Harnessing Creativity to Envision a Healthy and Sustainable Planet

Art is a powerful medium of communication. It allows us to peek into the soul, emotions, thoughts, and consciousness of an artist. It connects us to a reality outside the physical realm. It moves us, speaks to us. It connects us further to every human being, to all life around us on this Earth.


Thus, in celebration of #EarthDay2021, the Climate  Reality Project Philippines and Agam Agenda presented the Earthivism Virtual Exhibit to provide climate advocates a platform to harness the medium of the art to envision a healthy and sustainable planet for humanity.

“We deepen this year’s celebration of Earth Day by highlighting how creative skills and talents and medium of art can convey powerful messages, and raise stronger calls for caring for our one true home, the Earth,” Climate Reality Leader Padma Perez, Project Lead of Agam Agenda, said during the virtual exhibit that premiered last night on Facebook.

This virtual exhibit sought to inspire and motivate viewers to believe in their capacity to express themselves, be creative, take action for our country, planet, and collective futures.

In this feature, we are sharing once again the powerful and provocative artworks of our climate artivists (artist +activists), as well as snippets of the stories and insights they shared about creating for climate action and sustainability.

1. Lady in Flight | Sculpture by Alyanna Carrion

This metal sculpture of a woman made of upcycled materials is part of a four-piece collection that depicts the interconnectivity of the land, sea, air, and humanity with respect to climate, according to Climate Reality Leader Alyanna Carrion.

“We can’t exist without the others and we are part of a collective whole,” Alyanna said explaining the rationale behind the four-piece collection.

Immersed in gender initiatives, Alyanna said she chose a woman to represent humanity to symbolize the fight for women empowerment and gender equality. This choice represents her current initiatives to understand and advocate for the intersection of women’s issues and climate issues.

In line with this, she also shared that part of the profits of her social enterprise The Kitchen Sink, a soap apothecary shop, go to Cameleon Association, an organization that provides holistic development for women who are victims of sexual abuse.

2. Celeste | Painting by Jeka Clamor

This painting aims to depict Mother Earth through the image of its creator, Climate Reality Leader Jeka Clamor.

A second-year advertising arts student at the University of Sto. Tomas, Jeka said she wanted to picture nature as herself to acknowledge the critical role of the youth in the pursuit of climate action and a more sustainable future.

A true lover of the arts since she was a kid,  Jeka also underscored its role in the climate crisis. “Art has a role in everything. We just don’t realize it or appreciate it enough,” she quipped.

She added that the main role of art in the climate crisis is to help raise awareness, noting that art could translate the urgency and solvability of the climate crisis into something more relatable and attractive to the masses.

3. The Earthly Tree | Pixel Art by Riel Diala

Reminiscent of the video games he played when he was a child, this pixel art aims to encourage people to view the environment in the eyes of the child. “A child usually looks at their environment with curiosity, wonder, and innocence,” its creator Climate Reality Leader Riel Diala explained.

A fresh architecture graduate from the University of the Philippines, Riel shared how art gives him hope and strength during these uncertain times. “For me and as well as a lot of other people, whether it’s the artists or the viewers, art is a coping mechanism that helps us get through each day during this pandemic,” he said.

For him, art is also a medium to deliver a statement or amplify advocacy in a creative manner. “To deliver your message to a group of people is already quite a big step,” he added.

4. Life by Corals | Painting by Alya Laplana

This painting by Climate Reality Leader Alya Laplana was inspired by an article entitled “I’m not a fish. Why should coral reefs matter to me?” (https://grist.org/ask-umbra/im-not-a-fish-why-should-coral-reefs-matter-to-me/).

A Communications Arts student at the University of Sto. Tomas, Alya shared that she grew up with a great appreciation for nature and a love for traveling outdoors. Because of this, she was drawn to join the global movement to address the current climate crisis.

Reading the article prompted her to use her creativity to amplify the need to protect corals and raise awareness on its importance not just to coastal communities, but to people around the world.

“I felt a sense of power by making this piece because I think it’s an important message to share to people,” Alya said as she underscored the interconnectedness of the life in the ocean and life on land and the impacts of carbon-intensive human activities to corals.

5. Salaw | Painting by Vanessa Carantes

“Salaw” refers to porcelain and earthenware jars or pots that are used by Ibaloys for making rice wine (tapuy).

According to  Climate Reality Leader Vanessa Carantes, salaw reminds her of her late grandmother, an Ibaloy who taught her all about the rich traditions of the different indigenous people tribes in Benguet. This was the inspiration behind this painting.

In memory of her grandmother, Vane wanted to highlight the role of indigenous people as stewards of nature and traditional knowledge. This is in light of the current environmental degradation happening in Benguet and with the call of indigenous people communities to preserve the environment falling on deaf ears.

But Vane isn’t just pushing her advocacy through her art. She is also helping her mother and her aunts in running Pena-cha, a non-profit organization that aims to help educate the youth on the culture of Benguet and the principles of sustainability.

6. Anthurium | Mixed Media Painting by Diana Grace Manalastas

A self-taught artist based in New York, Diana Grace Manalastas uses discarded materials and make them into art through mixed media. “I reimagine used objects that have already been discarded and thrown away and I try to give it a new life,” she said.

This particular piece, the Anthurium, is made up of wires she picked up everywhere—from electronic parts that have been thrown away to cables. Even the canvas she used for this piece was recycled.

Diana said that this artwork is part of her “Everlasting Series,” a collection of artworks that depict flowers that never wilt. She shared that she created this series as a way of confronting impermanence after her mother died.

7. The Urban Green Village | Architectural Design by Jessryn Lim

This architectural design by Climate Reality Leader Jessryn Lim not only reflects sustainability principles, but also weaves together faith, spirituality, and the gift of having trees nearby and hearing the birds sing.

As a licensed architect and environmental planner, Jess believes that art and architecture play an enormous role in solving the climate crisis.

“Any problem should be solved creatively. And anything that taps creative is an art form,” she said. “What we need now is creative minds. Whether you’re an architect, a lawyer, or a human resource person—whatever your role is, everything should be integrated with art,” she said.

Jess also expressed her frustration over the unavailability of products that are a hundred percent green. But she remains hopeful. “I remain hopeful. I am very optimistic that the private sector and the government will push healthier, nature-loving development projects that are self-sustaining.”

To see more reimaginings of climate conversations through stories and art, visit the Agam Agenda on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and to hear more, follow Agam the Climate Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.