When looking through the Visual Portfolio, all the images are alarming on many levels. From watching the progression of a small country farm to a bustling city-street corner, to seeing a forest being chopped into a box of matches, the Visual Portfolio captures man's terrible treatment of the environment. However, the most compelling image to me was the diagram titled "Garbage at Sea." The diagram shows a portion of the Pacific sea where certain water currents direct debris and other trash into a large circulation out in the middle of the sea.This picture epitomizes man's treatment of nature: out of sight, out of mind. A collection of trash the size of Texas is incomprehensible, but since no one is directly interacting with it, (except for maybe cargo ships?)this sleeping monster is rarely even talked about!Something needs to change...
I agree with Max's choice of the "Garbage at Sea." When looking through these pictures, this is the one that appealed most strongly to me. As one thinks about the ocean, pristine and beautiful images come to mind. There are visions of palm trees, dolphins, and vacation. However, no one wants to go on vacation to a place where you can't see the water underneath all of the trash that has collected there.The entire idea behind this is disgusting. Of course, there are a lot of people in the world, and therefore a lot of garbage accumulates. Where are we going to put it all? Even though this question cannot be answered easily, I also don't think the solution lies in the Pacific Ocean. If it is this bad already, how will it be in twenty years? Thirty? Maybe this is too much to ask, but I'd like to sit on the beach in California someday and not have to worry about yesterday's garbage getting washed up next to me.
I agree with max in that no one even acknowledges the giant pile of trash that circulates the oceans. I also agree with max in that these pictures show an alarming behavior that will destroy the planet if no limits are imposed on humanity's resource consumption. I think that people need to "wake up" and actually know about this huge ball of trash that is just floating in the ocean. Just because it doesn't affect us, it doesn't mean that we can ignore it; otherwise, it WILL affect us.
I agree that the garbage at sea image is a very provocative image, however, the “short history of America” was what spoke to me the most. The image clearly shows how humans have polluted what was once a perfect landscape. The first image shows a lovely landscape with birds flying high in a clear sky. The image that immediately follows shows a minor human touch, a train, and the birds are gone. It shows how we destroy the environment quickly and how other creatures find it difficult to live within our altered environment. The next images show how humans can take a once clear, lovely landscape and fill it with meaningless material items. By the last image there is no open space left. I believe that this last image is the artist alluding to what the future might hold.
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I have to agree with the rest of the responders that the picture of the Pacific Garbage Patch was the most provocitive image in the visual portfolio. The arguement that the picture is trying to make is that humans are polluting the planet and what makes the image so powerful is the fact that the garbage patch is twice the size of Texas, but I have my problems with the arguement. Why is it that whenever a patch of garbage is formed by humans, they never really think of just how long it took to form. While I do think that it is disgusting and we should start trying to clean it up, I do not think that this patch has formed in the last couple of years. This garbage patch has mostly formed from garbage from ships that has collected over decades. I also have a feeling that it is not going to last. I have picked up trash around a truck stop in my hometown to help raise money for a robotics trip, and a lot of the plastic bottles that I picked up were desintigrating, and they had not been there more than a year. P.S.- Sorry about the removal, but I noted several grammatical errors which I had to change.
I would have to agree with the above speakers, the existence and ignorance regarding the Pacific Garbage Patch is astounding. The images here show the damage and changes forced upon the environment by the human race, mostly without a thought to the long term consequences. However, there are those like Oscar Walthers, who state the completely correct fact that the garbage patch and other abominations like it formed over a period of a hundred years of more. An excellent argument considering the changes that are made every year toward cleaner living, but did you know that many of the “degradable” plastics break down into smaller and smaller granules, which shrink the patch at the cost of native animal life, and that the smallest of these granules never really go away.Essentially, a picture paints a thousand words, in that these images show the entirety of the damage done by humans with little thought to the state of the planet.
The most powerful picture in the visual portfolio is the one at the very end of the section of the imaginary global warming picture of New York City under water. Besides showing a vast body of water consuming giant buildings whcih looks awesome in itself, it should be noted that the buildings are still standing despite the water surrounding them. The argument being made however is that if humans are not careful, the earth could very well react as shown in the picture. Even though the buildings are still standing, there is no way human life could exist under so much water.
