Political lobbyists, the fossil fuel industry, media moguls, and some individuals have spent more than the last 30 years sowing doubts about the reality of climate change; as it just doesn’t exist. It has been estimated that the world’s largest five publicly-owned gas and oil companies have been spending about $200 million a year for lobbying to delay control and block climate protection policies.
Lately, their control of the public has been waning. School climate strikes, movements like Friday for future, extinction rebellion protests, increased media coverage, governments declaring a climate emergency, all such things have been on the rise. There has been an increase in extreme weather conditions which has lead masses to raise their voice on the government’s ignorance of scientific data and evidence.
“When you think about evidence, there’s always this assumption that it has to be accessible to the senses—that you can verify it with your own eyes,” says Dietmar Offenhuber, an associate professor of art, design, and public policy at Northeastern University who contributed to Re: Constructing Evidence, an exhibit at Boston Cyberarts that makes you question what you believe. How do we convince someone of the gravity of things like climate change that deserves countenance but is difficult to quantify or to be captured in a photograph?
Offenhuber attempted to display such a representation in a snapshot in his installation, ozone tattoo, he directly exposed tobacco and bean plants to the pollutant ozone, leaving the leaves with grill marks. He calls these marks tattoos; they are a strikingly visible indicator of air toxicity. He described this method of visualising information as “autographic” where the environment speaks through the spotted, branded leaves.
Most deniers of climate change are privileged people and people who possess power. We must not let greedy capitalists manipulate us into extinction and instead, continuously work towards reversing climate crises.