“Are the Decisions of This Generation Honoring the Future of the Next?” BC Alumna Frances Dubrowski Raises the Big Questions About Climate Change

Artists Tackle Climate Change at BC Arts Fest 2014:

Honoring the Future: Artist Panel and Discussion

Thursday April 24, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Devlin Hall 101

Peter Handler (figure carving by Casey Gleason),  Arctic Ice Reliquary (2011) Turned Sitka spruce, anodized aluminum, painted basswood, glass. Dimensions: 18" D x 48" H. Courtesy of the artist.

Peter Handler (figure carving by Casey Gleason), Arctic Ice Reliquary (2011) Turned Sitka spruce, anodized aluminum, painted basswood, glass. Dimensions: 18″ D x 48″ H. Courtesy of the artist.

The ongoing conversation surrounding climate change is increasingly essential in the face of rising sea levels and extreme weather, fast becoming a global environmental issue. At this year’s Arts Festival, Boston College will contribute to that conversation through a special event designed to educate on climate change through art. Honoring the Future, a new non-profit project directed by BC alum Frances Dubrowski, ’70, will introduce festival-goers to prominent contemporary artists who produce art in response to climate change.

Boston College is an ideal place to stage this discussion, explains Dubrowski, due to the college’s “commitment to discernment.”  Occurring every year around Earth Week, the festival itself has a history of recognizing the relationship between arts and environmental responsibility; past events include photographer James Balog’s festival appearance in 2013 and the screening of award-winning eco-documentary Chasing Ice. At the Arts Council, we’re delighted to continue raising awareness of climate issues this year with a program that Dubrowski says will “examine the central questions each of us faces:…What can I contribute? How can I match my individual talents to the world’s needs?”

Soon we may all be forced to confront these questions as the stakes are rising with the sea; Dubrowski claims that numbers of the dislocated and homeless as a result of floods, wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters could reach the millions as entire nations, perhaps, destabilize, a scenario the American military is already preparing for. “The central issue — the one essential truth we must come to terms with — is that we have the power to craft a different future for us and for our children if we act now.”

In a bid to educate and empower the public on climate change, Honoring the Future aims at harnessing the ability of art to encourage reflection, engage the emotions, and foster creativity, as a means of inspiring Americans to “summon creativity and courage, individually and collectively, to respond to our climate challenge.” After their appearance at Arts Fest, Dubrowski and co. plan to take their “Climate SmART” lecture series across America and work with education institutions to develop curricula that introduce an art-based approach to climate science.

Mags Harries and Lajos Héder, Sunflowers – An Electric Garden (2009) 15 “sunflowers” along I-35 highway, Texas. Photovoltaic custom cells, steel, earth forming, planting.  Each approximately 18’-26’ high. Photo credit: David Newsom. Courtesy of the artists.

Mags Harries and Lajos Héder, Sunflowers – An Electric Garden (2009) 15 “sunflowers” along I-35 highway, Texas. Photovoltaic custom cells, steel, earth forming, planting. Each approximately 18’-26’ high. Photo credit: David Newsom. Courtesy of the artists.

The importance of education in schools is encapsulated in the project’s name: “Honoring the Future” serves as a reminder that the next generation — current students — will bear the consequences of the previous generation’s energy and lifestyle choices. “Each of us must begin to discern our individual contribution,” says Dubrowski, “and make choices that respect the birthright of tomorrow’s generations to a vibrant, healthy future.” The artists’ work encourages us to examine our own behavior, to ask ourselves whether  the decisions of this generation are honoring the future of the next. Once that question is asked in a way that is “thoughtful, creative, hopeful, and collaborative,” says Dubrowski, we will each be able to better understand how we, personally, can contribute to positive change.

The Arts Council are proud to support the aims of Honoring the Future by including the program in this year’s Arts Fest; the session will include images of climate-related work by four outstanding artists, and an opportunity for audience-panel interaction and discussion.  Join us Thursday, April 24 in Gasson 101, Boston College campus, and get involved in what might be this generation’s most important conversation.

Honoring the Future is sponsored by the Open Space Institute, Inc, as part of its Citizen Action Program. Open Space Institute is a leader in environmental conservation and has served as a fiscal sponsor to over 130 successful citizen action projects.

Frances Dubrowski, ’70, has spent over 35 years as an environmental lawyer, and has taught law and policy at both Georgetown University Law School and the University of Maryland, as well as to American and overseas government officials, bar associations, and community organizations.

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