A view looking up at trees in a forest

Schedule of Events Announced for Art Sustainability Activism: ‘From the Ground Up’

UMass Amherst has announced the fall schedule of events for Art Sustainability Activism: “From the Ground Up,” an interdisciplinary series devoted to illuminating ecological crises through the lens of science and art.

Community environmental activists hold signs calling for climate action

Floods, fires, record-breaking heat, hail and hurricanes increasingly wreak havoc in our communities. Eighty-six percent of college students experience climate grief or anxiety, and 60% agree that climate change is an urgent problem. The Art Sustainability Activism (ASA) series brings together students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and community members with scientists, musicians, writers, organizers and activists to address climate chaos and to inspire collective action. 

“From the Ground Up” is the fifth annual collaboration between the Fine Arts Center, the MFA for Poets and Writers Program and the School of Earth and Sustainability. Launched in 2019 through interdisciplinary seed grant funding provided by the Provost’s office, the university has been an early investor in the ASA collaboration.

“The work done by the ASA team is a great example of interdisciplinary collaboration and strengthens UMass Amherst's excellence in research and creative activity,” says Tilman Wolf, senior vice provost for academic affairs and associate chancellor for space and capital planning.

The events in this series articulate a desire to trace the connections between science, culture, activism, and the arts. They traverse the territory between art and citizenship. The series will also investigate the possibilities of action on the UMass campus and beyond.

For more information and to register for an event, please visit: fineartscenter.com/ASA


The Essential Role of Social Mobilization in Confronting The Climate Crisis

Thursday, Sept. 14, 4 p.m., South College, E470

Adam Aron, climate activist and professor of neuropsychology at the University of California, San Diego, will discuss the findings in his book “The Climate Crisis.” Aron’s research and teaching focus on the social science of collective action on the climate crisis. His climate activism has been through the Green New Deal at UC San Diego where he has worked on several campaigns such as ElectrifyUC and has also produced the documentary “Coming Clean: A Demand for a Fossil Free UC.”

Understanding the Science and the Policies Behind the Climate Crisis

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m., venue TBD

Climate scientist and activist Shaina Sadai will share the latest science and discuss policy work to reckon with the climate crisis. As a UMass aluma and current Hitz Fellow for Litigation-Relevant Science at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Sadai’s career is dedicated to understanding the science and how humans have altered the climate leading to the impacts we see today. Her work now addresses how we translate our knowledge into policies, programs, and societal change that meet the needs of this global moment.

Art Sustainability Activism Interdisciplinary Discussion

Thursday, Oct. 12, 4 p.m., Bromery Center for the Arts Lobby

Join featured artist Sirintip, Shaina Sadai of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Sandy Litchfield and others in this meeting of minds working at the intersection of climate change, science, literature, performing arts and social justice. The discussion will be moderated by UMass professor Malcolm Sen. Sen, who teaches courses in the environmental humanities in the Department of English, is a co-chair of the campus-wide Sustainability Strategy Working Group and is leading The Anthropocene Lab project at UMass Amherst.


Saturday, Oct. 14, 3 p.m., Goodell Lawn (outdoors), Free

This free, solar-powered, carbon-neutral concert is presented as part of UMass Amherst Family Weekend. Thai-Swedish multimodal artist, singer and producer Sirintip creates works that center climate action through empathy and meaningful connections. Sirintip seeks to uncover and create connections through her music and her interdisciplinary works, arriving at moments of greater understanding. The performance will feature new music commissioned by the Fine Arts Center in tribute to world-famous composer and climate activist Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Third Act Community Organizing Workshop with B Fulkerson

Monday, Oct. 16, 12-4 p.m., Bromery Center for the Arts Lobby; Free with registration

Third Act is the first large-scale effort to organize older Americans for progressive action.  Third Act's Lead National Organizer, B Fulkerson will discuss the unique role that older Americans can play exploring how to build an irresistible, all-volunteer community of elders who back up youth who are on the frontlines of stabilizing democracy and the climate.

Bill McKibben on Ecology, Culture, and Democracy

Monday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m., Frederick C. Tillis Performance Hall; Free with registration

Bill McKibben will speak about the responsibility of artists in a moment of emergency. How might artists go beyond their personal vision to help the movements that are our chief hope?

McKibben is founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 for action on climate and justice. His 1989 book “The End of Nature” is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He’s since written 20 books, and his work appears regularly in periodicals from the New Yorker to Rolling Stone. He serves as the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has won the Gandhi Peace Prize. He was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the alternative Nobel, in the Swedish Parliament. Foreign Policy named him to its inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers.

This event is presented in collaboration with Orion magazine.