The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition of art - "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." In terms of contemporary art, the concept of "emotional power" is probably the most important part of this definition. Art is all over something that surrounds us, not only in the form of paintings and sculptures but also through music, literature, film, photography and others. So it's no wonder that environmental problems can be found being discussed in art in one or another form.

Art is a great way to attract people`s attention to the environmental issues that are the negative result of human activity, for example climate change, pollution, resource depletion. Ecological problems shown through art have much more influence over people because you do not need to visit some lectures or read a textbook in order to be worried about ecological situation. You can simply see photography about global warming in the gallery or watch a science fiction movie in the cinema, to experience something that will touch your heart and change your relationship with nature for life.

Environmental art starts its history in 1960s, as a part of the environmental movement, and it has continued to grow since then. Examples of art forms that may be described as environmental art include:

* Land art, in which landscape is used by artists like a form or tool for creating their artworks. Spiral Jetty, by Robert Smithson, is one of the best-known examples of land art

* Arte Povera, in which, to show the influence of industry on the nature, artists use industrial or non-art materials. The most complete collection of works from the Arte Povera movement is at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein

* Site-specific art, artworks created to exist in a specific place

* Eco-art, artworks which have both ecological content and materials

Also growing in popularity are terms such as 'sustainable art', which has a wider definition of the environment. Sustainable art may deal with social, economic, biophysical, historical and cultural environments.

Ecological art has many different values, from the pure aesthetic appeal that many of the works have, to the creative displays many include which bring new ideas into the artistic circle. Yet they also have a more concrete advantage, in that the artist is taking advantage of their gift to bring our attention to a problem they consider to be important, and are therefore encouraging discussion about the issue. In this way it contributes valuably to our society and plays a role that increases our sense of social responsibility.

Author's Bio: 

Ben Gilbert's Designs can be found by visiting his website at Crayon Art.