Environmental art is a range of artistic practices encompassing both historical approaches to nature in art and more recent ecological and politically motivated types of works.   Environmental art has evolved away from formal concerns, for example monumental earthworks using earth as a sculptural material, towards a deeper relationship to systems, processes and phenomena in relationship to social concerns.  Integrated social and ecological approaches developed as an ethical, restorative stance emerged in the 1990s.  Over the past ten years environmental art has become a focal point of exhibitions around the world as the social and cultural aspects of climate change come to the forefront.
The term "environmental art" often encompasses "ecological" concerns but is not specific to them.  It primarily celebrates an artist's connection with nature using natural materials.   The concept is best understood in relationship to historic earth/Land art and the evolving field of ecological art. The field is interdisciplinary in the fact that environmental artists embrace ideas from science and philosophy. The practice encompasses traditional media, new media and critical social forms of production. The work embraces a full range of landscape/environmental conditions from the rural, to the suburban and urban as well as urban/rural industrial.
It can be argued that environmental art began with the Paleolithic cave paintings of our ancestors. While no landscapes have (yet) been found, the cave paintings represented other aspects of nature important to early humans such as animals and human figures. "They are prehistoric observations of nature. In one-way or another, nature for centuries remained the preferential theme of creative art."  More modern examples of environmental art stem from landscape painting and representation. When artists painted onsite they developed a deep connection with the surrounding environment and its weather and brought these close observations into their canvases. John Constable's sky paintings "most closely represent the sky in nature".  Monet's London Series also exemplifies the artist's connection with the environment. "For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life, the air and the light, which vary continually for me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere that gives subjects their true value." 
Contemporary painters, such as Diane Burko represent natural phenomena—and its change over time—to convey ecological issues, drawing attention to climate change.   Alexis Rockman's landscapes depict a sardonic view of climate change and humankind's interventions with other species by way of genetic engineering. 
The growth of environmental art as a "movement" began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In its early phases it was most associated with sculpture—especially Site-specific art, Land art and Arte povera—having arisen out of mounting criticism of traditional sculptural forms and practices that were increasingly seen as outmoded and potentially out of harmony with the natural environment.
In October 1968, Robert Smithson organized an exhibition at Dwan Gallery in New York titled “Earthworks.” The works in the show posed an explicit challenge to conventional notions of exhibition and sales, in that they were either too large or too unwieldy to be collected; most were represented only by photographs, further emphasizing their resistance to acquisition.  For these artists escaping the confines of the gallery and modernist theory was achieved by leaving the cities and going out into the desert.
”They were not depicting the landscape, but engaging it; their art was not simply of the landscape, but in it as well.”  This shift in the late 1960s and 1970s represents an avant garde notion of sculpture, the landscape and our relationship with it. The work challenged the conventional means to create sculpture, but also defied more elite modes of art dissemination and exhibition, such as the Dwan Gallery show mentioned earlier. This shift opened up a new space and in doing so expanded the ways in which work was documented and conceptualized. 
Just as the earthworks in the deserts of the west grew out of notions of landscape painting, the growth of public art stimulated artists to engage the urban landscape as another environment and also as a platform to engage ideas and concepts about the environment to a larger audience. While this earlier work was mostly created in the deserts of the American west, the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s saw works moving into the public landscape. Artists like Robert Morris began engaging county departments and public arts commissions to create works in public spaces such as an abandoned gravel pit.  Herbert Bayer used a similar approach and was selected to create his Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks in 1982. The project served functions such as erosion control, a place to serve as a reservoir during high rain periods, and a 2.5 acre park during dry seasons.  Lucy Lippard's groundbreaking book, on the parallel between contemporary land art and prehistoric sites, examined the ways in which these prehistoric cultures, forms and images have "overlaid" onto the work of contemporary artists working with the land and natural systems. 
In 1965, Alan Sonfist introduced a key environmentalist idea of bringing nature back into the urban environment with his first historical Time Landscape sculpture, proposed to New York City in 1965 and revealed to the public in 1978 in a mature, grown state. Time Landscape remains visible to this day at the corner of Houston and LaGuardia in New York City's Greenwich Village. The work resulted in a "slowly developing forest that represents the Manhattan landscape inhabited by Native Americans and encountered by Dutch settlers in the early 17th century." 
