In The Story of More, the 2021–22 One Book One Northwestern selection, author Hope Jahren implores us to join the fight against climate change and illuminates some of the factors that led us to a crisis point. Jahren details how innovations in agriculture, farming, transportation, and the energy sector have led to greater efficiencies, but have also led to losses in biodiversity, extreme weather patterns, and rising oceans. This selection of artworks —drawings, photographs, and prints— from The Block’s collection was inspired by the book, address humans’ impact on the planet, and offer a critique of common practices that edge us closer to a climate emergency.
Americans disproportionately consume more food and expend more energy than the vast majority of people on the planet. Because the United States causes the most damage, individual decisions can have a great impact on the health of the environment. As Jahren points out, it is a compelling reason why Americans should act now. The majority of works here are produced by artists based in the United States, but they examine our relationship to the environment through different historical lenses and from different perspectives.
Inspired byThe Story of More, we selected artworks in the collection that provide historical insights into our ever-evolving relationship to the environment. We also highlighted artists who encourage us to reflect both on the ethical implications of our environmental policies and on the effects of our individual actions.Melanie Garcia Sympson, Curatorial Associate
We invite members of the Northwestern community and beyond to use these works as opportunities to connect to the themes of the text, whether they are used for private contemplation or as a springboard in discussion with others.
The One Book One Northwestern readings help unify the campus around a theme, and the artworks from The Block’s collection help expand the focus by bringing in multiple perspectives and histories. The book inspires close readings of artworks related to themes of climate change and climate crisis, and the artworks can broaden discussions that take place in the classroom and across campus.Corinne Granof, Academic Curator, The Block Museum of Art
About One Book, One Northwestern
One Book One Northwestern is a community‐wide reading program hosted by the Office of the President. It aims to engage the campus in a common conversation centered on a carefully chosen, thought-provoking book. It began in 2005 for students in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and has since evolved into a community-wide program involving students, faculty and staff from all majors and departments.
Everyone is encouraged to read the One Book selection. The Office of the President sends a free copy to incoming first-year and transfer students the summer before they arrive on campus.
Throughout the year, events like lectures, films, and discussion groups provide an opportunity for individuals to gather and talk about the issues presented in the book. Many of these events are open to the public and the entire community is invited to participate.