Banksy's Latest Mural Is a Haunting Take on Air Pollution
Secretive graffiti artist Banksy has created another thought-provoking piece of art.
His latest pop-up went on a concrete block garage in Port Talbot, Wales that appears to show a child catching snowflakes with their mouth. But once you look around the corner, you realize that the child's mouth is open to ash emanating from a dumpster fire.
The British guerrilla artist confirmed on his verified Instagram this week that the artwork was his. The haunting video post, accompanied by a children's Christmas song, first displays the mural itself. It then zooms out to reveal a grey industrial landscape and the Port Talbot steelworks plant looming in the background.
The caption along with the post reads, "Season's greetings."
Port Talbot resident and former steelworker Gary Owen, 55, claimed to Wales Online that Banksy's piece was in response to an Instagram message he sent. Owen said he asked Banksy to create art that would highlight Port Talbot's dust problem.
"Can you do some art in Port Talbot, the steelworks is making lots of dust every day and the locals are sick of it," Owen texted the artist in August.
Although his text never received a reply, Owen does not think it's a coincidence that the display popped up in his town four months later.
Owen also claimed to the publication that he believes the area's children are facing health risks by playing in dust coming from the steel plant.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed Port Talbot as the most polluted place in the UK. However, in May, the WHO revised the list and issued corrected figures, according to the BBC. Port Talbot is still identified as one of 17 areas in the UK that has met the fine-particle air pollution limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter set by the WHO.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution as they have faster respiratory rates than adults, so they breathe in more pollutants. Around 93 percent of the world's children under the age of 15 years (1.8 billion children) breathe toxic air every day, according to the WHO, which also estimated that in 2016, 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air.
Banksy's art has featured environmental messages before. For instance, this 2010 piece in the ruins of Detroit's Packard Automotive Plant shows a child with a can of red paint and the words, "I remember when all this was trees."
In 2009, the street artist spray-painted the words "I DON'T BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING" on a wall beside a canal in London. His message came after the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen that was widely considered a failure for not producing a binding agreement to tackle climate change, The Guardian reported then.
Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.
The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Andrea Germanos
Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.