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On International Women’s Day this year, environmental non-profit Do The Green Thing published Man-made disaster: How patriarchy is destroying the planet. by Ashley Johnson 

For Earth Day, the team staged an exhibition of artistic work by 30 women and non-binary artists, exploring the ways in which patriarchy and its symptoms, including toxic masculinity and misogyny, are accelerating climate change.

Among the contributing artists to the exhibition, Man-Made Disaster: Patriarchy & the planet, are feminist activist art collective Guerrilla Girls, Google Creative Lab’s Creative Director Tea Uglow, Turner Prize-winning architecture collective Assemble, photojournalist Alice Aedy, award-winning architect Abeer Seikaly, illustrator Ngadi Smart and activist Wong Ka Ying.

The exhibition took place at the end of April at Protein Studios in East London but works can still be viewed via a digital exhibition.

Here Do the Green Thing shares, with Women’s Environmental Network, four pieces from the exhibition, including statements from the artists themselves about what moved them to create their responses:

‘A case for biochar and women smallholders' Digital print, 2019
Irina Wang

“Thermodynamics and agronomy may not be the most glamorous avenues to gender equity, but there are all these concrete and hyper-specific ways we - as women designers - can directly empower and equip other women around the world to become leaders in the climate fight.

According to FAO reports, women make up more than 40% of the world’s agricultural labor force, often in the form of smallholdings (single-family farms occupying less than 5 acres).

This biochar system imagines one way by which a simple tool for sustainable agricultural practices could improve the quality of life for a woman and her family, grant her access to economic agency in global markets, increase food security for millions, prevent future deforestation, and sequester gigatonnes of carbon in the process.

Whether it’s visually mapping a system to identify opportunities, sitting down with women farmers for insight, or creating a low-cost and open-source pyrolysis stove, designers play a role in urgently translating the ideals of equity into words that catalyse and objects that intervene.


‘Weightless’
Digital print, 2019 Anastasia Korosteleva

“Weightless is a series of portraits of Maldivian girls floating in the Indian Ocean. It explores the identity of a nation which is under threat of disappearing. Over 80 per cent of the Maldives sit only one metre above sea level. If water continues to rise in line with current expectations, the islands will be underwater by the end of this century. The photos were taken on Hulhumalé Island during the school holidays, when youngsters spend lots of time in the water. The girls caught my attention with their bright outfits and their genuine love of water. Floating on the surface of the Indian Ocean, these eerie portraits explore a relationship to the very ocean which threatens to submerge them.”


Sophie Thomas
‘Carbon Hourglass’
Hand-blown glass with waste glass and volcanic black sand, 2019

“The recent IPCC has concluded that the world now has only 12 years to stop runaway climate change by keeping the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. These temperature changes seem small but significantly increase the risk of floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty. The time has run out for complacency.”

‘Ocean Hourglass’
Hand-blown glass with waste glass and sand samples from the ocean edge, Cornwall, 2019

“Our sand is too polluted to flow. Every part of our planet is suffering from human impact. By 2050 there may be more plastic in the oceans than finfish in mass.”


‘Take her seriously’ Digital print, 2019 Lizzie Reid

“The rise of extreme weather is one of the devastating effects of climate change. And society’s widely-held gender stereotypes potentially make things worse.

These posters are a reaction to a piece of research published by the PNAS journal which claims that feminine-named hurricanes cause significantly more damage than their male counterparts. They believe this is because entrenched views of women being less threatening and more gentle lead to people being less prepared for the storms.

Peggy, Diedre and Jane are just three of 2019’s upcoming storms. With the impact and frequency of storms only getting worse, we need to make sure we take them all seriously.”

See the full Digital Exhibition.