Inspired by Maya Lin’s powerful project What is Missing (about species extinction) and the upcoming People’s Climate March I decided to begin this quick portrait project while so many people from around the world are gathered in NYC for the March. I asked people I met on the street or at climate events to finish the phrase… “Don’t let climate change take away….” Some people responded right away. Others wanted some time to think about their answers. Miriam and her three sons (from Kuwait) were my first participants. They had just attended a presentation I gave as part of the Climate Convergence conference. Surrounded by her sons, she knew immediately her greatest concern.
With this audience-engagment project, I am making climate change more personal by asking people to consider the things they cherish that may disappear if climate change continues unabated. Almost everyone I’ve approached has agreed to participate. Only a few people said “I don’t think I have been affected yet.” I am hoping this week’s events will help them realize that what is happening in the Arctic and elsewhere is already affecting them.
I will be adding more portraits as the project progresses. See the Climate Portraits tab above for more images. If you want to be included in this project – just show up for my Witness Tree performance in Tompkins Square Park on 9/28 from 1 – 4pm.