Over the last few centuries, rapid advances in science and the increased specialization of knowledge have caused science and art to grow apart. Today, the gap between them has widened to the point where the possibility of meaningful interaction is, to many, unthinkable. For the most part, science is regarded as the more valuable discipline. It helps us understand and predict natural phenomena, makes our lives comfortable, and is supposedly objective. Art, on the other hand, is seen as much more amorphous, highly subjective, and often a luxury that contributes little to day-to-day life.
However, with the increased urgency and unprecedented scope of climate change, which calls for cooperation across physical and intellectual boundaries, there is a movement to reunite the two moieties of human knowledge and explore the rich intersection where facts and emotions meet. This impulse is supported by the fact that decades of climate change communication based on scientific data alone has yielded very little result. We need new strategies.
There is strong evidence from the social sciences that between the brain’s two processing systems, the experiential processing system is the stronger motivator for action . The experiential processing system relates current situations to past experiences, often evoking strong feelings and making them dominant in processing . As described by Marx et al.: “A sufficiently vivid description of a situation permits listeners or readers to place themselves in the story, thereby to be influenced by strong positive or negative affect, and to imagine the actions that they would take”.
By engaging the brain’s experiential processing system through images, music, dance and storytelling, art can trigger reflection, generate empathy and foster new ideas. It can help people imagine different ways of being and relating . It can also, in relation to climate change, make the crisis visible, audible and felt. When we combine art’s strengths with the latest scientific insights, we can create experiences that are aesthetically and emotionally satisfying, and have the potential to move people to action.
 Marx, S., Shome D., Weber, E. U.: “Analytic vs. Experiential Processing Exemplified through Glacial Retreat Education Module.” Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. 2006.
 Center for Research on Environmental Decisions: The Psychology of Climate Change Communication: A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public. New York. 2009. 15.
 Marx S. M., Weber E. U., Orlov B. S., Leiserowitz A., Krantz D. H., Roncoli C., Phillips J.: “Communication and mental processes: Experiential and analytic processing of uncertain climate information.” Global Environmental Change. 2007. 17:47–58.
 Wright S.: “Introduction.” The Art of Life: Understanding How Participation in Arts and Culture Can Affect Our Values. Mission Models Money & Common Cause. United Kingdom. 2007. 4-6.