GreenSpace Archive

funny environment kiosk display
The Environment Can Be Funny
Summer/Fall 2014

Exhibit Description

Inspired by a course taught by Jenny Price, Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities, in spring 2014 called The Environment Can Be Funny, this exhibit explores the intersection of the environment and comedy. Price asked students to analyze and demonstrate how satire, sarcasm, and comedy of all stripes can be used to explore and poke fun at environmental issues. From the degradation of the environment to the self-righteousness of environmentalists, all was fair game. “Why do people see environmentalists as humorless and pious?” asks Price. “I’m asking the students to make the environment funny, and to use humor to persuade, communicate about, and critique the environmental movement. How might making the environment funny help us to communicate more effectively and possibly help promote change?” she said. The syllabus for the course included everything from reading essays and books such as Slow Violence and Environmentalism of the Poor, to watching a live taping in Manhattan of the Jon Stewart Show and viewing television  shows such as Portlandia (“Is it Local?”) and The Simpsons (“Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish”).

Related Resources

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    Download the entire pilot here.

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  • joke card

    Four humorous environmental jokes are also on display including this question: If you live in an igloo, what's the worst thing about global warming?

    Answer: No privacy!

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    Safety Guide to Genetically Modified Organisms

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  • environment can be funny class photo

    Students in Jenny Price's 'The Environment Can Be Funny' class pose wearing trash, which they donned for a project designed by Summer Hanson '16 (front left), Jacob Scheer '15 (not pictured), and Madeline Stecy '14 (front center). The project was one of five public 'Art Actions' with an environmental message performed that day.

    Photo credit: PEI Staff