Unchopping a tree

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Maya Lin, amphibian, frog, climate change, biodiversity, habitat, Vimeo

For International Women’s Day 2015, we celebrate Maya Lin, the artist, sculptor and architect whose What is missing? foundation and ongoing multimedia multisite memorial creates science-based artworks and installations to help global audiences make the link between habitat destruction, biodiversity loss and the sixth mass extinction. “What is missing?” focuses not only on what has already been lost — the past — but also on the present and the future: what work is currently being done across the globe in terms of conservation and habitat protection, and how can we visualize plausible future scenarios that balance human needs with those of the natural world.

“As an artist, perhaps I can put these issues in a new light—to get us to think differently about what the issues are and what the solutions could be,” she explained in an interview with Artspace magazine.

Watch her powerful but disturbing short film about deforestation “Unchopping a Tree”

The final message of this film is that through saving trees we can reduce emissions AND save species: “Together we can save two birds with one tree.”

In 2014, Ms. Lin was awarded the prestigious $300,000 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.”

According to the New York Times’ ArtsBeat, Ms. Lin will use this award to continue working on “What is missing?” — a global map and public library to which anyone can contribute: sounds, stories, photos of species that we remember from our past which are no longer here.  A great way to participate in a unique interactive global climate change art project. Upload your images, share your stories here.

Follow Joan Sullivan on Twitter @CleanNergyPhoto

Filed under: Featured Artist, Installation, Multidisciplinary


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

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