Art Changes Hearts

Feb 23, 2022

It’s been a minute – first I experienced a touch of end-of-the-year exhaustion and then a lovely rest with my girl Lilly visiting (yay for snow in Seattle she got to stay four more days!), and then Bob and I took a trip to run and hike in Big Bend National Park. Glorious.

I tell you this not because you missed me (but thanks if you did) but because being a climate activist (and yes you are one!) is a long game. This means there may be days or weeks when you don’t do much. That’s normal!

And yes, it is important you see yourself as a climate activist because like any other identity – writer, mom, chocolate lover, breakdancer – it will lead you to take action more consistently than if you believe you don’t know enough or have no right to speak up.

YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT. Every citizen on earth does! 

A big thing happened in December in the climate world — the release of Don’t Look Up. It quickly became the #1 movie on Netflix in America. Don’t Look Up is a satire about climate change that never mentions it and whether you liked it or hated it or skipped it or got sick of the chatter about it, doesn’t matter. 

What matters is the movie got people talking. Thinking. Wanting to do something.

That’s your job and mine: to get and keep people talking and thinking.

To do that, remember you can’t insist that what you do changes the world or is even well-received or understood.

Instead, focus on asking yourself:

  • What climate action fits my life this week?
  • What would be fun? (Yes, it’s good to have fun; not everything you do will be fun but some of your activism must be or you will stop.)
  • If I can’t do much, what’s the simplest thing I could do? (Calling a political rep and speaking up is always a good choice.)

And here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

Make public art

Whale sculptures made from plastic waste that was recovered from the ocean are on display at the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. | Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI/AP

Most of us can’t make big sculptures like this one but what if you made a “climate wish tree” in your front yard with a plastic box of tags, a pen, and a small sign saying, “Add a wish for our earth or name a change you’d like to see.” Be sure and write a few tags and hang them on the tree to get people started.

Share info in a fun way

Share the informative and easy to use climate action website that the creators of Don’t Look Up made via a personal email to friends or even snail mail. You could make a piece of mail art or digital art or write a short poem to get them interested in participating.

Website is

Create a “fix-it” network

Create a “fix it” network with neighbors, friends and family – share skills for fixing and repairing stuff. Maybe your Aunt Barb is great at repairing toasters or your next-door neighbor is a whiz at composting. Wouldn’t it be awesome to organize everybody in a Google doc so people could reach out for help?


Listen to the 1 million women strong anthem and sing along.

Join up

Join a climate group so you feel less alone locally.

Write or tell Climate Stories 

Read this brilliant interview and discuss with artist and writer friends how to tell new stories. Here’s a quote to whet your interest, “If we start thinking about climate change as a systemic thing like the same way that we talk about racism or sexism or homophobia or any of these other big bads then I think the path to creating good art about it becomes a lot clearer. Because you just talk about it the way that you talk about it in any of these other ways or any of the ways that it shows up in your life.” Mary Annaïse Heglar

Plan a Climate Sensitive Trip 

How we travel (trains and cars and feet over airplanes) and where can be a form of climate activism. Check out this story and when you plan your next trip, share how you are adapting your plans around minimizing your carbon footprint and tourist impact.

Thank you for being a climate activist! You are awesome!

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