Chapter 16

Creating a Fourth Culture: Methods for Developing a Symbiosis Between the Arts and Sciences to Address Climate Change and Cultivate an Interdisciplinary Future

By Rebecca Potts

ABSTRACT: The arts should play a larger role in addressing environmental and climatic issues to ensure that our species endures as creative animals acting in society for centuries to come. Arts and arts education practitioners can do this by developing a symbiotic relationship between the arts and the sciences thereby fostering collaboration between artists and scientists through the education system, cultural institutions, and informally. This symbiosis can create a “fourth culture,” a term used by Jonah Lehrer to describe a future in which art and science exist in a positive feedback loop to propel human knowledge forward. Through this fourth culture, the arts can meaningfully participate in climate change solutions.

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