Banksy's Message And The Plight Of Climate Change
These un-recognized street artists used their art to highlight the effects of climate change and rising ocean levels, and motivated me to do better.
What transcends culture, differences in language and customs will always be art. The power of images to get the message across could never be diminished. It unifies people into one consciousness. That is why these street artists, who are using their talents to highlight the message of climate change, are so important to me.
According to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the rate of our current global warming is occurring 10 times faster than the post-ice age warming and by 2060 the cost of inaction on climate change is predicted to reach a staggering $44 trillion, with the highest anticipated GDP losses in the Middle-East, Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. Also, more than half of the oxygen we breath every day comes from the oceans.
These staggering figures are only the tip of the ice-berg that is the crisis of climate change. Protecting the oceans and coral reefs should be on every body's agenda, and here is my take on how to do that while making art.
Banksy, an England-based anonymous activist, rose to fame through an unconventional means: street murals. Usually, street murals are signed by the people who make them, because they want to be recognized for their hard work. That was not the case for Banksy. He left the murals behind in alleys, to be found by the public while he himself vanished into thin air.
He left behind achingly honest artwork that opened the eyes of the common man by making them think. These artists reached the normal people on a level that no type of verbal text could.
The world's response to Banksy artwork is much the way we are currently treating the topic of climate change. Some look more closely at the message in the art while some think it's all a hoax, much like what Trump thinks of climate change. Banksy has inspired many other street artists to create their work and it is asking people: What are you doing for your planet?
In the above image, he highlights air pollution. He depicts a boy sticking out his tongue, thinking the substances in the air are snowflakes. Banksy let us know what's at stake with this image: the future of our children. If we don't act fast our children will soon wake up to a crisis that is unsolvable.
This image made me think and put me on the path to doing more for climate change. It made me ask myself whether what I consume daily is harming the planet. Am I, through the choices I make while grocery shopping doing all I can to do my part in making things better? My answer was sadly no.
The first thing I took out of my diet was meat. I stopped eating all kinds of meat and started taking protein supplements that enabled me to go without, while being environmentally conscious. I get my ice-cream from Epicurious, a great place for vegans to get non-diary ice-cream.
I'm doing my part.
Through my research I found out a variety of alternatives to meat that can get you your protein without devastating the planet: Beans, soy, lentils and other legumes are excellent alternatives to meat protein. I also found consuming nuts and seeds to be especially helpful. Though nuts are not a perfect solution, it is a start.
The next thing I did- was to take out milk from my diet. I found a variety of plant based milk products that can make your cereal delicious without harming the planet. If like me, you absolutely can't go without milk in your cereal then oat, soy and almond milk available in pretty much every grocery shop in the milk aisle. They will be a healthy and more environmentally friendly alternative.
Another way for my household to be more eco-friendly was investing in renewable energy for electricity needs. We switched to solar thermal for our energy needs by installing a solar thermal panel on the top of our roof where the energy from the sun will be converted to electricity. Solar power is renewable hence reduces our carbon footprint.
Over-fishing is another threat to the oceans so checking labels and making sure companies in which I am invest aren't polluting the oceans or destroying ocean reefs gives me the added consolidation. I make sure that every time I'm visiting the beach, I have a basket to collect any litter I see around the shore line. I have noticed that when I take the lead other people are more than happy to join in.
We must realize that combating climate change is not, by any means, a solitary battle. This crisis concerns all of us on a basic level. Earth is a planet to all of us and the destruction caused by big corporations and subsequent global warming is affecting many people all over the world. It's causing water levels to rise and causing floods and devastation for farmers and low-lying countries all over the world. Climate change is causing devastation that isn't known on a large level and activists who are raising awareness for this crisis must be given a larger platform.
I am a lover of all things fashion; however, fast fashion is the second largest polluting industry in the world. There are a lot of harmful chemicals also being used that are not only used to grow cotton for the clothes, but also in the processing and sorting of the clothes. Hence, I turned my family towards thrifting.
Thrifting is a cheap way to get your clothes and it's also good for the planet. The clothes that are supposed to fill land-fills are instead used by me and my household for our daily needs. After a good wash, I've seen many branded clothes that are available for cheap, good as new. It not only saved me a lot of money, I am ecstatic to realize that I'm also helping the planet by not contributing to the pollution of the planet and the environment.
The easiest way to take care of the planet and conserve water is to close the tap. Conserving water is very necessary to save our oceans because our fresh water sources are limited. A lot of us can do it easily by just closing the tap- while we are brushing our teeth, and making sure our faucets are not leaky. For me quick showers saves my time and water as well.
Not only does this hack save me from paying a large bill at the end of the month, it also helps conserve water for the planet.
Other options I've started employing are using eco-friendly toilet paper, banning the use of single-use plastics in our house as well as employing recycle bins in our convenience store. Recycling is the only way to deal with the myriad of waste we produce.
I also chose to use a bicycle to drive to my office. It reduces my carbon footprint, while giving me much needed exercise to keep my cholesterol in check. This keeps me and the planet healthy. Swapping a bicycle for your car doesn't have to be hard if your office isn't far. I hope the change towards using eco-friendly fuel and cars come faster than later, because they are very much needed in a country like USA.
Last but not the least, what we all can do is to write to our district managers and political leaders asking them about what they are doing to combat climate change. The large corporations are very much to blame for our current global warming crisis. Reducing the use of fast food and meat is my way of bringing change to a planet that is already struggling.
In a world where alternate options are available, destroying our oceans and subsequently our planet further because of greed is not the way to go.