Paint it bleak

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I paint about what life will be like when climate change gets worse¦

That’s just what I do. That’s my message to the world.

Those words were written by a young man whose exhibition of paintings is currently showing at a gallery in my home city Hamilton. I was impressed by both the paintings and the brief words which accompanied them and thought them well worth sharing with Hot Topic readers.

Yaniv Janson is only 18 but his painting has already received considerable recognition. Born with Asperger’s syndrome he has certainly found communication through his art. And he makes it very clear that he wants it to serve a social purpose. His website carries the heading Raising Awareness About Climate Change Through Art.

The exhibition presently on view is titled Visualising Climate Change: How long til the water rises? He provides a short statement of what he has attempted in his paintings.

“Scientists write papers and show graphs about climate change but the truth is that most people in the world are not brave enough to face it, or they think the problems are too big for them to deal with and it is easier just to forget about it and enjoy life with no worries.”

He writes of what climate change is doing:

“…making it worse for people to live on Earth, houses are lonely in the wind, oceans will rise and take people’s houses away, some plants will not survive the changes in their environment.

“I think about these things and read about them in books. I paint pictures of what it will look like if we don’t stop climate change.”

One of the paintings is titled People Yelling Out for Help.

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Here is what he says about it on his blog:

“… I offer a different contribution: I feel there is already a lot of information out there, but it has failed to result in significant action. I want to create an emotional response with images of the future. What will happen when the sea level rises? Houses and land will disappear under water for ever!… I especially drew a thin line for the earth on this painting – to show how fragile this balance is.”

Another picture is titled One Minute Before The Tsunami.

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In his words:

“…shows a very peaceful landscape with calm atmosphere, with dolphins jumping in the water and beautiful gardens with great views. The people don’t know that the tsunami is coming but we know how much destruction could result.

“Water is an important element for life and the problem with changes in the climate is that no one can predict what will happen to this resource, and what even a few degrees change will create. Rising sea levels and possible tide changes can create havoc in our environment.”

Not sophisticated expressions of the science perhaps, but he goes to the heart of the matter.

There will be some who consider that it’s unwise for an artist to commit to a cause in this way and who look askance at the notion of a conscious “message” conveyed by paintings. But Yaniv isn’t deterred.  His forthcoming book is titled Changing the World One Painting at a Time and it’s dedicated to raising awareness about climate change. (It will be shortly be available through Amazon, where an earlier book is listed.) It includes a teacher resource appendix compiled by Yaniv’s mother Annick Janson, an educational psychologist and researcher, directed to teachers wanting to teach sustainability/climate change through art.

Incidentally Yaniv isn’t the first member of the Janson family to be mentioned on Hot Topic. His soil scientist father Robin featured in a previous post on carbon farming.

In my visit to the exhibition I was cheered by the awareness of the young artist and his determination to speak of it through his paintings. It was a relief from the daily dismay I feel at the relative ignorance and indifference of many in older generations towards the seriousness of the gathering threat.

28 thoughts on “Paint it bleak”

  1. “Scientists write papers and show graphs about climate change but the truth is that most people in the world are not brave enough to face it, or they think the problems are too big for them to deal with and it is easier just to forget about it and enjoy life with no worries.”

    He is spot on. Thank you for this item, Bryan.

  2. Most people do not have a clue what it is all about and just accept what their favourite politician tells them. They begin to get a clue when hit in the hip pocket. ETS touches on the hip pocket nerve!

    1. “Most people do not have a clue what it is all about and just accept what their favourite politician tells them.” – R Dewhurst.

      C’mon Roger, no need for self projection. I find it illuminating that an 18 year old with no formal scientific training knows more about climate change than you. Granted he has the advantage of not suffering from age related dementia.

  3. Well done, Roger, the ETS is indeed meant to provide a market signal to steer people and industries away from using high-carbon products.

    Too little, too late for my taste, but hopefully better than nothing.

