We are living in a plastic age and the solutions may seem glaringly obvious, so why aren’t all 7.6 billion of us already doing things differently? Shocking statistics don’t guarantee effective change. So what’s the alternative? American photographer and filmmaker Chris Jordan believes the focus should be on forcing people to have a stronger emotional engagement with the problems plastic causes. His famous photographs of dead albatross chicks and the colourful plastic they have ingested serve as a blunt reminder that the planet is in a state of emergency.
While making his feature-length film Albatross, Jordan considered Picasso’s approach: “The role of the artist is to respect you, help you connect more deeply, and then leave it up to you to decide how to behave.”
Most nature documentaries devote their final few minutes to hopeful solutions, but Jordan avoids this. He simply shines a light on the crisis facing the huge colonies of Laysan albatrosses on the remote Pacific island of Midway. “There’s something so archetypal about these legendary birds and seeing bright colours of ocean plastic against dead sterility is a powerful symbol for our human culture right now. We’re in a state of emotional bankruptcy,” says Jordan.
Photo: JJ Harrison/WIkimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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