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Meet Atmos

The magazine established in 2019 confronting social and climatic injustice

Meet Atmos - illustration 1

A page from the ATMOS issue WeareEarth

Atmos Magazine is designed to discuss climate crisis problem-solving in a compassionate and creative way. Artsper's team sat down with the Atmos site editor, Daphne Chouliaraki Milner to talk all things environment, art and why now is the time to join the fight for our climate.

1. Can you talk about Atmos, its origins, and how it got to where it is today? How would you describe the core mission and ethos of the publication?

Atmos was created in 2019 by our wonderful founders Willow Defebaugh and Jake Sargent, who met after years working in the culture space. They were brought together by their shared desire to report on the climate crisis from a position of empathy, creativity and problem-solving. The rest is history. Our mission is to bring together writers, artists and activists devoted to ecological and social justice, creative storytelling and to the re-enchantment of the natural world. We are driven by care and compassion and a sense of urgency about the fragile state of our planet. And we are dedicated to amplifying voices with a wide range of experiences. There are so many stories still waiting to be told and—as Vanessa Nakate said during a recent conversation we had—every story also has a solution to offer.

2. Atmos promotes a wide range of content from spiritual leaders, to fashion designers, musicians, and more. How do you find your partners and what motivates you to work with them?

It's a real mix. We are lucky to have an international team based across three continents. Each team member has a pool of people they are inspired by that are local to them. We also try to stay in conversation with previous contributors—asking what they're up to, who they're working with or who and what inspires them. And then I also look to social media as a way to expand our list of contributors—if I come across a photographer or activist I'm inspired by, I'll share their details with the team. I think the main reason I'd want to work with someone is their ethos and attitude towards collaborative work; on a personal level, I like working with kind, thoughtful people who share the same values as Atmos regarding social and climate justice.

Meet Atmos - illustration 1
Meet Atmos - illustration 1

On the left: Atmos, the front cover of Volume 06-Beyond by Theo de Gueltzl. On the right: A page from Atmos-CourseCorrection by Philip-Daniel Decasse

3. Your artistic direction is driven by the beauty of nature. Do you have any environmental artists from which you gain inspiration?

Absolutely—probably too many to mention. I love photography, so I'd say Camila Falquez, Cristina Mittermeier, Leslie Zhang, Eddie Wrey, Alexandra Leese, Nadine Ijewere, Cho Gi Seok and Philip-Daniel Ducasse (who shot one of our covers for Issue 06: Beyond) are some of the names that come to mind. I'd also recommend seeking out the work of fine artist Mr Wash, who our creative director Rana Toofanian worked with on a story about reimagining rehabilitation for our last issue, as well as painter Jatinder Singh Durhailay. Agnes Denes is another name that stood out. I'd also take this opportunity to spotlight the work of writers like Ruth H. Hokpins, Whitney Bauck, Rachel Cargle, Mary Hegler, Adam Mahoney, Amy Westerwelt, Akshat Rathi and—of course—Atmos EIC Willow Defebaugh, all of whom continue to push the conversation about climate justice forward.

4. To expand upon the previous question, how can artists or creative individuals use their work to speak about the environment?

I think that all stories are about the environment—in one way or another—because we exist as part of the Earth. And I also believe in the power of these stories to enact change. Data is hugely important to the climate movement because they offer us an overview of the environmental and social changes that are taking place on the planet as a result of human activity. But stories are what help us to imagine alternative futures; to visualize the endless possibilities of what we can achieve if we come together. In a world that's built on domination, subjugation and extraction, art is what helps us foster kindness, compassion, generosity, community, kinship. These are all vital to the fight for climate justice.

Meet Atmos - illustration 1
Meet Atmos - illustration 1

On the left: Atmos, Volume 06-Beyond by Camila Falquez, back cover. On the right: Atmos homepage

5. There is a great deal of scientific information on Atmos, do you work with scientists or an outside party to source your factual evidence? If so, what is this process like?

