Because I am a literary writer, writing about climate justice, people often ask me, What is the importance of the arts in the climate struggle? I turn to Friedrich Nietzsche, the nineteenth century German philosopher.
“We have art in order not to die of the truth,” he wrote.
So then. What are these lethal truths, the truths that break our hearts, sap our spirits, and turn us to stone? How can art save us in the face of those truths? Those are my two questions.
- What are the paralyzing truths that the world faces?
Number one. That we have the good fortune to have been born into the Cenozoic Era, when evolution has achieved its greatest fullness of flowering, what theologian Thomas Berry called the most “lyric period in Earth history.”
Imagine our good fortune, to live in the time of thrush-song and thirty thousand species of orchids, the time of small laughing children and whales that teach each other to sing. The fate of these lives is not a matter of indifference or economic expedience. These lives, human or otherwise, are the irreplaceable consequence of planetary creativity over four billion years. And they are the progenitors of everything that will grow on the face of the Earth.
Read Medusa’s Curse: The Necessity of Art in the Climate Struggle by Katherine Dean Moore at Resilience.org