I had read about and watched videos about the Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre before and it surprised me to see it mentioned in this book. I feel as though I shouldn't be surprised, I also didn't expect to see John Taylor Gatto's "Against School" but there you have it. The existence of this floating garbage island is horrifying and something should definitely be done, however, I remember reading or watching a video that described how this is a very difficult process because the plastics polluting the garbage patch are largely dissolved into the water and nearly impossible to extract out. I think that the best possible option is to prevent this garbage patch from growing any more, that is to say preventative action is better than remedial action.
The second photograph on page 701 actually had the most impact. While the "Garbage at Sea" visual is impressive, it lacks the connection to the real world since it appears as more of a detached, scientific chart. The second photograph, in contrast, has incredible impact. The idea of one man trying to slog through an ocean of his own filth is truly disturbing and disgusting. The argument of the photograph is that what is pictured is merely foreshadowing. The kayaking man's experience is simply a more pronounced expression of what we will all be experiencing in the future, supposing that we carry on as usual.
The short history of America images did effect me a great deal, but the images were weakened by the fact the they are illustrations and not photographs. In my opinion the most powerful image is on page 701 in which a boy is paddling through trash in a small boat.The garbage at sea image (directly above) shows the extent of the conditions the boy is in. When I first saw the garbage at sea image I thought to myself "The trash might be pretty spread out if the area is twice the size of Texas". But on seeing the second image I realized in horror the amount of trash in a given space, and then trying to imagine an area twice the size of Texas. The images together give an impression of complete disregard for our Oceans. I also wonder how much more trash is not accumulating and is circulating throughout the rest of the worlds Oceans.
I thought that the most provocative image was the image of a city from above, but all you can see is the tops of skyscrapers because a carbon cloud is obscuring everything below it. The image seems to be arguing that pollution has a noticible impact and that this image is the proof. You should be able to see the ground, but because of pollution, it looks like there is no ground. There is only a massive carbon cloud and a few buildings the barely reach above it. The black and white coloring of the photo makes it kind of look like the city is drowning underneath. At first, I actually thought the image was of a flooded city, but after a while scaling gave away that this would have been a body of water hundreds of feet high, so this led to me relating the cloud to a flood. This "flooding" makes the image significantly more striking to me than any of the other images.
The series of photos from R. Crumb really spoke to me. It showed one small area and how it changed over time. In the beginning the area was open, except for the woods off to the side, with birds flying in the sky. The next picture shows a train and a fallen tree. Man's first impact on this part of the environment. More of the land is taken up by man as he builds a house by the woods, and a dirt road out front. I noticed that a tree is planted. One thing that I found very interesting is that the tree continues grow and grow until it is too much in the way. Man's technology and industrialization made the tree "in the way," and it had to be removed That really affected me because while I was viewing the first few pictures, I tried to feel better by thinking "it's okay, at least they planted a tree." Killing the one actual living thing left (the tree) seems so hurtful and wrong. It is sad to think that this has actually happened in all cities today.
Although the "Garbage at sea" is an undoubtedly alarming picture, it was not the most powerful image in my mind. The most powerful image to me was the photo of logging in Minnesota. It shows the nearly uncontrolled destruction that mankind has been known to bring to nature. Its not only the plant life that has been ruined in this photo, its the slow destruction of the animal life that inevitably follows. This photo was made so powerful not because of the clear cut evil that is the following picture, the mountain of buffalo skulls, but because of the hidden dangers that the photo represents.
I agree with drogers. To me, the logging photo was very provocative. Nature in many ways is something that mankind seems to ignore or push aside. We deem it ok, and in fact, necessary, to continually log and manufacture in order to sustain ourselves. Now, because of our reliance on manufacturing, this can never go away. However, this particular photo illustrates the almost necessity to perform such tasks that will one day hurt us even more than they already have.
While looking through the Visual Portfolio, the pictures that stood out most to me were the illustrations of a growing town and the picture of the plastic in the ocean. The illustrations show the change of a town from a small train station into a bustling city. The advance of human progress goes from trains and horses electrical wires and cars covering everything. The argument in the picture of the plastic in the ocean is a little more obvious. Humanity is polluting the earth and we need to do something before the whole planet is covered in garbage.