Ice cave in Antarctica, now melted away. [Photos © Gary Braasch / Earth Under Fire]
As world leaders prepare for the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in early December, AAAS will open a new exhibit with striking photos of climate change around the world. A companion display shows what some school children are doing to address the issue.
Twenty-one large-scale photographs of climate change effects will be on display from Wednesday 18 November until Monday 15 March at the AAAS Gallery in Washington, D.C. The gallery is free and open to the public.
The photos are from the book “Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World,” by environmental photojournalist Gary Braasch. The photos illustrate the effects rapid climate change has had around the world. In one photo from Alaska, an eroding cliff causes a seaside dwelling to tumble into the Bering Sea. In another photo, warming temperatures cause mountain wildflowers to grow higher and higher in the Alps.
Other photographs in the exhibit show people who already are feeling the effects of a warming atmosphere—dozens of Bangladeshi villagers clustered on a tiny, muddy island in the delta of the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers, for example, or three girls who are playing soccer on a dried-up rice field in a rural town north of Hong Kong.
The exhibit is part of the AAAS Art of Science and Technology Program, established in 1985 to showcase art about science, art by scientists, or art that employs a new or original technology or technique.
“AAAS is pleased to sponsor this exhibit, because it truly meets our goals of serving and engaging society of all ages in one of the most critical science issues today,” said Virginia Stern, director of the Art of Science and Technology program.
A few of the photographs depict solutions to climate change, including solar panels and windmills. The exhibit is “designed to move us from the science to the solutions,” Braasch said. The photos illustrate climate change effects that have been documented by scientists, he said.
“Even though the news is not good and people are already being affected, there are also many people who are taking action in their communities,” said Braasch, whose “Earth Under Fire”  book was recognized by former Vice President Al Gore as “essential reading for every citizen.”
A concurrent AAAS exhibit will include videos and photos of children—mainly from middle schools—doing projects that reduce carbon footprints. In one project, children in Santa Monica, Calif. sought and received a ban on plastic bags in their community. And in another project, kids got their school district to ban unnecessary idling by school buses.
The videos and photos are from “Young Voices on Climate Change,” a video project by author Lynne Cherry. “This exhibit shows scientists doing their science and then kids replicating science,” said Cherry, author of 30 children’s books on science and nature. “It’s a strong citizen science exhibit,” she said.
Also on display will be images from the book “How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate ,” co-written by Braasch and Cherry. The award-winning book shows what kids can do to help counteract climate change.
“We’re trying to engage adults, citizens and politicians as well as families and kids with this combination exhibit,” said Braasch, who has visited 22 countries as he documents world-wide climate change.
There will be a public opening of the exhibit on 18 November, 5 p.m.—7 p.m. at the AAAS Gallery, 12th and H Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20005.
For more information, contact AAAS exhibit curator Shirley Koller .