Meet Gique Susan Israel
Tell us about your background & how it led you to where you are today.
"My background is pretty mainstream, with the exception that I traveled a lot by the time I was 24, starting with my parents when I was young. I remember my mother always saying- "There but for the grace of God go I" when we saw people living in extreme poverty, or without health care or education. I think that was what I took away most- that it is an accident of birth that I had such a great start in life, and that people everywhere are fundamentally the same. So I've always felt that I shouldn't squander the gift of a good start, and I should try to leave the world having somehow improved something. For many years I wound up on a very conventional track, became an architect, had children, was very focused on the daily needs of raising a family and juggling my own practice. But in 2008, hearing more and more about climate change, I knew that I had to do something. I reoriented myself, and have spent the last 8 years working my way towards where I am now- having founded Climate Creatives to help people engage and work on climate change (using art!)."
What motivated you to create Climate Creatives & Energy Necklace Project?
"I had been in my own architecture practice for many years, then started a firm with a partner, when I decide that I wanted to focus full time on the Energy Necklace Project, which is now part of my company Climate Creatives. I realized that I was spending most of my time on Energy Necklace Project, so it was time to leave my architectural practice to work full time on it. Starting a business that uses art to engage people emotionally on sustainability is pretty hair-brained, and I had many friends telling me that I should "go get a job." Fortunately, I have very supportive siblings, and enough friends who go along with my own brand of crazy, that I persevered. I use art in two ways to help people understand the impacts of climate change: workshops where people make art that has a message about climate, and using my public art projects to conveys climate information like sea level rise and endangered species. To stay passionate, I just have to listen to the news, and hear that my work is needed. I also continually learn about the climate and solutions that we can use right now to prevent it from being too severe."
Any words of wisdom?
"Look for a problem to solve. Ultimately, creativity is problem-solving, and once you have an idea, it's on-going problem solving. Every day is a restart. Every set-back is a restart. What did you learn from it? How can you move forward? Life is one long problem-solving experience, so never stop removing or going around obstacles. And find other people who share your vision..Onward!!"
We are witnessing a paradigm shift in climate, energy and resources…Climate Creatives and Energy Necklace Project exercises are an opportunity to leverage our expertise and vision to have a greater impact on the challenges facing our climate and society. We stimulate innovative solutions to the challenges raised by this paradigm shift with engagement and education programs that use art-making, design and public art.