Climate change activists and scientists have been campaigning for years about humanity’s bleak future. Their voices were ignored or just a bleep in significant news broadcasts, between sports and politics; politicians have yet to take meaningful actions to prevent climate catastrophe.
In this latest election, none of the runners for government seats have put it on their agenda. The subject is not popular. Perhaps out of desperation or frustration, multiple climate change activist groups targeted priceless arts to get attention to their cause; they feel that the danger of climate change on humanity is not a priority on the agenda of government leaders, and they are not wrong.
Museums and Galleries Moment of Panic
Climate activists threw paint and soup cans, then glued their hands to the protective glass of iconic paintings worldwide. “Primavera” by Botticelli, at the Uffizi Gallery in Italy. Picasso’santi-war painting “Massacre in Korea” is at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and Gustav Klimt’s “Death and Life” is at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, Austria. Protesters have used the billion-dollar art world as their platform to be heard. Several Climate Activist Groups have claimed responsibility for the different protests in Europe, the U.S., and Australia.
Civil disobedience has always been a part of activism through controversy and public disruption to alert the public to their cause; the objective is to gather more attention. Hans-Peter Wipplinger, the director of the Leopold Museum, said: “that the concerns of the climate activists were justified. Still, attacking works of art is the wrong way to implement the targeted goal of preventing the predicted climate collapse”.
Nonviolent Civil Disobedience.
The art market is a hundred billion dollars; when auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s put on the auction of Klimt, Picasso, and Goya…. all eyes worldwide are on. I think using the drastic action in various galleries or museums to get the world’s attention to Global Warming, the destabilization of our Ozone, and the extreme weather (without damaging the artwork) got their cause on the front page for a moment.
U.S. climate activists at the Cop27
The U.S. has been named the “colossal fossil” of the COP27 by Climate action groups for blocking progress on global heating by rejecting payments to poorer countries and for their inflexibility to aid countries hit hardest by the climate crisis. The 27th annual assembly on climate action is now closed. Heads of State, ministers, negotiators, lobbies, and climate activists have met in Egypt at the coastal city of Sharm el-Sheekh. A lot is at stake; a recession in the global economy does not help the climate agenda. The question is, will global leaders rally to avoid near-future global disasters?
By engaging in such actions, climate change activists draw attention to the urgent need for action on climate change. Still, extreme actions like damaging artworks can shift the focus away from the core issue of climate change. Instead of discussing solutions and engaging in constructive debates, attention may be directed towards destructive actions.
The other Alternatives to Raise Awareness.
1. Education and awareness campaigns:
Activists can organize educational events, workshops, and conferences to inform people about the importance of climate change and its impact on the environment. They can utilize social media, documentaries, and other platforms to spread information and engage with a broader audience.
2. Peaceful protests and demonstrations:
Activists can stage peaceful protests and demonstrations to draw attention to climate change issues. This can involve rallies, marches, and strikes, where participants advocate for policy changes and sustainable practices.
3. Artistic expressions:
Instead of damaging artworks, activists can use art as a medium to convey their message. They can create climate-themed installations, sculptures, paintings, or performances to spark conversations and provoke thought.
4. Collaborations and partnerships:
Activists can partner with various groups and organizations, including environmental organizations, scientists, businesses, and policymakers. They can create impactful initiatives and projects that promote sustainable practices and mitigate climate change by working together.
5. Engaging with policymakers:
Activists can actively engage with local, national, and international policymakers to advocate for stronger environmental regulations and policies. This can involve attending public hearings, consultations, and lobbying for climate-friendly initiatives.
6. Consumer choices and lifestyle changes:
Activists can encourage individuals to make sustainable choices in their daily lives, such as reducing waste, using renewable energy, and supporting eco-friendly products and services. This can be done through public awareness campaigns and providing resources for sustainable living.
These methods are just a few examples, and there are many more creative ways for climate change activists to raise awareness without resorting to damaging artworks.
Is there any moment when violence is justified to seek the changes one seeks? I understand an activist group’s frustrations; they are trying to move leaders from another generation; money and profit margins are their guidelines; logic and world welfare are not priorities. The best example is the Industrial Revolution; today, we can see that what was seen as progress was beneficial to a few while most lived and worked in appalling conditions.
We must take climate change seriously, or the consequences will be direr to humanity. Violence and disruption should not be an option; history has shown that when masses get together with no violence, they move mountains, while violence has left a footnote in the pages of history. I would love to hear your opinion on this subject.
Born in Turkey, Sibel Meydan Johnson lived and studied in Mons Belgium most of her life. She graduated with honors with a major in Liberal Arts.
In 1990 Sibel left her hometown for New York City. She worked for several years as a production assistant for " En Plein Air Masters" one of the first online plein air artists mentor programs then as director of production for Brush With Life TV’s series on visual art.
Today Sibel is an autodidact painter, Freelance writer specializing in art and the business of art. Mother and wife, she is a full-time artist.
Sibel's art captures and brings forth the hidden emotion of his subjects and evoke a sense of curiosity and introspection pushing the boundaries of creativity and expression, her work often combines elements of abstraction and realism, creating a unique and captivating visual experience that sometimes disturb the viewers.