Environmental art also encompasses the scope of the urban landscape. Pioneering environmental artist, Mary Miss began creating art in the urban environment with her 1969 installation, Ropes/Shore, and continues to develop projects involving extended communities through City as a Living Laboratory.  Agnes Denes created a work in downtown Manhattan Wheatfield - A Confrontation (1982) in which she planted a field of wheat on the two-acre site of a landfill covered with urban detritus and rubble. The site is now Battery Park City and the World Financial Center, a transformation from ecologic power to economic power.[ citation needed ]
In 1974, Bonnie Sherk created The Farm in San Francisco, a 7-acre urban garden in underused spaces below freeway overpasses. The farm, until 1980, also served as a community center and art space the provided internships, childhood ecoart education for children, and served as a public park during its six-year existence. 
Andrea Polli's installation Particle Falls made particulate matter in the air visible in a way that passersby could see.  For HighWaterLine Eve Mosher and others walked through neighborhoods in at-risk cities such as New York City and Miami, marking the projected flood damage which could occur as a result of climate change and talking with residents about what they were doing.  
Starting in the 2010's "guerilla gardener" Ron Finley began planting edible gardens in the urban neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles along narrow strips of dirt between the curb and sidewalk. His motivation was to address the effects of the food apartheid in certain neighborhoods including his own, and to encourage healthy eating habits, especially among children.  
Ecological art, also known as ecoart, is an artistic practice or discipline proposing paradigms sustainable with the life forms and resources of our planet.  It is composed of artists, scientists, philosophers and activists who are devoted to the practices of ecological art.  Historical precedents include Earthworks, Land Art, and landscape painting/photography. Ecoart is distinguished by a focus on systems and interrelationships within our environment: the ecological, geographic, political, biological and cultural.  Ecoart creates awareness, stimulates dialogue, changes human behavior towards other species, and encourages the long-term respect for the natural systems we coexist with. It manifests as socially engaged, activist, community-based restorative or interventionist art. Ecological artist, Aviva Rahmani believes that "Ecological art is an art practice, often in collaboration with scientists, city planners, architects and others, that results in direct intervention in environmental degradation. Often, the artist is the lead agent in that practice." 
There are numerous approaches to ecoart including but not limited to: representational artworks that address the environment through images and objects; remediation projects that restore polluted environments;  activist projects that engage others and activate change of behaviors and/or public policy;  time-based social sculptures that involves communities in monitoring their landscapes and taking a participatory role in sustainable practices; ecopoetic projects that initiate a re-envisioning and re-enchantment with the natural world, inspiring healing and co-existence with other species; direct-encounter artworks that involve natural phenomena such as water, weather, sunlight, or plants;  pedagogical artworks that share information about environmental injustice and ecological problems such as water and soil pollution and health hazards; relational aesthetics that involve sustainable, off-the-grid, permaculture existences.[ citation needed ]
There is discussion and debate among ecoartists regarding whether ecological art should be considered a discrete discipline within the arts, distinct from environmental art. A current definition of ecological art, drafted collectively by the EcoArtNetwork is "Ecological art is an art practice that embraces an ethic of social justice in both its content and form/materials. Ecoart is created to inspire caring and respect, stimulate dialogue, and encourage the long-term flourishing of the social and natural environments in which we live. It commonly manifests as socially engaged, activist, community-based restorative or interventionist art."  The global community ArtTech NatureCulture, which convenes over 400 creative practitioners engaged in ecological art forms across disciplines, states: "In precarious times, how can we build new ways forward that challenge and transform the many inequalities of the status quo? Our ways of addressing this are as diverse as our backgrounds, but we are united by a shared interest in using creative practices across disciplines (from arts, design, culture and hacking to science, technology and activism) to explore alternative futures that rethink, rebuild and heal."  Co-founder Kit Braybrooke has described the reason for ArtTech NatureCulture as "alone, we face climate grief and instability, but together, we rebuild." 
Artists who work in this field generally subscribe to one or more of the following principles: focus on the web of interrelationships in our environment—on the physical, biological, cultural, political, and historical aspects of ecological systems; create works that employ natural materials or engage with environmental forces such as wind, water, or sunlight; reclaim, restore, and remediate damaged environments; inform the public about ecological dynamics and the environmental problems we face; revise ecological relationships, creatively proposing new possibilities for coexistence, sustainability, and healing. 
