During the Spring of 2018, I took a course called Creation, Innovation, & Social Action with Professor Pedro Lasch. Throughout the course, we learned about the various forms of art and how they impact our daily lives. We watched weekly video lectures and wrote reflections, heard guest speakers, and engaged in class discussion. Most of our focus throughout the course went into our independent projects, opportunities to come up with an idea and to execute it. I knew that I wanted to advocate for an environmental issue, but to leverage the ideas of innovation, performance, and intention that the class taught about. I decided to organize a “Rally to Ruin the Planet,” a satirical rally advocating for fossil fuel usage and environmental destruction. Rather than executing a more traditional rally around renewable energy, climate action, and the need for political change, I aimed to highlight the self-serving motivations and destructive consequences of the fossil fuel industry to energize current environmental advocate and engage new ones.
Originally, I was concerned that frequent discussion of art would not be very beneficial for an aspiring environmental advocate. However, the video lectures taught me about how art – sculptures, performances, and even posters – could be used for social action. I developed a newfound appreciation for the design of museums and monuments, along with the importance of considering every aspect of an event as if it were a theatrical performance. With my Rally to Ruin the Planet, I experienced the challenges of innovation – navigating many perspectives, logistical issues, and generating interest. While there are multiple things I would change, I am proud that I achieved my goal: executing an entertaining environmental event, educating the public, and engaging new people in a cause I’m passionate about. I believe this strategy can and should be leveraged for future advocacy campaigns, and I plan to do this in the future.