If the Sky Were Orange: Art in the Time of Climate Change
Part One – Articulating Climate Change: Katharine Hayhoe on Christine Sun Kim’s The Sound of Temperature Rising
At first glance, this piece seems to radiate hope. Musical notes soar like birds against the sky. I’m an optimist, so I can’t help but search for silver linings and uplifting messages. As the words reveal themselves, however, realization dawns. The notes ascend as if in tandem with the mercury levels that track our planet’s temperature. There’s no good news here.
This faint and far-off alarm began to sound decades ago, when scientists linked human activities—primarily extracting and burning fossil fuels—to their potentially catastrophic impacts on our society, our planet, and our shared future.
Today, that alarm has grown into a deafening tornado siren, signaling imminent danger as our planet warms at an unprecedented pace. No longer can we relegate global warming to a distant concern; its effects are tangible and immediate. The alarm reverberates in our ears, infiltrating our waking thoughts and haunting our slumbering dreams.
The inescapable truth is that these rising temperatures are transforming our world. Climate change leaves no aspect of our lives untouched; from the inhabitants of urban landscapes to pristine rainforests, we are all susceptible. And the more rapidly the planet warms, the greater the peril we face.
This crescendo of rising temperatures urges us to action. Solutions are within reach, and a brighter, more sustainable future is still possible: but only if we heed its urgent call.
About Christine Sun Kim
Christine Sun Kim uses drawing, performance, writing, and video to interrogate modes of communication, including spoken and written words, music, and sign language. Much of Kim’s work draws upon her experience as a deaf person in a world that privileges sound and speech. She lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Learn more about the artist at christinesunkim.com.
About Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe is the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and a distinguished professor at Texas Tech University. She has twice been named to Foreign Policy’s list of 100 Global Thinkers, and received the UN Environment Program’s Champion of the Earth award. Dr. Hayhoe encourages people to have conversations about the risks climate change poses to the people and places they love, and to advocate for climate action wherever they live. She is the author numerous books, including Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World (Atria/One Signal Publishers, 2022).