Art and the environment; the future

Haven’t we all grown tired of ominous predictions of apocalyptic environmental changes? I mean, we’re not responding very well, now are we? We, the people, hardly save energy and we haven’t exactly cut down consuming. And our governments? Ah, now, that’s a whole different matter. Those who should set boundaries and who should enable us to live more eco-friendly have let us down completely. We’re still importing tons of junk from low-wages countries that do not exactly mind the environment at all. And why is it that we’re still not driving on hydrogen?

So, I cynically wondered, why should I spend more money on organic food? And why should I cut down the amount of meat we eat and turn down the central heating by a degree and wear vests and thick socks to warm me? Or why should I even care not to rinse my brushes in the sink?

That cynicism lasted for a bit. But a sharp little voice kept creaking in the back of my mind somewhere. That if I didn’t make a start, I’d feel miserable ever after. That if some people didn’t make a start, nobody would. Because perhaps, if one person makes a start, others get inspired. And even more important, how can I justify to my children that I didn’t take better care of diminishing my eco footprint so that they’ll have a world to live in and their children?

Yesterday I watched the last episode of the “The Beagle”; a tv documentary series about a team of scientists, writers and artists who sail Darwin’s great journey that inspired him for “The Origin of Species”. The series meant to see how the world really is. In all its beauty and diversity, but also in its dramatic decline for which no other is to blame but man’s hand. The last episode intended to give the status quo. How bad are things REALLY?

Well, they’re bad. They’re so bad that if you really, really, REALLY think about it, you’ll have a hard time falling asleep and sleeping peacefully. The world is declining rapidly and already huge climatic changes are occurring that will have an immense effect on our world. Bio-diversity is diminishing even quicker. And you know what? For the earth, it doesn’t matter. The earth is patient. She’ll live millions of more years. And when the human race has long gone, she’ll have developed new ecological systems with new creatures. But for us, mankind, what is happening is disastrous.

The thing is that for a long time it was theory and opinion. But at this very moment, scientists have been able to measure the damage. And the FACT is that things are so much worse than any scientist had thought it would be. The temperature of the earth is rising ever so much harder than they thought it would. Already, warm areas of the world are turning dry and barren.

The future the Beagle’s team saw, is awful and raw. Migration of millions of people for survival. Wars. Famines. And floodings.

Can we turn the tide?

If what those scientists said, is true, I dare not think what I really think; that it is perhaps too late. But from a humane perspective, I think that it makes no sense to get scared and drown myself into oblivion. I think we must act! Now! Because our children must have a future. And hopefully their children as well.

Granted, technology and science will help us a great deal and can perhaps save a few of our days. But our mentality needs to change. I think the human race must not strive for more, more, more, more and more, but for enough. We can’t use up the resources of the earth or else we’ll become extinct, leaving the world to micro organisms. I think our mindset needs to change from focussing on profit to sustenance. We must of course maintain ourselves, but not at the cost of the earth.

Until now, it was considered deterioration if your profits didn’t grow, if your economical situation didn’t improve in steps. But what if staying put at a certain level (consider the luxury most of us have!) or tuning down a bit (who needs 3 tv sets?) is real progress?

I think we must do something. Do more than we have so far. I think I must do more. I think separating waste isn’t enough. I think that perhaps I must take out my bike instead of driving my car so often. And I think I could also stop buying stuff from low wages countries and invest in stuff that’s made here, that’s more durable and that’s made under better guarded circumstances. No child labour, no toxic pollution. That would be a little change. But I feel like doing more!

My Art! So far I haven’t had the environment in mind when I bought art supplies. But come to think of it, the elements of which art paints consist, are not very eco-friendly! To say the least! Some are downright toxic (like cadmium pigments). So far I’ve been working only with water-based paints, which are a lot less harmful than oil-based paints. But still…I know that there are ec0-friendly water colour paints around. And perhaps there’s also eco-friendly watercolour paper? Or perhaps I can make my own paper and give it a coating that will accept watercolour?

At any rate, I have been thinking about this for a whole day now and I really want to make a change. So, I’m going to look into eco-friendly art supplies and durability. I’ll post results of that here and make a separate page for it. I’ll also try to integrate way more recycling projects into my work. On of which is this:

These are flyers for work wrapped in recycled magazine pages. I bought this template at the bookbinding fair with which you can make your own envelopes very easily. See here how you can make really pretty envelopes with recycles pieces of paper. And here’s more examples:

I know it’s not a lot, but it’s a start to really think about re-using paper and other supplies for my work. It CAN be done. It will take some effort to seek supplies that go better hand in hand with the environment, but I think it will be worth while.

I’m starting with the girl in the mirror!

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