Quantcast

Stunning Portraits Put a Human Face on Climate Change

Popular
The North Face

By Clara Chaisson

The image of a solitary polar bear stranded on a melting ice floe is the unofficial poster child of the climate movement. But the world's climbing temperatures are threatening more than charismatic megafauna; people's lives and cultural heritage are at risk, too. With his portraits, artist Sean Yoro is helping to put a human face on the climate change issue.

Yoro, aka "Hula," grew up in Oahu, Hawaii. Now based in New York City, he honors his childhood love of the ocean with a unique approach to "street art," painting semi-submerged murals on walls, shipwrecks and abandoned docks while perched atop a stand-up paddleboard. His latest canvas of choice? Sea ice.

"A'o 'Ana (The Warning)"Hula

Some of Yoro's recent projects have taken him to the front lines of global warming, where his portraits that disappear in response to environmental changes are a powerful metaphor for climate change. The murals, rendered in nontoxic paints made from natural pigments and linseed or safflower oil, are transient by design.

Sean Yoro stands on an iceberg freshly broken off from a nearby glacier in northern Iceland.Hula

Yoro paints his murals from a stand-up paddleboard—in the Arctic.Hula

Yoro traveled to northern Iceland in November 2015 to paint a woman's likeness on icebergs from a melting glacier. Last summer, he teamed up with apparel company The North Face to complete a portrait in the Arctic waters of Baffin Island, Nunavut.

His timing couldn't have been better. Temperatures in the Arctic are increasing at double the rate of the rest of the globe—in November, for instance, the mercury rose more than 36 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's recently released Arctic Report Card for 2016 paints a grim picture of "persistent warming," "loss of sea ice" and "extensive Arctic changes." The report calls for "more effective and timely communication of these scientific observations to diverse user audiences."

Enter Yoro. To better understand how climate change is affecting the residents of Baffin Island and share their message with the world, the artist first cultivated a relationship with the area's Inuit community. He spent time with local Jesse Mike, who ended up becoming the model for Yoro's ice mural.

Mike told him: "For most people it's about the polar bears, not about the people. Inuit want to make it about the people."

Watch What If You Fly, a short video about Yoro's trip to the Arctic, below:

Reposted with permission from our media associate onEarth.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A roller coaster on the Jersey Shore flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.jpg: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen / U.S. Air Force / New Jersey National Guard / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey will be the first state in the U.S. to require builders to take the climate crisis into consideration before seeking permission for a project.

Read More
The Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu speaks on Jan. 26 during a press briefing on studying the 2019-nCoV coronavirus and developing a vaccine to prevent it. Roman Balandin / TASS / Getty Images

Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 4,000 people and killed at least 100 in China as of Jan. 27, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease.

Read More
Sponsored
Healthline ranks Samoas, seen above, as the 11th healthiest Girl Scout Cookie. brian / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Nancy Schimelpfening

  • Nutrition experts say healthy eating is about making good choices most of the time.
  • Treats like cookies can be eaten in moderation.
  • Information like total calories, saturated fat, and added sugars can be used to compare which foods are relatively healthier.
  • However, it's also important to savor and enjoy what you're eating so you don't feel deprived.

Yes, we know. Cookies aren't considered a "healthy" food by any stretch of the imagination.

Read More
Actress Jane Fonda is arrested during the "Fire Drill Friday" Climate Change Protest on Oct. 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. John Lamparski / Getty Images

When you see an actor in handcuffs, they're usually filming a movie. But when Jane Fonda, Ted Danson, Sally Field, and other celebrities were arrested in Washington, D.C., last fall, the only cameras rolling were from the news media.

Read More
A solitary Dungeness crab sits in the foreground, at low tide on an overcast day. The crabs' shells are dissolving because of ocean acidification on the West Coast. Claudia_Kuenkel / iStock / Getty Images

As the Pacific Ocean becomes more acidic, Dungeness crabs, which live in coastal areas, are seeing their shells eaten away, according to a new study commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Read More