The Scientific Activist

Some of the more insidious factors enabling the constant and dangerous advance of global warming are a lack of public awareness or acceptance and the feeling that it’s not a problem relevant to my everyday life. One potentially effective way of tackling these particular issues, then, could be through art: specifically through large in-your-face, impossible-to-ignore, publicly-visible art projects designed to bring the issue to the forefront of the mind of the incidental viewer.

This is precisely the aim of the debut project of the Precipice Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about global warming and environmental issues through public art. The project, entitled “Indestructible Language”, is the latest creation of artist Mary Ellen Carroll, and, as you might be able to tell, it could make quite an impression:


On the windows of the highly-visible former American Can factory buildings in Jersey City, New Jersey, is spelled out, in eight-foot high bright red letters, the phrase “IT IS GREEN THINKS NATURE EVEN IN THE DARK.” Now, I’ll admit that this is a little artsy and obscure for the writer of this blog, but it’s hard to deny that it’s a bold statement:

Mary Ellen Carroll’s artwork explores language as a loop, a reiterative device that highlights the issues. “IT IS”: the issue is of extreme relevance; the hazards of greenhouse gas emissions are proven scientific fact. “GREEN”: colloquially connotes money, greenhouse gas, and environmental issues. “THINKS”: human capability to engage in cognitive acts. “NATURE” echoes “GREEN” and an arena extending beyond the individual. “EVEN”: this is a non-partisan issue. “IN THE DARK”: it will only be illuminated at night and the choice to not engage in the issue is a choice to remain in the dark.

Just as importantly, the work puts its money where its mouth is, so to speak. It is “carbon neutral” in that it uses energy-efficient low-wattage lighting and is powered by a combination of solar panels and energy offset by green tags from Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

The work has been exhibited since November 2006 and will remain up through April 2007. For more information, check out the website, or contact Jen Barton, a publicist for the project.

Clearly, what is most needed right now in the fight against global warming (especially here in the U.S.) is a little bit of political will. With that said, though, certainly “Indestructible Language” is an innovative new way of addressing this issue, and one can only imagine what kind of an impact such projects could have, especially if carried out on a large scale.


  1. #1 berb
    January 23, 2007

    yawn… more fear mongering

  2. #2 Geordie
    January 29, 2007

    What is needed right now in the AGW dilema is more openess and honesty from climate scientists. The most recent and blatent attempt to hide the real science from people by the IPCC is to release the policy summery report on Feb. 2 for politicians and three months later relase the actual report and science backing the report. They claim: so that the report can match the summery!
    People are sceptical because of the secrecy and varience of data we see. Honestly, most claims for AGW come from computer scientists many of whom won’t make the data they use easily available to auditors.
    In fact just calling it Global Warming like you did is one of the many inconsistencies that we see. It is very important to use the word anthropogenic (human caused). Otherwise you are automatically assuming 100% certainty that it is caused by humans.

    When I found out about the release date differences of the summery coming three months before the report I was really wary about why a commity in such high scientific regard would choose to do something so illogical and unscientific.

  3. #3 john starr
    February 5, 2007

    the issue is with global warming should be prevention is better than a cure ,their is suficient evidence to warrant immediate action as james lovelock states the earth is a living enity, he called it giar :and we are part of the biological development that has evolved from bacteria over millions of years ,we are victims of our own success and we will be forced to adapt that means for evil to suceed good people do nothing,otherwords get of your arses and be activist or go down the tube ?

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