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Illustration Art's Role in Addressing Sustainability and Environmental Issues

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

Ola! It's Sarah from the business team. Last weekend I had a chance to join The Eco Journal book launch event from Studio Else Jakarta. It was an interesting discussion with all persons who are in charge and contributed to this book. The Eco Journal is not only an ordinary journal but also a learning book and art & design book altogether. This book has three main sections; monthly-themed articles with a specific topic regarding environmental sustainability, eco checklist to list down daily eco-friendly actions in adopting the sustainable lifestyle, and EEco journal challenge, a set of challenges to do certain activities that we can share through social media that allow us to connect with fellow journal-adopters. All of the contents inside the book contain an eye-pleasing and well-designed illustration by some environment enthusiast illustrators.

I was really impressed with the key aspect and core value of The Eco Journal, they are connecting collaborators, from the pioneer of environmentalists in Jakarta to the artists and illustrators. How each artist and illustrator reacts to a specific topic related to climate change and combined their art with environmentalist’s valuable contents, giving the readers multitude of experiences throughout the journal. This kind of project can bring communities together to engage in various forms of discussion about behaviors and attitudes towards the environment and sustainability.

I developed new perspectives after I joined the Eco Journal launch event. Each environmentalist expressed how they really excited about being part of the Eco Journal. It does really help them to deliver their message about sustainability to the readers who would like to start and explore implementing a sustainable lifestyle. I have highlighted a sentence from one of the environmentalists during the launch event;

Sometimes it's easy to get lost in technical details of a project. To become so focused on the process, that you forget not everyone understands either the issue or the aim

She said that sometimes she ignores the importance of creating an emotional connection to her audiences, especially to the younger generation. As humans engage in increasingly unbalanced relationships with the natural environment and each other, there is a growing need for effective mediators through which people of different educational and linguistic backgrounds can communicate necessary plans of action to live more sustainably. So, she thinks collaborating with illustrators can build a better engagement to her young audiences rather than only in a theoretical way. The Eco Journal project also maintains her enthusiasm for bringing an artistic perspective to complex social, scientific, and technical issues. Once I heard that I totally agreed and realized that today, more than ever, there is a need for channels of communication to address the major environmental and sustainability problems of our time. Although illustration art is generally passive, it has the ability to connect with people on emotional and subliminal levels, illustration art can assist in encouraging public awareness about sustainability and environmental issues and also can affect socio-cultural. Indri also has shared on her previous blog here, mentioning an interactive guide for kids about climate change that has been published by The New York Times [A Climate Change Guide for Kids - The New York Times], using an attractive illustration by Yuliya Parshina-Cottas, to make the subject more accessible for kids.

David Curtis has mentioned in his study about "Creating Inspiration: How the visual and performing arts shape environmental behavior" that on an even larger scale, several sites and organizations initiated an art project that brought communities together to address common environmental and sustainability issues through creative engagement and collaboration, promoting a more developed understanding of the issues.

By joining the Eco Journal launch event, I found that so many enthusiastic participants are motivated to start concerning a sustainable lifestyle and fascinated by the contents. In this case, I see that illustration art can be an effective way of informing people about certain issues and its ability to affect change in their behaviors and attitudes.

Thank you for reading & stay safe!! :-)

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