Coronavirus and the Environment

It’s Not F*cked – stitched fabric piece

This piece “It’s Not F*cked” is a simple statement of my opinion that with a combined effort we can make a positive impact on the climate crisis. It is a response to anyone that doesn’t see the point in making an effort against environmental issues because “we’re already too far” gone or (as I often hear as an excuse), “we’re already fucked”.

It’s not Fucked is a sentiment that can also be reassuring in times like this pandemic. It’s a simple, playful reminder that we will get through it.

Is there an upside to the current pandemic situation? It seems that lockdown has its environmental benefits in the forms of cleaner rivers, bluer skies, plummeting drops in traffic and pollution levels etc.

“People need to realise that if we control and cut down boat traffic in Venice and its lagoon then we could all discover a unique biosphere.” A quote from Matteo Bisol who runs Venissa a restaurant on the tiny lagoon island of Mazzorb, he has been campaigning for a more eco-responsible, sustainable model of tourism in Venice.

Apparently the clearer waters in Venice are due to the lack of boats, so there is much less disruption on the muddy floor of the canal causing less sediment to rise up. The amount of tourism in Venice (and many other places in the world) is already showing the resilience of nature. It did not disappear, but with less human interruption it will come back and thrive in places where we are usually dominant.

With all of this in mind and the current reliance on science, I wonder…

Why aren’t we treating climate change like an infectious disease?

We are experiencing a pandemic, which means numerous countries on lockdown, experts all over the world working on covid-19. The majority of people are relying on scientists for solutions and guidance. But when it comes to climate change and environmental issues there are more mixed beliefs. People can be very sceptical of the facts around climate concerns, maybe because they often sound so doom and gloom. We need to listen to environmental experts and not be deterred by alarming information in order to make positive changes. We must not be put off by the scale of the issue and always strive to make sustainable choices.

This excerpt is from an article publish on March 5th 2020, shedding some light on how pollution impacts our health.

The Guardian

It is obvious why Coronavirus has to be treated with such urgency. But it is important to recognise that the climate breakdown also poses imminent danger, the effects of which are being felt in many countries already (wildfires, extreme weather, flooding…). The reason that many people disregard environmental issues is that they fail to make a connection between the cause and the consequences. People view the consequences of climate change as something that will happen in the far flung future.

To sum up:

‘Urgent action to prevent a pandemic is of course necessary and pressing. But the climate crisis represents a far graver and deadlier existential threat, and yet the same sense of urgency is absent. Coronavirus shows it can be done – but it needs determination and willpower, which, when it comes to the future of our planet, are desperately lacking.’ (From the above article, Jones, 2020)

Miniature Art

Mini Test 1

Lockdown has caused me and many of my peers at art university to change our way of making. In this strange time we can’t access studio spaces or specialist workshops and in my case most of my materials, which were locked in at uni.

So we have had to adapt, making use of what we might have in the house, or can still get our hands on!

This for me has meant going miniature. My materials and space have decreased so naturally my work has too. I have been testing tiny diorama -esque displays of the area that I live in which is consumed by waste. The result is a quaint representation of urban Leeds, ironic being that the subject matter is throw-away society. I like how the toy-like appearance gets you to look closer, revealing the dirt, bins and litter.

Mini Test 2 – Diorama

I made my diorama out of a few bits I had managed to print at uni before the lockdown (they were only intended for sketchbook documentation) and parts of pictures from old magazines. Having to adapt to a new situation has been stressful and I often feel as if I am having to compromise on the quality of my work. But I have definitely become more resourceful in my practice and I am beginning to see the different work I am producing as a new approach rather then a compromise.

Some miniature inspiration:

Elgin Park – Michael Paul Smith

Elgin Park is Michael Paul Smith’s dream-like reconstruction of a real place.

Zhang Xiangxi

Chinese artist Zhang Xiangxi uses old television sets to create intricately sculpted rooms.

Instagram @monstermailman

I recently came across @monstermailman on Instagram. The best inspiration for hyper realistic miniatures, often of everyday objects.

Christine McConnell’s ginger bread Winchester Mystery House

Christine McConnell is a master at crafts. Many of which are beautiful miniature creations, she has a YouTube channel and even her own Netflix show. I highly recommend looking her up to get you in the mood to make!