The Art of Climate Action


With art at its heart, the eARTh Climate Fellowship takes off.

What happens when four young creative minds, who are part of the first cohort of the eARTh Climate Fellowship, are exposed to the vagaries of climate change? The out-of-the-box responses could vary from an entertaining comic to a ballad of loss.

For 21-year-old Jyothika Byju, the youngest eARTh Climate fellow and a final year student of Bachelor of Visual Arts at Chamarajendra Government College of Visual Arts, Mysuru, the haunting silence of a particular species of frog in her backyard in Kannur, Kerala, is the crucial piece in her story of climate change.

‘I grew up listening to the peculiar cries of the manavatti thavala (Malabar Hills frog)— a colourful frog found on the forest floor in the Western Ghats in south-western India. I don’t recall when exactly its cries stopped, but it has been a while,’ she says.

For Rishabh Shetty, an aspiring game designer and a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate from Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, it is the hypocrisy of human actions that stands out in the climate narrative. ‘First, we destroy the ecosystem that bees thrive in, and then we build them a bee hotel to give them a home!’ He was referring to a man-made architecture built for bees to set up their colony near Jakkur Lake, Bengaluru.

Bee Hotel, Jakkur Lake

Jyothika and Rishabh are part of the first cohort of fellows, who got a chance to dive deep into how an artist looks at climate change and whether art can make a real difference in nudging behavioural change.

The eARTh Climate Initiative invites artists into the world of climate science and public policy to figure out how science and citizens can be connected for overcoming psychological or emotional distancing, one of the most significant barriers to mass climate action. The fellowship, a part of the Initiative, signals the start of a concerted effort to engage artists in the climate conversation.

Since February, the fellows have been working on creating art that reflects their thoughts on climate change informed by the sessions CSTEP organised during field visits and technical sessions by in-house experts. Their work will be displayed at the upcoming eARTh event in October 2024.

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