Social Art and Three Degrees Warmer

In 2009, when Jeni and I started Three Degrees, global international climate policy was failing to achieve measures to mitigate climate harms and to support impacted communities to adapt. Jeni and I were examining the potential for other organizations, principles, areas of law, and political formations to help fill the gap of the failing international regime.

After organizing a diverse set of climate justice projects with students and faculty at universities, elected officials and activists at international workshops,  journalists, and scenario planners and futurists alike, I’ve discovered that working at the community level is where I’m learning the most about climate justice work and how it is evolving in the context of global issues of disparity, hierarchies of power, local creativity and pursuit, particularized assemblies of unlikely suspects, and ethical and honest frameworks for cultural recognition of the multiple ways of life that reveal a more engaged philosophy about human existence and perseverance in 2016 .

What I am learning now through my work in Kivalina and in particular, as I’m asked to share our work in Kivalina with others, is that local institutions for change are already in place. Responses, adaptations, and alliances for climate justice must align and assemble around existing systems, forming a vast network of lines and connections rather than a discrete object with a functional purpose defined as policy. On a more global level, institutions have, for a long time, been too centralized/apolitical to affect change positively. Assembling networks among impacted communities, academics, funders, specialists, designers, artists, and media is the kind of institution that needs composing. With the ArtPlace grant, I believe Three Degrees Warmer is working toward this mission.

As part of ArtPlace, I’ve been asked to serve on a panel in April focusing on design and architecture as disciplines for creative placemaking. While I am trained as a lawyer—not a designer nor an architect, I think back to the days when Jeni and I started Three Degrees. We started the project to build an architecture and framework that would support us and others to do climate justice work in the world. The work of Three Degrees Warmer is an architecture of the scaffolding that holds people and relationships up. These are formworks that people build themselves, at their own pace, with materials that are available to them. Where the shake and sway means it might be working. (Photo from Shanghai, 2009.)

Dissents Matter but the World Is Still on Fire

Guest post by Lauren Sancken and Jen Marlow "We recite that we believe the children are our future, but we continue actions that could leave them a world with an environment on the brink of ruin and no mechanism to assert their rights or the rights of the natural...

Addressing Sanitation as a Climate Justice Issue

Three Degrees Warmer received a small grant from the Environmental Projection Agency's Environmental Justice Grants Program to train residents in Kivalina on how to operate the Kivalina Biochar Reactor, a nonsewered, mobile sanitation system designed by...

Relocation Archive to Be Exhibited in Morocco

In collaboration with Re-Locate, Three Degrees Warmer co-developed the Kivalina Archive, a digital platform that places the “official” history of Kivalina’s relocation, such as government geological surveys, alongside a relocation history told by the Kivalina people, including their experiences with the relocation process as well as photographs and videos documenting their everyday lives.