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Tue May 31 23:54:11 SAST 2016

There's little left to plunder

Jackie May | 10 December, 2012 00:01
Jackie May

IF YOU go down to Johannesburg's Circa Gallery today, you'll find a black rhino taking a leap towards the heavens.

Artist Beezy Bailey fitted gold horns to the animal's skeleton and feathered wings to help it on its flight, making a beautiful statement about the brutal killing of the rhinos.

My children found it too sad to be beautiful.

"I feel like crying," said their sensitive friend who was with us at the unveiling of the installation, titled As it is in Heaven.

So far this year, 588 of our rhino have been illegally poached and killed.

We've been experiencing a strange disregard for the earth and its earthly things. It appears global citizens are incapable of listening to those who know better. We've been told repeatedly that our behaviour has to change. We must consume less, produce less, or at least better, to curb carbon emissions. If we don't, life will become more difficult. Sea levels will continue to rise, and weather patterns will be more erratic.

Instead of taking this info seriously, we've ignored it. According to new papers released by scientific journals last week, global emissions jumped 3% in 2011 and are expected to jump a further 2.6% this year. Are we too far down the path of self-destruction to stop further increases?

My friend the shoemaker spends much of his year in China in factory land. As much as I want to travel with him to see for myself, I haven't. I rely on his stories for an impression of a place where excessive production for the West, and that country's own population, takes place. He tells me of not needing to wear sunglasses because the smog is so thick. Rivers running between factories are piled high with plastic bottles, and where you can see water, it is the colour of whatever colour is fashionable at the time.

While we keep producing, and outsourcing our polluting activities to the East, to feed our hunger for stuff, we're losing all respect for our planet. It's easier to get my woolly, feral children to take instruction than it is to get adults to pay attention to a global crisis.

But we have to. Or are we, Bailey's art asks, so lost that we have forgotten the value of life?


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