Posted by: ecodestination | November 17, 2009

Using art to raise awareness about deforestation

One of the trees shipped for the installation in Trafalgar Square - photo by BBC

The stumps and roots of 10 trees from Ghana are being displayed around Trafalgar Square in London as a ghost forest to get people thinking about deforestation in tropical forests. The height these trees would have reached in the rainforest are marked by laser beams!

That sounds pretty cool. The installation was set up on Monday morning and runs through November 22.

But it gets me thinking about the carbon footprint of having those massive, super heavy tree remains shipped over from the Suhuma forest reserve in western Ghana to the UK (about 3,165 miles!). And, uh, the trees will be shipped to Thorvaldsens Plads in Copenhagen next month for the UN Climate Change summit (another 596 miles). Yowza. The installation there will run from December 7-18.

Oxford artist Angela Palmer, who thought of and developed the installation, said she will “offset Ghost Forest’s carbon footprint by supporting an initiative to introduce efficient cook stoves – Gyapas – in Ghana.”

Whatever. I don’t think that’s good enough.

Anyway, Ghana and other countries have lost 90% of their rainforests over the last 50 years. That is ridiculous.

“The concept is to present a series of rainforest tree stumps as a ‘ghost forest’ – using the negative space created by the missing trunks as a metaphor for climate change, the absence representing the removal of the world’s ‘lungs’ through continued deforestation.” – Palmer

Most of the trees “fell naturally in adverse weather conditions,” she said. They are of the Denya, Dahuma, Danta, Hyedua, Mahogany, Wawa and three varieties of Celtis species.

Maybe next time the trees in such installations could be fake and resemble the trees logged in tropical or other forests.

I appreciate Palmer’s intention, but there is no need to hypocritically pollute the planet by shipping enormous tree stumps 3761 miles.

Read more here and here.


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