RE@LID@D@           monument evolution       NOW

 

MONUMENT TO PEOPLE  

The MONUMENT TO PEOPLE is a pyramid made of PAPER and soil, that will be naturally covered by the site vegetation. Its construction has already started and will continue FOR A LONG TIME.

My idea is to drive the discussion on the need to SEQUESTRATE CARBON as a means to mitigate the current process of GLOBAL WARNING.

Place: the ECOLOGIC PARK HUDSON in Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA, frequently visited by SCHOOL PUPILS, who will be so introduced to a problem that they will compulsorily inherit. This new TOURISTIC OBJECTIVE will help to create a pole of development in the middle of a long neglected community.

This is an ART WORK that belongs to a NEW CULTURE. It will collaborate in THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SOCIAL ATTITUDE that is absolutely necessary to confront the changes, that in the coming years will be become inevitable.

MONUMENT LOCATION

 

In days to come, I intend to build a pyramid of PAPER and SOIL in ARGENTINA, up to where we will be capable of making it grow, as an INDICATOR OF GLOBAL WARMING and in order to start a discussion on what we can do to face this urgent problem.

With the cooperation of many friends, the MONUMENT TO PEOPLE came into existence last April 23, 2005 in ECOLOGIC HUDSON PARK, a small wild reservation in the Province of Buenos Aires next to the Museum, home of Guillermo Enrique Hudson (internationally famous writer, 1841-1922).

The HUDSON PARK is in "Los 25 Ombķes" in the district of Florencio Varela (www.husmeando.com.ar/hudson.htm), on the route linking BUENOS AIRES CITY and LA PLATA, capital of the province.

AS FROM NOW ON

The MONUMENT TO PEOPLE can help us to introduce young students visiting the museum the GLOBAL CLIMATIC CHANGE issue. Itís also intended to be a TOURIST SPOT, a progress landmark inside a forsaken community. ITS ATTRACTION IS TO FOLLOW, monthly, ITS PROGRESS.

The shape of the work will BE PYRAMID LIKE, though it will be subject to the changes resulting from the INTERACTION WITH THOSE WILLING TO PARTICIPATE. It may include human shaped sculptures, works of artists or craftspeople willing to accept the rules of the game: as the monument grows these works will remain in it till they disappear.

A WORK OF ART

The MONUMENT TO PEOPLE is a WORK OF ART. Itís not a profitable project, though it might be. It seeks controversy on the topic of GLOBAL WARMING and its consequences, well-known to experts and even politicians, though the community as a whole is reluctant to accept it.

Some well intentioned ecologists might not like this, as this work denies the need to recycle paper, an indisputable "truth" to many. Our aim is to induce RATIONAL, NON-PREJUDICED, NON-EMOTIVE thinking options. The dramatic present situation demands it.

It is important to deepen the discussion, to manifest the GLOBAL WARMING drama. We need to encourage more categorical attitudes towards FACING THE NON-STOPPING CONCENTRATION OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE ATMOSPHERE.5 Eduardo CALVO @4450

The excess of CARBON PRESENT IN THE BIOSPHERE IS THE CORE OF OUR PROBLEM. It produces a progressive warming of the atmosphere with infinitely varied and, on the whole, negative consequences.

Art cannot solve the problem. We will need new governors to do so, but ARTISTS SHOULD NOT BE INDIFFERENT to it. Through the MONUMENT TO PEOPLE, I wish to remind THE NEED OF REDUCING CARBON from the ecosystem of our planet, and to announce THE END OF THE OIL CULTURE.

NOT NECESSARILY NEGATIVE VISION

Human beings are modifying certain physical parameters on the planet. There are already 6.200 million or more of us. Nowadays, NO HUMAN ACTIVITY AT ANY IMPORTANT SCALE IS INNOCUOUS.

The future situation should not be necessarily negative. At the same time, although itís the origin of our problems, our amazing progress allows us to CONTROL NATURAL PROCESSES (at least in a limited way), as long as we act responsibly and without any prejudices.

The IRRATIONAL BURNING OF FOSSIL FUELS, as if it were innocuous, and the building of a whole civilization around oil, as if it were a non-finite resource, leads us to an  ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL CRISIS. But the boosting of knowledge that started with the Industrial Revolution, will make available new sustainable energy resources, that will keep us progressing and even will allow us TO CLEAN THE ATMOSPHERE IN THE FUTURE.

The problem is HOW TO OVERCOME THIS TRANSITION at the lowest possible cost. OUR OWN SURVIVAL AND IDENTITY ARE IN DANGER. We artists, must contribute with what we can, for instance by denouncing prejudices.

The cultural INERTIA, even more than the affected economic sectors, is DELAYING THE NECESSARY CHANGES. At some point in the future, we will need to arrive to a technical solution to the problem.

OUR ENEMIES ARE IN SIGHT, AND WE DO NOTHING

CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2) and METHANE (CH4) are our most important enemies today. Their way of affecting us is the INCREASE OF THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT. But there is a third one under cover: the INERTIA that leads us to do AS IF NOTHING WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.

Mainly, the rapid negative evolution of the planetís average temperature is a consequence of THE GROWING CONCENTRATION OF CO2 in the atmosphere, as a result of the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal). CH4, a product of organic decomposition, and other gases also contribute to the GREENHOUSE EFFECT.

