Everything we have, everything we make, everything we eat and everything we are will one be destroyed. The remaining question is what will happen with the remains.
Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral invites us to reflect on what are the things that make us us, culturally speaking. Who produces the art and the ideas we consume? Here, I use her painting The Abaporu to get us thinking who produces the food we consume, and what we’re left with after we’re done with it.
Leo DiCaprio’s documentary Before the Flood warns us of the destruction of native rainforest for the production of palm oil, used in chips such as Lays and Doritos. Knowingly or not, every consumer of those and other products fuels that destruction of habitat. The carbon emitted due to the arson of those trees and the carbon that is no longer absorbed by them helps make the Earth less habitable.
Using the peels of potatoes, carrots and bananas me and my roommate ate on the last couple of days, I made a reconstruction of the Abaporu, on top of a cutting board which helped me cook food that was less detrimental for the environment than the package of potato chips on top of which the cutting board was placed. The peels and my Abaporu itself will become worm food in the vermicomposting project of the class.
I will try to keep reducing my plastic and non-biodegradable waste, always carrying a reusable bag, refusing plastic bags and buying natural fruit and vegetables instead of industrialized packaged ones.
The Abaporu might have a small head up in the clouds, but their big feet are very much down to Earth. If we’re going to save ourselves from the hell we’re making the Earth to be, we have to start now.