The United Nations announced on Sunday that Olafur Eliasson would serve as the Development Program’s Goodwill Ambassador. The position was created only recently with an objective of promoting the development goals through celebrated professionals of their respective fields. As the ambassador, Eliasson would be tasked with inciting urgent action on climate change and mobilizing both individuals and organizations into taking appropriate action for the same.
In the world of both art and environmentalism, Olafur Eliasson has a reputation of his own. Many of his installation arts and sculptures are deeply connected to the environment and invoke the subtle beauty of nature. For instance, Waterfall (1993) creates the weather pattern indoors while Moss Wall (1994) is a sculpture portraying the beautiful Icelandic moss. His most notable work Your Blind (2010) follows a similar trend and creates a complex shower of light coming across a hallway.
Apart from art and sculpture, Eliasson has done a lot more in the field of environmentalism. His initiative Little Sun, co-founded in 2012, seeks to replace fossil fuels with solar energy in regions without electricity supplies. Eliasson’s works are currently being surveyed at Tate Modern, London.
Upon receiving the news of his role as Goodwill Ambassador, the artist of the Icelandic-Danish descent said:
“Life on Earth is about co-existence—among people, non-human animals, ecosystems, and the environment. Co-existence is beautiful and generative, chaotic and challenging. The fact is, we’re in it together. That’s why we all have to take the climate emergency seriously.”
The announcement of this role is not a mere coincidence. For days, a global movement dubbed ‘Climate Strike’ is going on. Occurring at various places of the world, it is mostly organized by students. They have been urging nations and organizations to take immediate steps to control climate change. However, this general trend has been going for months and many art museums have complied. For instance, Tate Modern had vowed to curb its carbon emission and Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles announced its intention to go 100% solar-powered.