Art Is the Answer

Q & A with Jesse Oak Taylor

A few weeks ago, Jesse Oak Taylor, PhD, visited the Center and spoke about the challenges facing scientists—or anyone—when trying to communicate the urgencies and complexities of ecological crisis to the public.  Taylor is Visiting Assistant Professor of English, and American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow, at the University of Maryland College Park, as well as a co-author of Empowerment on an Unstable Planet: From Seeds of Human Energy to a Scale of Global Change (Oxford UP 2011).  His approach to this question as a non-scientist was refreshing, as were his insights into storytelling and the role of art. Here are some highlights from a subsequent conversation.

What can the arts bring to discourse about science, and to discourse about climate change?

Something like climate change is so heavily politicized that the moment you hear “ climate change”—the minute you hear any argument going in that direction—most of us, me included, immediately start making up our minds and listening for the key words about whatever someone is saying and deciding what side they are on. Read More >