Image for Youth Artists Paint a Picture of Climate Change

Idyllic images of nature; animals; bold colors; and even dark, dystopian scenes were on display at the Portland Audubon Society on April 30. The artists were all young Oregonians who are urging adults to take action on climate change.

“My artwork depicts what I envision students like myself in the near future would experience if we don’t work to prevent future air pollution.” – Jimin, age 16

This exhibit was part of Oregon Pediatric Society’s first “EnviroArt” project, a pediatrician-led effort to center the voices of Oregon youth regarding environmental issues. The project team — all OPS members — included Shaili Rajput, MD, MPH, and medical students Jaide Farr, Sarah Rau, Michelle Riedell, and Sydney Jennings.

“Young people have been the most vocal about the urgent need for action against climate change and environmental injustices,” said Dr. Rajput. “We want to amplify those inspiring voices through creative self-expression while raising awareness and action – and hope – around this crucial issue affecting today’s children and next generations.”

“…Even if things don’t look that bad to some people, if we continue on like this, we will get to the point that is irredeemable.” – Ella, age 13

In the months leading up to the exhibit, the EnviroArt team gathered entries from young people across the state, collaborating with Children’s Healing Art Project to promote the event and award art supplies to the first 10 entries. After assembling a group of youth judges,  the project team announced award winners and shared a virtual gallery with all the entries.

On April 30, the award winners and their families were invited to a reception at the Portland Audubon Society, where the artwork was on display for public viewing. After attendees had to chance to view the art, enjoy refreshments, and make nature-themed buttons, the Portland Audubon Society led the group on a guided nature walk.

“We must protect our forests, plants, and animals because they don’t have the ability to prevent climate change themselves!” – Bailey, age 9

“As a pediatrician, this was an incredible way to engage with the young people I care and advocate for in a new way,” said Dr. Rajput. “We saw talent, passion, and clear messages through art that these young people are here to appreciate and protect the natural world. The event filled me with hope.”

For updates on next year’s project, follow on Instagram, and email if you’re interested in learning more or volunteering.


Photos courtesy of OPS member Dr. Shaili Rajput. 

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