As part of our Rethinking Nature Protection art call, we have the pleasure and honour of showcasing the work of five artists in their vision of what decolonization and Nature protection truly means. Creator Hannah Gelderman shares her work and vision in this representation of environmental injustice.

“When I saw the call for artists for the Rethinking Nature Protection campaign from Greenpeace I was immediately interested. Much of my work over the past several years has explored the role of visual arts in the climate justice movement and another branch of my work has been making small collage and print artworks of local plants. The invitation to create works for this campaign was a really lovely way for me to build on some of the ideas and mediums I have already been playing with (and to be fully honest – also help me get out a lull l I have been in the last few months with my artmaking!).

To create artwork to accompany the Rethinking Nature Protection campaign, I was prompted to think about what decolonizing and better protecting nature looks like. As a settler I can’t specifically say what decolonization across so called Canada looks exactly like, for that I can follow the lead of those Indigenous to these lands. But, in a broader sense I envision that in a world where nature is fully protected and decolonized, everyone would have opportunities to be in nature and to feel the interconnections between themselves and the lands they are on. Currently, due to systems of capitalism and colonialism, the reality is that not everyone has things like clean drinking water, access to natural outdoor spaces and clean air to breathe. Working to decolonize, protect and regenerate nature can help build a world where everyone would be able to experience the ways they are intimately connected to the plants, trees, air, water and soil around them in a healthy and just way! 

The four collage based stop motion animations I created depict just a few of the ways our bodies are intertwined with the living natural world. I hope that my artwork, alongside the work of other artists, campaigners, land and water protectors and many others, can help make it readily known that we are alive because we rely on the land and ecosystems around us. This reliance means that protecting nature and dismantling systems of colonialism, capitalism and white supremacy are necessary for the earth to be well and for us to be well on this earth.”

–Hannah Gelderman, creator

About the artist

Hannah Gelderman (she/her) is a settler of Dutch descent, living in the region called amiskwaciwâskahikan, also known as Edmonton, Alberta. She works in the arts as an educator, illustrator and visual artist. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design at the University of Alberta in 2012, and then began to work with a variety of organizations to develop and facilitate art programs for children, youth and adults. Alongside this, Hannah is involved in the climate justice movement (primarily with the group Climate Justice Edmonton), to which she brings extra enthusiasm for arts-based organizing. In 2020, Hannah graduated with a Master of Education in Adult Education and Community Engagement from the University of Victoria. She focussed her research on the role of participatory visual arts in this era of climate crisis, which came together as a series of zines titled Collective Arts for Climate Justice. See her work and get in touch at and on Instagram @hannahgelderman.

© 2022 Greenpeace Canada & Hannah Gelderman. All rights reserved.