Dancers rehearsed in front of “Tahku,” the whale sculpture ahead of the Climate Fair for a Cool Planet in 2021. (Contributed / Mike Tobin)

Dancers rehearsed in front of “Tahku,” the whale sculpture ahead of the Climate Fair for a Cool Planet in 2021. (Contributed / Mike Tobin)

Art and action: An upcoming fair plans to use art as a way to talk about climate change

There’s free ice cream, too.

Climate change may be scary, but it doesn’t mean you’re alone, said organizers behind an upcoming fair that plans to use various art forms to talk about climate change and what people in the Juneau community can do to get involved in fighting it.

The second annual Climate Fair for a Cool Planet is set to take place in downtown Juneau’s Mayor Bill Overstreet Park on Saturday, July 23 from 3-5 p.m. The event’s goal is to bring community members in Juneau together to celebrate the planet and to share information about mitigating the current climate crisis, said Elaine Schroeder, a co-chair of 350Juneau, a group that works to address “root causes of climate disruption through justice-based solutions,” and promotes climate change awareness in Juneau and the rest of the state. The fair, hosted by a collaboration between 350Juneau and Theater Alaska, will bring together live and many original performances of local musicians, dance, theater and advocacy speeches along with children’s activities and free ice cream.

Schroeder said the choice to bring different forms of art together is to shed light on the climate crisis and relay the severity of the situation in a more palatable way and for a wider audience. She said she hopes the event will motivate more people in the local community to get involved in advocacy and environmental efforts by joining local rallies or donating to climate change awareness groups.

“It’s the arts that make this message presented in a way that looks beautiful and terrifying at the same time,” she said. “Many people feel that there is nothing they can do about climate change and they’re frozen in action, but I would contempt that quite the opposite is true.”

[Kelp is on the way: After a pandemic setback, mariculture farming is on the rise — and could help combat climate change]

Local artists have written original music and theater performances specifically for this event and about climate change, said Christina Apathy, a co-producer for Theater Alaska. She said the event’s goal is to use art to remind people about the connection they have with each other and to the earth, and she said she hopes it inspires people to take their own action on climate. She said people must do whatever they can to mobilize and support each other to create systemic change, and to stop climate change from damaging the future of the next generations.

“Art can be a reminder of the degrees we are falling short on and a nudge to get back on the path before it is too late.” she said. “When people talk about climate change, it seems like this gargantuan problem so it might be a little scary to go. But people who do take the risk or a chance on just showing up to the climate fair, are allowing themselves to kind of go on a date with our planet, and learn more about mother Earth. We can realize that we’re actually empowered and we can do even small things when taken together can turn into big things.”

Michael Tobin, a 350 Juneau board member, said he hopes people find a community by going to the event and “bring climate change out in the open and make it a common experience.” He said as climate change becomes more of an growing issue each day, people can still find hope through the arts and pull humor and drama out of the uncertain and “dominant” future of climate change.

“What we hope for is that people are aware of the severity and the urgency of the problem,” Schroeder said. “The truth of the climate catastrophe is very hard to process. It is hard for us to grasp the devastation that is in front of us — for humans, and for all other animals.”

[New paper sheds light on mining’s impact on salmon and transboundary watersheds]

Know & Go

What: Climate Fair for a Cool Planet

Where: Mayor Bill Overstreet Park

When: 3-5 p.m., Saturday

Cost: Free, accepting donations

Contact reporter Clarise Larson at or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the Week of May 28

Here’s what to expect this week.

File Photo
Police calls for Saturday, May 27

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Dozens of Juneau teachers, students and residents gather at the steps of the Alaska State Capitol on Jan. 23 in advocacy for an increase in the state’s flat funding via the base student allocation, which hasn’t increased sizeably since 2017 and has failed to keep pace with inflation during the past decade. A one-time funding increase was approved during this year’s legislative session. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
What’s next for the most debated bills pending in the Legislature?

Education funding increase, “parental rights” and other proposals will resurface next year.

Emergency lights flash on top of a police car. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Police investigate assault in Lemon Creek area

“JPD does not believe there is any danger to the public at large.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Feb. 24, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. DeSantis has filed a declaration of candidacy for president, entering the 2024 race as Donald Trump’s top GOP rival (AP Photo / John Raoux)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launches 2024 GOP presidential campaign to challenge Trump

Decision revealed in FEC filing before an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 23, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A channel flows through the mud flats along the Seward Highway and Turnagain Arm in Alaska on Oct. 25, 2014. Authorities said, a 20-year-old man from Illinois who was walking Sunday evening, May 21, 2023, on tidal mud flats with friends in an Alaska estuary, got stuck up to his waist in the quicksand-like silt and drowned as the tide came in before frantic rescuers could extract him.  (Bob Hallinen / Anchorage Daily News)
Illinois man gets stuck waist-deep in Alaska mud flats, drowns as tide comes in

“…It’s Mother Nature, and she has no mercy for humanity.”

Most Read