiska Museum and seeks to raise awareness of marine plastic pollution. As well as this, Martha O’Brien will be taking a deep dive to EcoMusicology to shed light on the contradictions between messages of environmental consciousness in modern music and the medium of capitalist structures through which it is released.
We hope you enjoy all the Environment Section has to offer. You can now support the work Wales Arts Review does via our Patreon page. We believe vibrant and intelligent discussion about art and culture and climate change should be available to everyone regardless of their economic situation. Although we recognise privilege inherent in global cyber-connectivity, Wales Arts Review is committed to doing what we can, and providing free high-quality content to anyone in the world who is able to access the internet. Your support via Patreon will help us continue to do that.
Holly McElroy is an Environmental Sciences graduate from Cardiff University and the Environment Editor at Wales Arts Review.