Contributions by women in the area of EcoArt are significant. Many are cataloged in WEAD, Women Environmental Artists Directory founded in 1995 by Jo Hanson, Susan Leibovitz Steinman and Estelle Akamine.  The work of ecofeminist writers inspired early male and female practitioners to address their concerns about a more horizontal relationship to environmental issues in their own practices. The feminist art writer Lucy Lippard, writing for the Weather Report Show she curated in 2007 at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, which included many environmental, ecological and ecofeminist artists, commented on how many of those artists were women. 
Within environmental art, a crucial distinction can be made between environmental artists who do not consider the possible damage to the environment that their artwork may incur, and those whose intent is to cause no harm to nature. For example, despite its aesthetic merits, the American artist Robert Smithson's celebrated sculpture Spiral Jetty (1969) inflicted permanent damage upon the landscape he worked with, using a bulldozer to scrape and cut the land, with the spiral itself impinging upon the lake. Similarly, criticism was raised against the European sculptor Christo when he temporarily wrapped the coastline at Little Bay, south of Sydney, Australia, in 1969. Conservationists' comments attracted international attention in environmental circles and led contemporary artists in the region to rethink the inclinations of land art and site-specific art.[ citation needed ]
Sustainable art is produced with consideration for the wider impact of the work and its reception in relationship to its environments (social, economic, biophysical, historical, and cultural). Some artists choose to minimize their potential impact, while other works involve restoring the immediate landscape to a natural state. 
British sculptor Richard Long has for several decades made temporary outdoor sculptural work by rearranging natural materials found on site, such as rocks, mud and branches, which will therefore have no lingering detrimental effect.[ citation needed ] Chris Drury instituted a work entitled "Medicine Wheel" which was the fruit and result of a daily meditative walk, once a day, for a calendar year. The deliverable of this work was a mandala of mosaicked found objects: nature art as process art.[ citation needed ]
Leading environmental artists such British artist and poet, Hamish Fulton, Dutch sculptor Herman de Vries, the Australian sculptor John Davis and the British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy similarly leave the landscape they have worked with unharmed; in some cases they have revegetated damaged land with appropriate indigenous flora in the process of making their work. In this way the work of art arises out of a sensitivity towards habitat.[ citation needed ]
Perhaps the most celebrated instance of environmental art in the late 20th century was 7000 Oaks , an ecological action staged at Documenta during 1982 by Joseph Beuys, in which the artist and his assistants highlighted the condition of the local environment by planting 7000 oak trees throughout and around the city of Kassel.[ citation needed ]
Other eco-artists reflect on our human engagement with the natural world, and create ecologically informed artworks that focus on transformation or reclamation. Ecoart writer and theoretician Linda Weintraub coined the term, "cycle-logical" to describe the correlation between recycling and psychology. The 21st century notion of artists' mindful engagement with their materials harkens back to paleolithic midden piles of discarded pottery and metals from ancient civilizations.  Weintraub cites the work of MacArthur Fellow Sarah Sze who recycles, reuses, and refurbishes detritus from the waste stream into elegant sprawling installations. Her self-reflective work draws our attention to our own cluttered lives and connection to consumer culture.  Brigitte Hitschler's Energy field drew power for 400 red diodes from the to-be-reclaimed potash slag heap upon which they were installed, using art and science to reveal hidden material culture.  [ better source needed ]
Ecological artist and activist, Beverly Naidus, creates installations that address environmental crises, nuclear legacy issues, and creates works on paper that envision transformation.  Her community-based permaculture project, Eden Reframed remediates degraded soil using phytoremediation and mushrooms resulting in a public place to grow and harvest medicinal plants and edible plants. Naidus is an educator having taught at the University of Washington, Tacoma for over ten years, where she created the Interdisciplinary Studio Arts in Community curriculum merging art with ecology and socially engaged practices.  Naidus's book, Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame is a resource for teachers, activists and artists.  Sculptor and installation artist Erika Wanenmacher was inspired by Tony Price in her development of works addressing creativity, mythology, and New Mexico's nuclear presence.  Oregon based artist and arborist Richard Reames uses grafting techniques to produce his works of arborsculpture and arbortecture. He uses time-based processes of multiple plantings of trees that are then shaped by bending, pruning, grafting, in ways that are similar to pleaching and espalier. These works have ecological advantages including carbon dioxide sequestration, habitat creation and climate change mitigation. 