    1. Perhaps you would like to explain why the oil companies have a vested interest in denying AGW? They do not. They have hedged there bets as did the oil company that funded UEA!

      1. Maybe it’s because as we reached and passed peak oil production they expected to command higher and higher prices for their products. If we are developing and using alternative energy sources so demand for oil diminishes they lose that market advantage and do not make the kinds of profits they were hoping for.

        Of course, the oil companies are free to invest in other kinds of power generation. Investment in climate change research is prudent from a public relations angle and for diversification of production – for instance see BP rebranding itself as ‘Beyond Petroleum’.

          1. Ok John

            lets say it is 150 million barrels at Cladhan and 80 at Blakeny. That’s 230 million barrels (say 250million). Since the world currently consumes more than 80 million barrels per day those big finds have given us a whole 3 days supply.

            I’ll now stop worrying about the peak until thursday.

            1. AndrewH –
              Top marks for knowing the names of the fields!

              Are these the only two new oil fields in the world?

          2. A report in the Guardian Weekly earlier this year from an industry spokesperson said that we have probably passed peak oil … I could probably find the date of the article if you are interested. But I meant my tense to be future not past, sorry.

        1. I see that BP now means Beyond Petroleum rather than British Petroleum. Perhaps they should be calling it BW (Beyond Wind).

          If you want to believe the Russians oil is abiogenic and it is unlimited.
          Those who have their knickers in a twist about Peak Oil should least Google ‘abiotic oil’ and read the claims of the Russians. Lots of peer reviewed stuff, in Russian of course, for those who will not believe that anything else can be science. On second thoughts asking you all to accept abiotic oil amounts to asking you to believe that the next glaciation starts tomorrow.

          1. A very good friend of mine is an exploration geologist with a good track record. His view of abiogenic oil is not printable in a family medium. I suppose, Roger, that you find it easy to believe in two impossible things before breakfast…

            1. I said nothing about believing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do not know any geologist who believes nit either. But I am quite interested to know why the Russians/Ukranians believe in it, if indeed they do. I am quite interested in knowing why some people believe in the Loch Ness Monster, Yetis, Bigfoot, aliens at Roswell, flying saucers and AGW too.

            2. You have to hand to Russians/Ukrainians for trying in proving this but I dont think you find too many left still pushing this particular dead horse. The evidence against it being the origin of oil or any significant amount of gas is overwhelming – or more the point, the biotic model has massive independent lines of evidence backing it. Supporters of abiogenesis are now basically wishful thinkers, dreaming of unlimited oil – actually like AGW skeptics who also seem incapable of separating wishful thinking from evidence.

            3. I have to agree with Gareth here. Abiotic Oil has no physical basis.

              Maybe we will be proved wrong, who knows?

            4. It does not fit with what I have seen myself. However the general loopiness and the peer review might appeal some of the followers here though its effect on Peak Oil will be quite the opposite. I wondered how they would deal with that conundrum.

  4. Funny how we got from art to the usual Big Oil conspiracy theories in only a few comments.

    Dappledwater – what makes you think that this 18 year old “understands” climate better than Roger. Is it perchance that he is singing from the state-approved hymnbook?

    I actually think this comment from the young man sums it up:

    no one can predict what will happen to this resource,

    which is precisely what a lot of the more “honest” climate scientists are saying. (The number of “honest” scientists is also a rapidly diminishing resource)

    I look forward to a barrage of ad homs and thumbs down.

    Have a nice day.

    1. “Dappledwater – what makes you think that this 18 year old “understands” climate better than Roger.”

      Bryan’s article above. Rising sea level ring any bells?. Roger’s “understanding” is a hodge podge of self contradictory claims, totally at odds with science & what is being observed in the real world.

    1. Oh not paranoid charlie.
      Just amused by the 2 peas in the pod and I was merely wondering if they were related in some way.
      Now you on the other hand, couldn’t possibly be related since even Roger makes sense once and a while….

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