Sunday, November 4, 2012

(S)HELL: Drilling in the UpChukchi Sea

     What is truly sad is this was created on the assumption that there will be the inevitable "accident" at some point in the foreseeable future. We haven't learned anything yet have we? The corporate logos might change, and different players take the stage, but the end result will always be the same. We shit where we eat, and the writing is on the wall (note: local Alaskan blogs What Do I Know and Progressive Alaska seems to be the only voices crying out in the literal wilderness about this). There's a perverse, grim feeling that we've seen this before, as the inexorable progression of events unfold.

     Also bittersweet in is that this is (was) my final panel to appear within the pages of a long-running independent voice in Alaska media: after fourteen years of fomenting uppityness,The Ester Republic is unfortunately folding with this last issue (volume 14 no. 5 issue 150). My deepest thanks and best wishes to one of the greatest publishers I've had the sincere luck to have worked with, Her Editorshipness Deirdre Helfferich. I am truly humbled to have been afforded the opportunity over these many years to have been a part of such a progressive voice in the Interior, and will always be proud to list "staff cartoonist" on my resume. Thank you... Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar!

     I had this particular design on the back burner for months, playing around with the concept of a "Shell game" etc. At some point while researching about the arms race I saw a graphic on an Amnesty International (speakers of truth-to-power for corporate accountability whose whose campaigns are one of the singlemost prominent vocal activism) poster that mirrored my initial idea, but goes in a different (simpler) direction. What is crucial to my take is the manipulation of text: a visual metaphor for the brutal and catastrophic impact these disasters have.

     A secondary inspiration - or. more to the point, motivation - came from the presidential primaries for Republican candidates, specifically Rick Santorum. This specious asshole distinguished himself amongst an already impressively stupid field of ignorant anti-science acolytes by spewing idiocies like “Unlike the Earth, we’re intelligent, and we can actually manage things.”

Wikipedia: More accurate than you really know.

     My entire environmental philosophy basically boils down to this: public restrooms. Presumably not just my personal experience in men’s rooms - while I can’t vouch for the opposite sex, I’ll assume the same holds true regardless of gender. This sweeping overgeneralization is purely based on conjecture, as evidenced by the overwhelming majority of times I've gone to bathrooms across America - from rest-stops to restaurants - it is always prudent to check the toilet seat first. Usually you'll have to wipe it off before sitting down, as chances are someone else's urine (at best) will be all over the place. Point being: left to their own recognizance, human beings will always shit and piss all over everything without any regard whatsoever for anybody else. Thus we as a species, the social animal, will always need regulatory agencies, because left to our own devices, it’s always fuck the next guy in line.

     And speaking of bathrooms, any cabin-dweller who uses an outhouse cannot ever honestly deny the exponential effect one solitary human being has upon the environment over the course of just a couple years. In other words, the shit piles up. I'll never forget helping a friend out at his homestead dig an outhouse hole and listening to him get excited about his fiance's plans on whelping at least five children. Sweating and leaning on a shovel at the bottom of a five-foot deep pit was a good time to point out that I for one would not be volunteering to dig that many holes, not to mention how this population explosion would affect the pristine water quality of their lake.

     And so it is with this selective editing of our individual impact that the collective anthropocentric myopia our species continues to sow the planet with the seeds of its our demise.
The systemic loss of biodiversity – especially the large-scale die-off of amphibians on a global scale, which by itself represents an alarming and literal canary in the coalmine scenario. From the rampant abuse of antibiotics through factory farming resulting in drug-resistant strains of germs, to the pollution of the oceans and seas and the wholesale depletion of its species, human activity is exacting a terrible toll on the place we live.

1 comment:

  1. Humans mistake themselves for a highly advanced species because they have developed numerous complex languages (even though most of us just use the profanity and a few favorite cliches), immensely destructive technology and a rich and varied menu of foods that are bad for us. We invented smoking, but not getting drunk. We can take submarines to the depths of the ocean and primitive spacecraft to the nearest bus stop outside our atmosphere. Yet through it all we still take inordinate joy in producing offspring because our instincts as animals tell us that most of them will die long before they reach sexual maturity. We play dominance games to increase the chances that we'll get the most food and pass on lots of our genetic material.

    We're not as smart as we think we are. The smartest among us realize that.