Edward Burtynsky, O.C.

Edward Burtynsky, O.C.

Edward Burtynsky, O.C.
Internationally Acclaimed Art Photographer

Conversation starter: Depoliticizing Climate Change

Among the leading climatology scientists worldwide there is consensus that climate change is a direct result of humankind's burning of oil, coal and gas. We are releasing these ancient carbon stores at an unprecedented rate. However, there are powerful self-interest groups that actively seed doubt, similar to the effort of tobacco lobbies after the Surgeon General came forward in the 1960s making a link between smoking and lung cancer.

We don't have another forty years to dither with facts and fictions as happened with tobacco, and the public must fully accept the connection with anthropocentric climate change – now – if we are to mitigate against the worst effects of what may soon come.

I propose that this issue should not be a political left-versus-right debate, but that it should simply be regarded as a habitat concern. If we lose our habitable lands, the politics of either side will be meaningless. My topic: how do we depoliticize issues around the environment and move them into the arena of sustainable development – with habitat preservation for all species taking the central role of the debate?

About Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada's most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of more than fifty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Bibliotèque Nationale in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.

Born in 1955, of Ukrainian heritage, he links his early exposure to the sites and images of the General Motors plant in his hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario to the development of his photographic work, which explores the intricate link between industry and nature – combining the raw elements of mining, quarrying, manufacturing, shipping, oil production and recycling into eloquent, highly expressive visions that find beauty and humanity in the most unlikely of places.

In 1985, Burtynsky founded Toronto Image Works, a public-use photographic facility, custom photo laboratory, digital imaging and new media computer training centre. He also sits on the board of directors for Toronto's international photography festival, Contact, and The Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre.

An active lecturer, Mr. Burtynsky has spoken at the National Gallery of Canada, the Library of Congress in Washington, George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, The Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the TED conference, Idea City, and Ryerson University. 

2016 Summer Conference

The Canada Project

Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

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Couchiching Connects
April 2017
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