IT'S ONLY EXTREME WEATHER

  There are some topics that I can't wait to tackle even while being overwhelmed with where to start. Climate change is probably the best example not only because of its complexity and enormity, but because of the myriad of issues that arise from it. I could make a piece (or series of pieces) on just the environmental effects: rising sea levels, unprecedented levels of species endangerment and extinction, growing loss of all habitats from coastlines to rainforests, increasingly "extreme weather" patterns which result in floods, fires, hurricanes, and temperature intensities we've never experienced before. Or I could focus on the varied effects as they relate to people: how the most vulnerable populations are the most susceptible and least prepared to survive the changing environment, how some people are being forced to change lifestyles because of the "new normal" while some make predominantly symbolic changes while some continue to refuse to believe in climate change altogether. These major focal points then branch into numerous other subtopics: how different countries are responding to climate change, how different socioeconomic classes and cultures view climate change, how science has become more irrefutable in the causes and possible solutions but has also seen a higher resistance than ever before, and of course how climate change has become more and more politicized rather than a global rally to action.

   The difficulty of trying to do one piece on climate change as a whole is what inspired me to break it down into a series of smaller pieces and at 12" x 12" each, they're the smallest series I've yet attempted. The main body of each collage is made of beautiful landscapes - usually taken from calendars I receive from the environmental organizations I' regularly donate to - but each landscape has been burned to reveal effects of climate change underneath. Some are pollution, landfills, or our current broken recycling system where others are flooding waters, wildfires, or decimated former rainforest. Each piece has a person, or group of people, living luxuriously and oblivious to the changes in their beautiful environments even as the skies threaten with lightening and clocks tick ominously above. Their love for nature is shown in an expensive item of jewelry that resembles something taken from the natural world, but not in their action (or lack of it). Finally, each piece is framed in pieces of plastic trash bags, referring to how our obsession with one-use plastics has contributed to the deterioration of the environment, and how, even in knowing, we still resist the simplest changes.  These pieces represent the most frustrating and disheartening part of climate change for me - those who have the power, money, and ability to make the most meaningful and powerful changes, yet, who in order to preserve their privileged lifestyle, do nothing as the world burns.

©2020 by G. E. Vogt

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