The Fort Frances Museum and Cultural Centre opened its newest temporary exhibit on Wednesday.
The photo exhibit, “Taking Back our Natural World” showcases pieces that highlight the driving forces of climate change, as well as the impact those forces have had on the planet so far.
“Although we started talking about recycling probably 40-50 years ago, it seemed there was no urgency,” museum curator Sherry George told the group attending the opening.
“It was simply something we should do. It’s only been in the last thirty years or so that there have been some disconcerting things happening around the world.”
As part of the exhibit, the museum reached out to Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, whose work focuses on the effects of industrialization on the natural world. He agreed to let the museum use 20 of his photographs for the exhibit.
Photos range from desolate, polluted lakebeds to stretches of clear-cut Amazonian rainforests to pipeline protests in British Columbia.
A number of cards mounted on the wall ask visitors to consider the impacts of their own choices, and what steps they can take to mitigate those impacts.
“It is the habits of the industrial world–North America and Europe–that have doomed the rest of the world to horrific outcomes due to climate change,” George said.
“Although the third world has contributed little to this mess we’ve made, it is their world that is suffering.”
As part of the exhibit, the museum also put out a call for local artists to submit pieces that reflected their views on climate change, or to demonstrate the impact it is having on the world.
“Although we only received 4 submissions, I am pleased at the quality of those pieces we did receive,” George said.
“Plastic Plague” by S. Leblanc was the first place winner of the competition, as well as a $300 prize. The runner up was “Crying Earth” by Arunima Kulmitra, which also came with a $200 prize. Both of the cash prizes were donated by New Gold Inc.
Anne Marie Rousseau is a community coordinator with New Gold Inc, and attended the opening.
“It was really eye-opening to see the impact that climate change has had on the environment,” Rousseau said of the exhibit.
“Just looking at the photos around here, and all across the world, and the difference it’s made, it’s very eye-opening, for sure.”
“Taking Back our Natural World” runs at the museum until June 22