Each year for the past seventeen years, photographer and painter J.J. L’Heureux has traveled to Antarctica. She has seen the effects of climate change firsthand and is giving back by teaching the next generation what she has learned.
JJ L’Heureux Giving Back
J.J. exhibited her work in four shows in China (from 2017- 2018). CLICK HERE to find out more about J.J.’s experience.
Q: Tell me about the talks you gave in conjunction to your exhibitions?
A: I talk about the changes I have seen in Antarctica during the past 17 years accompanied by images from my previous 17 expeditions to the Southern Ocean. One talk was accompanied by an Al Gore Climate Change speaker from Italy. Together we started a dialogue at the conference that the attendees could take home to their various countries and think about changes they could incorporate into their businesses and personal lives.
Q: Did you have a translator for these talks?
A: At each talk I had a translator on the opposite side of the stage whom I became friends with. She asked me to write my talk the night before as she might not be familiar with all the specialized words associated with the Southern Ocean, its inhabitants and climate.
Q: It sounds like you have become friends…is that true?
A: Yes – we are close friends after a number of visits. working together and sharing many meals.
Q: In your opinion, do you think that your lectures were successful?
A: The government officials were pleased with my exhibition and talks. China is working at making conservation a priority and tree planting projects appear to be everywhere. I gave a number of talks to different groups. My experience with talks (in China) is they usually do not ask questions after. The audiences are very polite and thoughtful. However they would not want to ask questions I might not be able to answer. After each talk there is tea and snacks and people expressing much interest.
Q: Which talk did you get the biggest response?
A: The University of Michigan has exchange students from the USA and Chinese students working to be fluent in English and have dual degrees. The Michigan Campus is English speaking making my talks and conversations much easier and it was the first time there were questions. The dean asked me to talk about volunteering and giving back at the end of my talk and have a dialogue on conservation, as it is not common for people in China to volunteer.