Renewable energy sculpture is another recent development in environmental art. In response to the growing concern about global climate change, artists are designing explicit interventions at a functional level, merging aesthetical responses with the functional properties of energy generation or saving. Practitioners of this emerging area often work according to ecologically informed ethical and practical codes that conform to Ecodesign criteria. Andrea Polli Queensbridge Wind Power Project is an example of experimental architecture, incorporating wind turbines into a bridge's structure to recreate aspects of the original design as well as lighting the bridge and neighbouring areas.  Ralf Sander's public sculpture, the World Saving Machine, used solar energy to create snow and ice outside the Seoul Museum of Art in the hot Korean summer. 
Land art, variously known as Earth art, environmental art, and Earthworks, is an art movement that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, largely associated with Great Britain and the United States but that also includes examples from many countries. As a trend, "land art" expanded boundaries of art by the materials used and the siting of the works. The materials used were often the materials of the Earth, including the soil, rocks, vegetation, and water found on-site, and the sites of the works were often distant from population centers. Though sometimes fairly inaccessible, photo documentation was commonly brought back to the urban art gallery.
Environmental psychology is a branch of psychology that explores the relationship between humans and the external world. It examines the way in which the natural environment and our built environments shape us as individuals. Environmental Psychology emphasizes how humans change the environment and how the environment changes humans' experiences and behaviors. The field defines the term environment broadly, encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments. According to an article on APA Psychnet, environmental psychology is when a person thinks of a plan, travels to a certain place, and follows through with the plan throughout their behavior.
Alan Sonfist is a New York City based American artist best known as a "pioneer" and a "trailblazer" of the Land or Earth Art movement.
Ecospirituality connects the science of ecology with spirituality. It brings together religion and environmental activism. Ecospirituality has been defined as "a manifestation of the spiritual connection between human beings and the environment." The new millennium and the modern ecological crisis has created a need for environmentally based religion and spirituality. Ecospirituality is understood by some practitioners and scholars as one result of people wanting to free themselves from a consumeristic and materialistic society. Ecospirituality has been critiqued for being an umbrella term for concepts such as deep ecology, ecofeminism, and nature religion.
Eco-nationalism is a synthesis of nationalism and green politics. Eco-nationalists may be from many points across the left–right political spectrum, but all are bound to the idea that the nation-state and its citizens have a special duty to protect the environment of their country.
Stacy Levy is a sculptor who works with ecological natural patterns and processes, often using water and water flows as a medium. Many of her works address environmental problems at the same time that they make the functioning of the environment visible. Her studio is based in rural Pennsylvania, but she works on projects around the world.
Ecological design or ecodesign is an approach to designing products and services that gives special consideration to the environmental impacts of a product over its entire lifecycle. Sim Van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan define it as "any form of design that minimizes environmentally destructive impacts by integrating itself with living processes." Ecological design can also be defined as the process of integrating environmental considerations into design and development with the aim of reducing environmental impacts of products through their life cycle.
Patricia Johanson is an American artist. Johanson is known for her large-scale art projects that create aesthetic and practical habitats for humans and wildlife. She designs her functional art projects, created with and in the natural landscape, to solve infrastructure and environmental problems, but also to reconnect city-dwellers with nature and with the history of a place. These project designs date from 1969, making her a pioneer in the field of ecological-art Johanson's work has also been classified as Land Art, Environmental Art, Site-specific Art and Garden Art. Her early paintings and sculptures are part of Minimalism.
Ecological art is an art genre and artistic practice that seeks to preserve, remediate and/or vitalize the life forms, resources and ecology of Earth. Ecological art practitioners do this by applying the principles of ecosystems to living species and their habitats throughout the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere, including wilderness, rural, suburban and urban locations. Ecological art is a distinct genre from Environmental art in that it involves functional ecological systems-restoration, as well as socially engaged, activist, community-based interventions. Ecological art also addresses politics, culture, economics, ethics and aesthetics as they impact the conditions of ecosystems. Ecological art practitioners include artists, scientists, philosophers and activists who often collaborate on restoration, remediation and public awareness projects.
