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Northwestern scientists join forces with artists to prompt climate change action

‘Third Coast Disrupted’ exhibition and events continue through October 30

'Des Plaines McDonald's' from the 'Chicago and the Rain' series by Meredith Leich
'Des Plaines McDonald's' from the 'Chicago and the Rain' series by Meredith Leich

One year ago, Northwestern environmental engineering professor Aaron Packman and Earth and planetary sciences assistant professor Daniel Horton joined an interdisciplinary collaboration of scientists and artists engaged in a discussion of the impact of climate change and mitigation solutions for Chicago.

The project culminates Sept. 8 to Oct. 30 with “Third Coast Disrupted: Artists + Scientists on Climate,” an exhibition and series of online and in-person events presented by Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College,1104 S. Wabash Ave., 1st Floor, Chicago.

Through science-inspired sculpture, painting, collage and more, seven artists examine local impacts that range from extreme heat to flooding to habitat loss, and more. They also shine light on local solutions underway, like "cool roofs," nature-based approaches to slowing storm water  and backyard habitat restoration. 

“For decades now, climate scientists like myself have worked to communicate to the public evidence that climate change is real and that solutions to this problem exist,” Horton said.

“Despite our best effort, there remains a communication gap between scientists and the public. The genius and beauty of this project is that the task of communicating the science has been placed in the hands of professional artists who are adept at conveying ideas on multiple planes — logical, emotional and aesthetic. Exhibition visitors will hopefully come away with a newfound appreciation for science, as well as the inspiration and courage to adopt solutions,” Horton said.

Programming will take place over the duration of the exhibition, beginning with events on Sept. 16 and 17, featuring climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University.

Horton, lead researcher of the Climate Change Research Group at Northwestern, will participate in the panel “Getting Around Carbon: New Looks at Transportation Options” at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.

For more details about the programs and exhibition visit the Third Coast Disrupted website.

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