CO2 and CH4 are both part of natureís cycle. The problem is that, as we extract fossil fuels from the depths of the Earth and burn them, WE BOOST THE VOLUME OF CARBON PRESENT IN THE ATMOSPHERE, which leads to higher concentrations and INCREASING THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE.

How to EXTRACT THE CARBON FROM THE ATMOSPHERE is a technological as well as a political problem. Not only we do ignore how to do so efficiently, but also we are not aware that it needs to be done. Above all, we do not have a powerfull enough energy to reduce an important part of the carbon dioxide and extract the oxygen present in it. But this is easily done by plants and trees, which use the abundant solar energy (PHOTOSYNTHESIS).

In order to put the necessary measures into practice, we might need a shock -for example an ATMOSPHERIC DISASTER.

WHY BURY PAPER?

The MONUMENT TO PEOPLE is a pyramid like artificial mountain, made up of PLASTIC BAGS CONTAINING WASTE PAPER AND SEMI-PERMEABLE BAGS CONTAINING SOIL.

PAPER, which is made from wood, is mainly composed of cellulose (C6 H10O5), a macromolecular polysaccharide full of carbon.

While they grow, superior vegetables STORE IMPORTANT QUANTITIES OF CARBON in their wood, extracted through photosynthesis of the atmospheric CO2. PAPER can store carbon stably and lastingly, if its decay is avoided.

Growing forests can efficiently control the rapidly increasing concentration of CO2. But THEY DO THEIR WORK WHILE THEY GROW, AND THE FASTER THE BETTER.

FORESTS ARE CESSPOOLS OF CARBON. Wood can have various densities but, according to calculations, each cubic metre contains the carbon aquivalent to one tonne of CO2 on average.

When an adult treeís growth has decreased or stopped, the process above mentioned falls substantially and even reverts. THERE MUST BE YOUNG, HEALTHY TREES IN CONSTANT GROWTH TO PROTECT THE ATMOSPHERE. Decaying forests generate large amounts of methane (CH4) as wood rots away, thus ruining the fight against warming.

If we use wood to make PAPER in a suitable way, replacing felled trees systematically (under the economic conditions to make this profitable), we can help solve this problem by LOCKING CARBON in its cellulose, thus keeping it out of the atmosphere and avoiding its rotting and return to the biological cycle.

Economic activity generated by new PAPER industry supports the creation and maintenance of young forests in rapid growth. Recycling reduces the need of them. This is why we propose to set an EXAMPLE by IMMOBILIZING LARGE QUANTITIES OF PAPER in our MONUMENT TO PEOPLE, in order to increase the need of new tree plantations.

This clashes with our intuitive idea and the good intentions of honest ecologists who take PAPER recycling as universally valid. They do not bear in mind that, under the present dramatic circumstances, ITīS NOT ENOUGH TO PRESERVE FORESTS. We need many more of them and in rapid growth, so that they reduce excess CO2 through photosynthesis.

Burying paper in the MONUMENT TO PEOPLE has an added benefit. Itís like leaving a LEGACY TO OUR POSTERITY, clues for terrestrial or extraterrestrial archaeologists to find, in hundreds or thousands of years, remainings of our newspapers and try to find out what on earth happened to us. Nowadays, we speculate similarly about Mayan hieroglyphics; apparently their society also collapsed following an environmental crisis.

PROTECTING THE FUTURE

Cellulose is stable, but not indestructible. Itís easily attacked by a number of insects, fungi and micro organisms which break it down, in the long term generating more CH4 and CO2 from their digestion sub-products.

In order to have a long lasting carbon locking we must ISOLATE THE PAPER for building our MONUMENT TO PEOPLE as much as possible. The idea is to wrap it in the least biodegradable kind of plastic and then bury it, so as to postpone the release of unwanted gases, as the mountain compacts under its own weight.

Experiments done by archaeologists, when examining old garbage dumps, show that by ELIMANTIG THE CONTACT OF PAPER WITH AIR it is possible to avoid methane emissions.

In years to come someone might incidentally, even get to read news in our papers when researching into "a solid structure built, with some purpose, by intelligent, probably human, beings".

JUST AN EXAMPLE

We should not expect to revert the cycle so that the PAPER accumulated in the MONUMENT TO PEOPLE again turns into fossil fuels. The geological process which buried huge amounts of carbon in the form of hydrocarbon, gas and coal, took millions of years. But we can expect TO GAIN TIME, TILL THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW, POWERFUL FORMS OF ENERGY -and a NEW CULTURE- give mankind the opportunity to recondition the environment, now drastically disturbed.

The process of CLIMATIC CHANGE, pushed up by burning fossil fuels CANNOT BE STOPPED. Its consequences are INEVITABLE; we can barely soften its effects and, above all GET READY TO FACE ITS CONSEQUENCES.

Collecting paper and burying it properly HELPS, BUT LITTLE. Letís put it this way: ONE KILO OF PAPER CONTAINS AS MUCH CARBON AS HALF A LITRE OF GAS OIL, an insignificant dose to our consuming fever.

Looking around, itís easy to notice that THERE JUST ISNíT ENOUGH PAPER. Yet, to COLLECT PAPER AND CAPTURE THE CARBON IN IT can prepare us for the future, and make us aware of what is going on around us.

There is no time to waste. It wonít be long before we can feel the effects of global warming. Whatís more, MANY OF US WILL ACTUALLY LIVE THE FORETOLD CHANGES.

EDUARDO CALVO SANS