Re-imagining the future through visual utopias

“We have to imagine a society before we build it”, Justine Norton Kertson says, “And when it comes to adapting and solving the climate crisis, defeating fossil fuel empires, and creating a relationship of harmony rather than conflict between humanity, technology and nature; then we have to move from the imaginary to the real, from theoretical to practical”. There is no doubt that we have a long road ahead to build a carbon-neutral environment and create sustainable ways of living in the near future. But more importantly, at least from my point of view, we need to decide on what we would like to change exactly and what kind of a world we want to establish in the first place. Otherwise, we will not be able to take life-changing steps that will have long-lasting results.

Why we need ethnographic and artistic methods in climate research

Ethnographic methods teach us that we can better understand the various spheres of life of a human group by studying traits such as their language, religious beliefs, rites, social structures, and artistic expressions. In this blog article, I argue that ethnographic methods are underestimated in climate-related research and could easily be integrated with artistic methodological formats. I believe that these artistic forms can bring research projects a more participatory character and might be more effective in creating awareness and building public trust towards scientists, especially concerning the topic of climate change and environmental justice. This might also help academic researchers make their publications more memorable, and contribute to the ultimate aim of transforming society towards more sustainable pathways.