by Amy Durland

Art meets climate change

Sustainable Saratoga had a recent opportunity to connect with the arts. The Nacre Dance Group/Empire State Dance Youth Ensemble, directed by Beth Fecteau, invited Sustainable Saratoga to a recent youth dance performance at Universal Preservation Hall. The program included the premiere of a climate-change-themed performance, choreographed by Em Wein, and drawing on powerful words by Greta Thunberg from her TED talk. Because of the climate theme, I participated for Sustainable Saratoga in a pre-performance discussion. The dance performances were incredible and moving.

Laura Faulk, Sustainable Saratoga’s Climate & Energy Committee Chair, invited Eve Morgenstern to be a guest speaker at a recent Committee meeting. Eve is the Director of Soon is Now, an annual festival of climate and eco-themed art and live performance in Beacon, NY. Soon is Now includes original works of art, dance, poetry and music, and readings of plays from the Climate Change Theatre Action collection. A recipient of numerous artist grants for her work, Eve also has released an environmental film, Cheshire, Ohio, An American Coal Story in 3 Acts. She co-chairs a downstate Climate Realty Project chapter.

The value of the arts for sustainability advocacy

This experience inspired me to collect some thoughts about the value of the arts in our sustainability and environmental work. It occurred to me that, because art fundamentally informs us about ourselves, art can be a more direct way for us to understand and convey our message and for people to hear it. Sometimes our advocacy messages address difficult issues – and people don’t always feel inspired toward positive action. Art can be a more relatable way to reach people. It relies less on didactic communication and more on the experiential medium of art. We can walk out of an art exhibit or a concert or a theater performance feeling more informed and inspired, without the heavy burden of having been lectured at. Art is about reaching people in ways that resonate.

We would love to hear your ideas about arts-focused environmental or sustainability advocacy. Please reach out to us at and let us know your thoughts.