We are fortunate to have a fantastic climate director, Yessenia Funes, who is hugely knowledgeable on all the latest scientific developments within the climate sector. And we always do our due diligence, ensuring every stat we run is fact checked against reputable sources. We also work closely with contributors from across academic sectors, such as environmental scientist and Fresh Banana Leaves author Dr. Jessica Hernandez or Dr. Jiaying Zhao and Dr. Elizabeth Dunn of Happy Climate, on stories at the intersection of science, climate and culture.

6. For our readers who are interested in learning more about how they can be a part of the solution, what advice can you provide them?

I can only speak from my experience, but what I remind myself of is this: you are never too small to make a difference. It's easy to feel the overwhelming weight of the climate crisis and think that no individual action can change things in a significant way. And that's true in the sense that we need changes at a policy level to regulate the environmental impact of large corporations and governments, both of which are disproportionately responsible for the climate crisis. But, there is power in people coming together for a common cause, and that starts with individual acts of resilience and resistance. I also look to individuals like Sonya Renee Taylor and Professor Loretta Ross, who have shown the revolutionary potential of self-love, of compassion for yourself and others, to transform the world. Nurturing a loving and empathetic outlook is what builds communities of people who truly see the humanity in their peers and care for them in honest and meaningful ways. It's a mindset that breaks down the divisions we are taught to believe are forever—like the perceived separation between the human and natural world. That's inspiring to me.

7. Atmos has clearly taken on a committed initiative regarding the climate and culture. How do you see this message evolving in the coming months and years?

It's going to become all the more urgent. The effects of the climate crisis are already being felt in many parts of the world. It's something that, in a few years, no one will be able to ignore.

Their favourite artworks

Our recommendations Mike Hall, Breakfast Table, Painting

Mike Hall

Breakfast Table, 2018
15.7 x 13.4 x 0.4 inch


Hélène Duclos, Regarder les choses avec distance #2, Painting

Hélène Duclos

Regarder les choses avec distance #2, 2021
28.7 x 36.2 x 2 inch


Our recommendations Hélène Duclos, Prendre l'air 3, Painting

Hélène Duclos

Prendre l'air 3, 2020
18.1 x 21.7 inch


Our recommendations Thonton Kabeya, La Rumba Rosa, Painting

Thonton Kabeya

La Rumba Rosa, 2021
14.2 x 9.4 x 1.2 inch


Our recommendations Thierry Genay, Trois Tomates, Photography

Thierry Genay

Trois Tomates, 2020
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.4 inch


Kanika Goel, Leisure, Painting

Kanika Goel

Leisure, 2021
24 x 48 x 2 inch


Our recommendations Sergio Ceccotti, Souvenir d’un café parisien, Painting

Sergio Ceccotti

Souvenir d’un café parisien, 2021
25.6 x 31.5 inch


Noyem Khachatryan, Mountainous Landscape, Painting

Noyem Khachatryan

Mountainous Landscape, 2021
35.4 x 47.2 x 0.8 inch


Our recommendations Araceli Rodas, Rupture of greatness, Painting

Araceli Rodas

Rupture of greatness, 2019
39.4 x 47.2 inch


Sylvie K. Paulic, La fille au café, Painting

Sylvie K. Paulic

La fille au café, 2021
23.6 x 23.6 x 0.7 inch


Mara Toledo, On aura de la confiture de jabuticaba, Painting

Mara Toledo

On aura de la confiture de jabuticaba, 2021
19.7 x 27.6 x 1.2 inch


Marie France Garrigues, Intèrieur Jour, Painting

Marie France Garrigues

Intèrieur Jour, 2021
36.2 x 28.7 x 0.8 inch


Our recommendations Nathan Chantob, Dyptique du dimanche, Painting

Nathan Chantob

Dyptique du dimanche, 1971
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.4 inch


Julie Dauchez Diabate, Danny (tresses), Painting

Julie Dauchez Diabate

Danny (tresses), 2022
24.4 x 19.7 inch