What have you done for your family lately? Too personal? Ok, what have you done for your friends, then? Never mind, that's none of my business. But this is: what have you done for your environment? Because, you see, this is mine environment, as well. And Shepard Fairey is there to remember you to take care of Mother Earth: it is your only home. It is my only home. It is the only home for the whole human kind, and for a countless life forms - and some of them are facing an extiction. Yesterday, on April 22, it was celebration of Earth Day, and Shepard Fairey's message is clear: celebrate Earth Day every single day.
On April 22, Shepard Fairey has put on his blog a PDF file of Earth Day, a digital version of his last year's speech at SXSW Eco. In this presentation he connects the principles and philosophy of his art - and he is a very influenced artist - with the needs and problems of Earth as a planet and home of every single human being. He says that it is not truth that the Earth is indestructible, but too many people behave like it is. He quotes Rachel Carsons' book Silent Spring from 1962, saying that if we stay unaware of the ecological destruction until we see it, it will be too late to do anything about it.
While Shepard Fairey's focus on Earth Day and desire to increase awareness of ecological problems are undoubtedly praiseworthy, there still is a question that could be raised, and it is contained in that basic slogan: think globally, act locally. To whom is Shepard Fairey is talking? It is our impression and it appears that he is concentrated mainly on the United States. In other words, that he is not that much "thinking globally". This is understandable for many reasons - he was born and raised in South Carolina, and the US is one of the biggest polluters in the world, with China and India. Furthermore, in May 2012, the USA (with Japan, Russia, and Canada) had indicated they would not sign up to a second Kyoto commitment period, which object is to reduce greenhouse gases emissions as a way to fight the global warming process. Shepard Fairey does say about some issues that his country - the United States - has created to the others: i.e., he notices that, after war in Iraq and the usage of depleted uranium, the rates of cancer, birth defects and infant mortality since 2005 are higher in the city of Fallujah than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after WW2 and two atom bombs dropped on Japan. But, primarily, he is addressing his country, and speaks to the American citizens, and not to the whole planet. Or, perhaps we've been too much of a nitpicks this time?
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Featured image: Shepard Fairey - Evolve-Devolve, 2009.
All images courtesy of Shepard Fairey and his blog.