Category Archives: science

Artists + Scientists on Climate

Reposted from Third Coast Disrupted

CS Note: See various online events below exhibit information and general description. Past events are recorded and available for viewing.


Third Coast Disrupted: 

Artists + Scientists on Climate

September 8 – October 30, 2020

Glass Curtain Gallery – Columbia College Chicago

1104 S. Wabash Ave., 1st Floor, Chicago

Gallery Hours: Mon–Fri, 9 am – 5 pm

Gallery capacity is 10 visitors. Masks are required.

An exhibition of newly commissioned artworks culminating a yearlong conversation between artists and scientists centered on climate change impacts and solutions in the Chicago region.

Through science-inspired sculpture, painting, collage and more, the artworks examine local impacts — happening here and now — ranging from extreme heat to flooding to habitat loss, and more. They also shine light on local solutions underway, like “cool roofs,” nature-based approaches to slowing stormwater, and backyard habitat restoration. Some imagine future possibilities.   

Third Coast Disrupted is based on the notion that art can connect and engage with people on an emotional level. It can pique curiosity, be unexpected, tactile, interactive, evocative, and memorable. It can slow people down, inspire them to reflect, move them to talk to each other — and spur them to act. 

Meet the curatorial team.

Meet the artists and scientists.

This program is partially supported by grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation, with additional support from Keith Giles and Christine Skolnik; OpenlandsThe Nature Conservancy; Clare Butterfield and Edward Maldonado; Patrick and Laura Clark; Debra Shore; Greenleaf Advisors, LLC; The Fogelson Family Foundation; and the Keller Science Action Center, Field Museum. 

It was created through a collaboration between Columbia College ChicagoDePaul University’s Institute for Nature and Culture, and Terracom.

Third Coast Disrupted is part of Chicago Water Week.


Katharine Hayhoe: Connecting Global Change to Local Impacts & Solutions

Wed., September 16th, 7 – 8 pm CDT

Free – Online. Register here.

Climate change isn’t just a problem for polar bears or future generations any more — it’s affecting us here and now in the Chicago area. Temperatures are rising, rainfall patterns are shifting, and extreme precipitation and heat events are becoming more frequent. 

The choices we make today will profoundly impact our future: the faster we cut our carbon emissions, the less adaptation will be needed, and the more suffering we can avert. 

In such a politically charged environment, are we still able to act on climate? Join climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe as she untangles the complex science connecting our choices to future impacts and highlights actions underway today to combat this critical issue.


The Art of Communicating Climate: 

A Conversation

Thurs., September 17, 8 – 9 am CDT

Free – Online. Register here.

Sponsored by Openlands.

If we want action on climate change, we need to talk about it. We need the issue to be in the public eye. But how? The topic can be overwhelming and contentious. What strategies work? What role does data play? What is the range of engagement tools? What does success look like? Join two climate scientists using different yet complementary approaches to engagement.

Katharine Hayhoe, 

Climate Scientist, Texas Tech University

Mika Tosca,

Climate Scientist, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Christine Esposito,

Project Director & Lead Curator, Third Coast Disrupted, and Founder, Terracom – Moderator


Water, Water Everywhere: 

First-Person Flooding, Impact & Action

Thurs., October 1, 6:30–7:30 pm CDT

Free – Online Register here.

More frequent intense rainstorms and flooding are among the devastating and costly impacts of the Chicago region’s changing climate. Like other effects, they hit communities of color hardest. Learn of the health concerns, from a personal and public health perspective, and hear about the local public-private partnerships and government efforts that provide relief and increase resilience.

Elena Grossman, 

Program Director, BRACE-Illinois, 

and Third Coast Disrupted scientist

N. Masani Landfair, 

Third Coast Disrupted Artist

Daniella Pereira,

Vice President of Community Conservation, Openlands

Debra Shore, 

Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This program is part of Chicago Water Week.


Avian Effects: 

Climate Change and Birds

Thurs., October 8, 6:30–7:30 pm CDT

Free – Online. Register here.

Climate change gets migratory birds coming and going, literally. Millions of them travel through the Chicago area each spring and fall to and from their breeding grounds. Changes due to climate change here and elsewhere impact their breeding success and very survival. A host of local efforts that are improving conditions for birds in the face of climate change. Learn how you can help and have fun in the process.  

