Sunday, August 21, 2022

Climate activism is now down to stunts.

Italy's Ultima Generazione (the last generation) have done it again. After gluing their hands on the Botticelli apparently without ruining the artwork itself as they only glued their hands on the glass (here) now they have glued their hands again on the base of the sculpture Laocoön and His Sons - in the Vatican museum.

In a statement Ultima Generazione (which had banners saying "ultima generazione no gas no carbone" in both "actions") said " “As witnesses of a crisis ignored for decades, we have chosen to draw attention to our message by drawing close to the figure of Laocoön, the seer who suffered extreme repression for having tried to warn his fellow citizens of an impending catastrophe, there will be no open museums, no art, no beauty in a world plagued by the climate and ecological emergency. Drought, floods, fires, pollution and scarcity of resources will take over if radical choices are not made in this regard.”

Add this to Gustav Martner handing back his Cannes Lions award (here) because he had previously won it working for Volkswagen, and well, I do sincerely think that environmental activism is now down to gimmicks and stunts. Sure, there are people (here's looking at you staunch republicans in the US) who deny that the climate is changing despite it happening under our noses.

You know that Andy Warhol saying "in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes", except that between all the stunts happening simultaneously, and what's with everyone vying for our attention at the same time, and everything happening in different sectors and fields (did you know one in three children in Tigray in Ethiopia is malnourished due to war?), the "15 minutes" have dwindled to 15 seconds.

We barely skim through the headlines. Here's a confession, for someone who is an avid reader (my library is about a thousand books strong) who does nothing but read and analyze all day, I have not - repeat, not - read any article about Ukraine and the war there since it started. Am I suffering any direct effects of the war? I think I am - it seems wheat is not reaching us because of this (though with all the machinations and back-deals on high echelons of Lebanese authorities I can never be sure of that).

So why am I not reading about Ukraine? Because in the echelon of problems and issues I face it barely scratches the surface. I keep reading "provocative" titles such as "the horror of being in Bucha" and whereas I sympathize, I also know that atrocities just as bad are happening in Gaza, Palestine. I do read more about Gaza mind you, but again not as before, because once more, I am drowning in problems and eventually I end up truly stretching the limits of my empathy.

In an over-saturated world, our span limit is decreasing and stunts get much less eyeballs and interest than they used to. And yet, the world is full of more and more gimmicks and stunts.