Jackie Brookner was an ecological artist, writer, and educator. She worked with ecologists, design professionals, engineers, communities, and policy-makers on water remediation/public art projects for parks, wetlands, rivers, and urban stormwater runoff. In these projects, local resources become the focal point of community collaboration and collective creative agency.
Women Eco Artists Dialog (WEAD) is non-profit arts organization focused on environmental and social justice art by female identified artists and researchers.
Ecovention was a term invented by Amy Lipton and Sue Spaid in 1999 to refer to an ecological art intervention in environmental degradation. The Ecovention movement in art is associated with land art, earthworks, and environmental art, and landscape architecture, but remains its own distinct category. Many ecoventions bear tendencies similar to public works projects such as sewage and waste-water treatment plants, public gardens, landfills, mines, and sustainable building projects.
Linda Weintraub is an American art writer, educator and curator. She has written several books on contemporary art. Her most recent works address environmental consciousness that defines the ways cultures approach art, science, ethics, philosophy, politics, manufacturing, and architecture.
Aviva Rahmani is an Ecological artist whose public and ecological art projects have involved collaborative interdisciplinary community teams with scientists, planners, environmentalists and other artists. Her projects range from complete landscape restorations to museum venues that reference painting, sound and photography.
Ecofeminist art emerged in the 1970s in response to ecofeminist philosophy, that was particularly articulated by writers such as Carolyn Merchant, Val Plumwood, Donna Haraway, Starhawk, Greta Gaard, Karen J. Warren, and Rebecca Solnit. Those writers emphasized the significance of relationships of cultural dominance and ethics expressed as sexism (Haraway), spirituality (Starhawk), speciesism, capitalist values that privilege objectification and the importance of vegetarianism in these contexts (Gaard). The main issues Ecofeminism aims to address revolve around the effects of a "Eurocentric capitalist patriarchal culture built on the domination of nature, and the domination of woman 'as nature'. The writer Luke Martell in the Ecology and Society journal writes that 'women' and 'nature' are both victims of patriarchal abuse and "ideological products of the Enlightenment culture of control." Ecofeminism argues that we must become a part of nature, living with and among it. We must recognize that nature is alive and breathing and work against the passivity surrounding it that is synonymous with the passive roles enforced upon women by patriarchal culture, politics, and capitalism.
Eve Andree Laramee is an installation artist whose works explores four primary themes: legacy of the atomic age, history of science, environment and ecology, social conditions. Her interdisciplinary artworks operate at the confluence of art and science. She is currently professor and chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Pace University. Laramee currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is also the founder and director of ART/MEDIA for a Nuclear Free Future.
Karen McCoy is an American visual artist whose work focuses on sculpture, environmental art, walking art, and land art. She resides in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is a professor emeritus in sculpture and social practice at the Kansas City Art Institute. She also taught sculpture and design at Williams College (1987-1994), Colby College (1987), and the University of Minnesota-Morris (1982-1985).
Blane De St. Croix is an artist best known for his monumental landscape sculptures and installations.
Ecofiction is the branch of literature that encompasses nature or environment-oriented works of fiction. While this super genre's roots are seen in classic, pastoral, magical realism, animal metamorphoses, science fiction, and other genres, the term ecofiction did not become popular until the 1970s when various movements created the platform for an explosion of environmental and nature literature, which also inspired ecocriticism. Ecocriticism is the study of literature and the environment from an interdisciplinary point of view, where literature scholars analyze texts that illustrate environmental concerns and examine the various ways literature treats the subject of nature. Environmentalists have claimed that the human relationship with the ecosystem often went unremarked in earlier literature.
Ecological grief, also known as climate grief, refers to the sense of loss that arises from experiencing or learning about environmental destruction or climate change. Environmental grief can be defined as "the grief reaction stemming from the environmental loss of ecosystems by natural and man-made events." Another definition is "the grief felt in relation to experienced or anticipated ecological losses, including the loss of species, ecosystems, and meaningful landscapes due to acute or chronic environmental change." For example, scientists witnessing the decline of Australia's Great Barrier Reef report experiences of anxiety, hopelessness, and despair.