The Crevice Dwellers: Using Image and Story to Communicate Climate Change

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Because climate change has become a widely discussed topic, it is important to think about how the scientific knowledge of climate change is received by the general public. Up to this point, science has not always been effective at communicating climate change to the general public. Because it is an issue that requires public support and behavior change, it is important that we use all the tools available to us to communicate climate change. One tool that is often overlooked is art. Art has the power to connect emotionally and can translate complicated and abstract ideas into images and stories that can be understood by those not trained in science. In this project I explore the artistic communication of climate change by participating in the dialogue. I created several communications pieces focused on the Green Salamander, a North Carolina species that is threatened by climate change. The research is driven by the creative process and the journey of the project becomes an important part of the project itself. Through literature reviews, interviews, and case studies of artistic representations of climate change I explore the possibilities of expanding climate change communication to use image and story and therefore better connect people to the reality of a changing climate and the potential outcomes. The results of the project come in the form of several creative pieces that explore how one might go about communicating climate change in this way. The work uses photography and writing in several different formats to explore how different genres and different presentations affect the audience’s response to the work. Each piece helped to illuminate the benefits as well as the limitations of using image and story to communicate climate change. I conclude that the collaboration of artists and scientists in communicating climate change has the potential to, not only increase awareness of climate change, but to connect people to emotionally to the effects of climate change.





Hoogerwerf, Colin (2013). The Crevice Dwellers: Using Image and Story to Communicate Climate Change. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.