Slideshow: Earth Day images from around the world

An international art exhibit inspired by climate change features images of Arctic reindeer, humpback whales, and melting ice

By Nicole Scarmeas

David Buckland; Ice Texts; iris prints bonded to reinforced glass

Seven years ago, the Natural World Museum (NWM) found it difficult to survive as an environmental art organization. “People didn’t get it,” says Mia Hanak, founding executive director of NWM. “We were either pegged as an environmental group or an art group.” Undeterred, the group continued designing shows with environmentally themed art in the hopes of spurring dialogue among audiences. In 2005, members of the UN Environmental Program saw a NWM exhibit in San Francisco, and asked the museum to become its official arts partner. Each year, the two organizations produce a major exhibit for World Environment Day, which travels internationally. This year’s show, Kick the CO2 Habit, will premier in Wellington, New Zealand on June 5, 2008.

After a year of global travel, including stops in Norway, Belgium, and Monaco, the 2007 World Environment Day exhibit is coming to the United States. Melting Ice: A Hot Topic arrived on Friday at the Field Museum in Chicago to kick off Earth Day. Each piece reflects climate change from a global perspective, examining the melting and thawing of ice, snow, and permafrost taking place from pole to pole. Viewers will see Fred Ivak Ultsi Klemetsen’s photograph of a herd of reindeer swimming through icy waters and the oil painting, Antartic Evening—Humpback Whales by Robert Bateman. Check out these images for a sneak peek at some of the pieces on display in Chicago through September 1.

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