Updates from the Last Chance to Paint team

Creatively Unlocking The Climate Crisis:

Could the arts be the key to educating children about the climate crisis and ultimately be the solution we’ve all been searching for?

There is no denying the widespread general awareness of the climate crisis the world is facing. Global warming has never been such a universally discussed topic, yet no one seems to know where or how to start addressing it. From David Attenborough to Greta Thunberg, Green Peace to Extinction rebellion, school strikes, documentaries, Earth Day, Veganism, tree planting and campaigns addressing plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, we have been exposed to it all. So why is the planet still getting warmer?

What is climate change?

In simple terms, climate change is the shift of global climate patterns caused by the effect humans have had on the planet. The consequence, global warming, has been generated by a significant upsurge in fossil fuel usage since the mid 20th century. Collectively we know and understand this to mean an increase in temperature to the earth's atmosphere, but what are the direct results of this?

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has outlined four main areas of concern:

1. Polar regions and Icecaps melting

In the last thirty years, areas as large as Norway have melted in the Arctic due to the rapid climb in temperatures. The immediate effect of icecaps melting is a surge in ocean temperatures, a rise in sea levels and a general acceleration of the climate change process. As Greenpeace succinctly puts it, “When the Arctic ice melts, the oceans around it absorb more sunlight and heat up, making the world warmer as a result.”

2. The rise in ocean temperatures

“Changes in ocean temperatures and currents brought about by climate change will lead to alterations in climate patterns around the world.” say the Environmental Protection Agency. This directly impacts the global weather patterns and causes sea levels to rise, endangering human life with a risk of severe tropical storms, and flooding. Oceans provide us with a natural carbon sink, however, elevated levels of dissolved carbon have caused a surge in acidity levels. This is causing coral reefs to die, resulting in a loss of habitat and lack of protein for many fish species, affecting the biodiversity and natural balance of the ocean's ecosystem.

3. Deforestation

“Forests are vitally important as they soak up carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming, and help regulate the world’s climate” explain the WWF, which is why it is so crucial that we protect them. Unsustainable industrial activities have led to half of global forest land being lost “setting us on a course for runaway global warming.”

4. Species being threatened by extinction

Above: John Dyer's painting of orangutans in Borneo that was completed during the second Last Chance to Paint expedition.

The effect of all other above issues, due to habitat loss and extreme weather patterns among other reasons, is animal extinction. Polar bears, Orangutans, Tigers, Asian Rhinos and African elephants, to name only a few, could all cease to exist within the next 30 years if we do not implement considerable change now.

“Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.” Leonardo DiCaprio 2019

Can children save the world?

Children are the key to the future. If we can advocate for a heightened awareness of actions that put the planet in signi