Using Art to Teach Environmental Responsibility
In this activity, students will use art to consider the effects of industrial culture on the environment and envision how to create a more positive and sustainable future. The students will create art works based on images of environmental damage. The student will create a "before" image and an "after" image. The students will use these images to address the social and economic basis for environmental harms, as well as how to reclaim damaged areas and live in a more ecologically sustainable manner.
Engages students in civil discourse/ communications that lead to more effective decisions
Advances students' literacy around sustainability issues
Promote creative visioning around sustainable futures
Encourage self-reflection and personal development of their "voice" for solving societal challenges
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
Present the class with a photograph of a location that has suffered environmental/ecological damage.
Have the students create a work of art (e.g. painting, drawing, collage) that shows the location before the damage.
Lead the students in a discussion about what happened at the site, their feelings and thoughts about the damage and have them explain their work of art.
Repeat the activity. Have the students create a second work of art showing how humans can do doing restoration of the site.
Have the students write a concise description of the artwork, including its name, their name, what they learned, the reasons for their choices, and how they think we can make a better future. This description will be used in the student art show referenced below.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Do a student art show at the school in the hallway or in a local community center. If possible, involve local environmental or sustainability groups to lead a discussion or provide information.
Collaborate with an English teacher to encourage the students to write letters to the local or federal governmental officials about the need for ecosystem protection.