Robert Bateman is one of the world’s premier wildlife artists, naturalists, and environmentalists. His works have been presented at venues including the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, the Tryon Gallery in London, and the Russian State Museum in St Petersburg, and he has the distinction of holding the longest running exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution for any living artist. Bateman, an officer of the Order of Canada, has won countless awards and has received a dozen honorary doctorates. A passionate conservationist, he sat down with Joel Krupa to discuss tips for would-be environmental advocates and how to bridge the growing disconnect between the modern and the natural world.
You are generally regarded as a leading international voice for biodiversity preservation and climate change advocacy. What role do you envision for artists of all persuasions—visual, writing, film, fashion, and others—in creating a more environmentally conscious society and, in particular, a more environmentally conscious next generation of youth?
I think that all of the arts have a place to play in this transition. Of the arts, film is perhaps the most important. Films like Sir David Attenborough’s Life and Planet Earth are the most valuable and are educating millions, while current environmental affairs documentaries by people like David Suzuki are also extremely important for keeping people apprised of ongoing situations. However, all the arts are essential and each will need to find a unique niche in an increasingly nature deficient society.
Nature-deficit disorder is one of your…
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