Forrest Cortes,

Director of Community Engagement, 

The Nature Conservancy in Illinois 

Peggy Macnamara,


Field Museum and School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Doug Stotz,

Senior Conservation Ecologist, 

Keller Science Action Center, Field Museum


Getting Around Carbon: 

New Looks at Transportation Options

Thurs., October 22, 6:30–7:30 pm CDT

Free – Online. Register here.

Sponsored by the Illinois Science & Energy 

Innovation Foundation.

Just 415 carbon dioxide molecules per one million air molecules are driving global warming, impacting our health and safety. In Illinois, vehicular exhaust is the single-biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions. Learn about new research into the effects of a greater shift toward electric vehicles in the Chicago area and about local climate-friendly transportation initiatives. Gain a perspective on the outsized role of carbon dioxide in our changing climate by hearing about new artwork visualizing this invisible threat in our air.

Melody Geraci,

Deputy Executive Director, Active Transportation Alliance

Daniel Horton,

Lead Researcher, Climate Change Research Group, Northwestern University, 

and Third Coast Disrupted scientist

Andrew S. Yang,

Associate Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Third Coast Disrupted artist


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Filed under Art, Chicago, Climate Change, science

1978 Exxon Memo on Greenhouse Effect

Continue Reading here.

Learn more about at the long history of oil-industry disinformation at Drilled:

“Drilled is one of the few narrative podcasts about climate change. In 2018 when journalist Amy Westervelt was covering multiple climate lawsuits, she had the idea to put the story of climate change, and climate denial, into a true-crime framework. Season 1 (November 2018) focused on the climate research conducted by oil companies and when and how they shifted from studying the problem to denying it. Season 2 (April 2019) followed a community of crab fishermen as they became the first industry to sue Big Oil. Season 3 (January 2020) chronicles the 100-year history of fossil fuel P.R. campaigns and ties them to the propaganda we still see today. At least four more seasons are planned for 2020 and 2021. What began as a limited-run 8-part series has become the most-listened to podcast on climate change and, as of January 21, 2020, a multi-platform climate accountability reporting project that keeps industry honest on climate via investigative reporting across web, newsletters, and podcasts. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!”

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Filed under Climate Change, Environment, oil industry, science

Permafrost collapse is accelerating carbon release

The sudden collapse of thawing soils in the Arctic might double the warming from greenhouse gases released from tundra, warn Merritt R. Turetsky and colleagues.

A researcher in Fairbanks, Alaska, studies a site at which methane is collecting beneath the ice.Credit: Josh Haner/NYT/Redux/eyevine

PDF version

Published in Nature, “Comment,” 30 April 2019

This much is clear: the Arctic is warming fast, and frozen soils are starting to thaw, often for the first time in thousands of years. But how this happens is as murky as the mud that oozes from permafrost when ice melts. 

As the temperature of the ground rises above freezing, microorganisms break down organic matter in the soil. Greenhouse gases — including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — are released into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. Soils in the permafrost region hold twice as much carbon as the atmosphere does — almost 1,600 billion tonnes1.

What fraction of that will decompose? Will it be released suddenly, or seep out slowly? We need to find out. 

Current models of greenhouse-gas release and climate assume that permafrost thaws gradually from the surface downwards. Deeper layers of organic matter are exposed over decades or even centuries, and some models are beginning to track these slow changes.

But models are ignoring an even more troubling problem. Frozen soil doesn’t just lock up carbon — it physically holds the landscape together. Across the Arctic and Boreal regions, permafrost is collapsing suddenly as pockets of ice within it melt. Instead of a few centimetres of soil thawing each year, several metres of soil can become destabilized within days or weeks. The land can sink and be inundated by swelling lakes and wetlands.

Abrupt thawing of permafrost is dramatic to watch. Returning to field sites in Alaska, for example, we often find that lands that were forested a year ago are now covered with lakes2. Rivers that once ran clear are thick with sediment. Hillsides can liquefy, sometimes taking sensitive scientific equipment with them. 

This type of thawing is a serious problem for communities living around the Arctic (see ‘Arctic permafrost’). Roads buckle, houses become unstable. Access to traditional foods is changing, because it is becoming dangerous to travel across the land to hunt. Families cannot reach lines of game traps that have supported them for generations.

Continue reading here.

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Filed under Ecology, Environment, science

Call for Papers: SLSA 2017, Out of Time

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Conference


SLSA 2017: Out of Time
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona
November 9 – 12, 2017

SLSA text

Call for Papers here:
Deadline: May 15th, 2017.


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Filed under Art, Literature, science