What do the natural world and singing have in common? Combining these two dynamisms into videos is a compelling approach to bring attention to the effects of climate change on our beautiful planet.

Katarzyna Sadej, international opera and concert and classically trained mezzo-soprano, embarked on a project 4 years ago to use her voice as an artivist to highlight environmental issues such as melting glaciers and deforestation. She recently discussed this project with Artivism: The Power of Art for Social Transformation, a multi-institutional collaboration to engage people in changing society through the power of art. Her presentation can be viewed through their Artivism YouTube channel.

Katarzyna, through travels in Switzerland, California and Canada, captured her voice in various landscapes on planet earth, while learning videography skills and operating a mini drone. She experimented with how the voice travels in rocky environments, in snow (it's absorbed), across water, even recording the song-like sounds of the insect world. She has taken hours of footage in the last 4 years, singing, pausing, listening to the quiet and sounds, her operatic style complementing each of the environments, connecting with the evolving landscapes.

Her close-up videos of the insect world caught my attention the most. Raw. Slow. Fast. Scales. Flittering. Layering. Mimicking. Experiential. I watched and listened to this part several times, thought how she so aptly married her voice into this unfamiliar environment.

Opera has not been a genre I have had an interest in following, yet she gave me an appreciation for the training, the hours of practice, and the difference between opera and classical voice. And of course, how the voice can be an instrument to highlight the issues we need to learn more about, to protect our world, to help our climate, to preserve its fragile beauty.

On a final note, Katarzyna also laughingly shared with us a blooper reel - turning the spotlight to the challenges she had to overcome, all the while learning to film in all kinds of weather - and in unexpected - conditions: low oxygen environments, wind captured by the microphones, and even cows. Yes, cows. But the importance of laughing at ourselves as we learn is a message we need to hear, a poignant reminder that, yes, we still have much to learn about preserving our planet.


Katarzyna's YouTube Channel

The Earth Singing Project Presentation to Artivism


"Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try...