In late October, the German radical environmental organization “Letzte Generation” (Letzte Generation) broke into the Barberini Museum and spilled mashed potatoes prepared in advance on Monet’s famous painting “Haystack”.
Earth is in dire climate catastrophe and people only care about famous paintings, attackers say. “If we were to fight over food, the painting would be worthless.” Fortunately, the painting was not damaged because it was protected by glass.
Coincidentally, just two weeks before this incident, the “Sunflower” in the British National Gallery was also splashed with tomato soup by the British radical environmental protection organization “Stop Oil”.
In addition to the above paintings, Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper”, Sandro Botticelli’s “Spring” and other well-known masterpieces , has also been attacked by radical environmental organizations. The famous paintings attacked by these organizations can almost form a brief history of Western oil paintings.
Judging from the logic of their actions, the attack on oil paintings by radical environmentalists is more like a kind of “violence” in the name of “environmental protection” and a “performance art” that ordinary people cannot understand-they call for cherishing food, Mashed potatoes, tomato soup, or cakes for attacking paintings are also edible.
After the hustle and bustle, we can’t help asking: Is such a radical move really beneficial to the cause of environmental protection?
Legal penalties are minor
Compared to hunger strikes outside the Capitol, sticking themselves on busy highways, spraying paint on Harrods and luxury car showrooms, and many other protests, attacking famous paintings may be the easiest way for members of radical environmental groups to gain attention. , and the one that has the least impact on its own safety.
Members of these radical environmental protection organizations know very well that they will face serious criminal consequences for destroying priceless famous paintings. Therefore, they never really destroy famous paintings, and almost every time they damage the outer glass cover of the painting.
The themes of the paintings attacked by radical environmentalists vary, but the paintings themselves have nothing to do with environmental issues. The only criterion for their selection of “victims” seems to be the popularity of the paintings. This also makes famous paintings more like their “eye-catching” tools.
Take the splashed “Sunflower” as an example. After pouring all the tomato soup prepared in advance onto this masterpiece of Van Gogh, the two members of “Stop Oil” Anne Holland and Phoebe Plummer used After supergluing his hand to the wall next to the painting, he delivered a speech that seemed impassioned but illogical: “What is more valuable? Art or life? Is art more important than food? Does justice still matter? Are you more concerned about protecting a painting, or about protecting our planet and humanity itself? The current cost of living crisis is part of the oil crisis. Millions of starving families cannot afford fuel, and they Can’t even heat up a can of tomato soup. Crops are destroyed (because of oil), millions die from monsoon rains, forest fires, severe drought, we can’t afford more fossil fuels, it will deprive us Everything I know and love.”
On October 14, 2022, London, two protesters of the “Stop Oil” organization poured tomato soup on Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”
Afterwards, although both were charged with criminal damage, neither showed any remorse. One of them believed that the focus of the public’s attention had gone astray, “We didn’t want everyone to pay attention to whether we should pour tomato soup on the painting.” The spokesperson of the organization, Alex De Koning, said in an interview that they did not come to the museum to make friends, but to make a change. If they want to change people’s views, radical behavior will inevitably occur.
The “Guardian” stated that before the attack on “Sunflower”, “Stop Oil” had repeatedly organized sit-in protests on the road, but these actions did not attract enough attention other than angering the citizens, so it was brewed. Together enough compelling out-of-place action.
The irony is that although the two have turned the National Gallery upside down, it does not seem to be easy to punish them legally. The British media quoted the prosecutor of the case as saying that the maintenance cost of the picture frame should not exceed 5,000 pounds; while the defense lawyers of the two said that if the prosecution cannot prove that the painting was damaged, the charges against it will not be established.
Because of this, the behavior of members of “Stop Oil” is unscrupulous. There have been “Stop Oil” members protesting with radical behavior at the British Academy of Film Awards Ceremony, the Premier League, the F1 British Grand Prix, and even the mast of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. . A total of more than 1,800 people from the organization were arrested by the police for illegal activities.
On October 27, 2022, members of “Stop Oil” protested on the streets of London
An undercover agent sent by a fossil energy proponent?
”Stop Petroleum” was established in February this year. They demanded that the British government must make a commitment not to approve new fossil energy mining, development and processing projects, and demanded that ongoing fossil energy related projects be stopped as soon as possible.
Thanks to sufficient funds for activities, “Stop Oil” has expanded its activities from the United Kingdom to major European and American countries and Australia in just over half a year, and opened local branches.
According to reports, “Stop Oil” has a common funder with “The Last Generation”, another German radical environmental organization that likes to compete with famous paintings – both are sponsored by the US non-profit organization “Climate Emergency Foundation”. The founding member of the foundation is Eileen Getty, the granddaughter of American oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty. She even paid a lot of money to buy a huge page in the “Guardian” and other British mainstream media in support of ” Stop the oil”.
Also keen on sponsoring climate-related radical environmental actions is an organization called “Equation Campaign”. It was established in 2020 to provide funding and legal assistance to ecological activists. This organization has a book fund of more than 30 million U.S. dollars, which can be described as rich and powerful, and it is also inseparable from the oil tycoons-both of its founders are from the famous Rockefeller family.
The funders behind the anti-oil radical environmental protection organization turned out to be a wealthy businessman who made his fortune from oil. Such a dramatic scene is not a joke, but a real occurrence in the current environmental protection movement in Europe and the United States. Such a farce-style relationship has also aroused concern in the British media. The “Daily Mail” quoted MPs as saying: “Foreign funds are hiding in the dark and doing some dirty work by funding environmental mobs.
” The ease of construction and sufficient financial support make the behavior of radical environmentalists even more extraordinary. They have successfully attracted the attention of the world, but they have not been able to come up with practical environmental protection solutions, which is one of the reasons why they have been criticized repeatedly.
Most people are not opposed to environmental protection, but they hate behaviors that challenge the bottom line of public order and good morals in the name of “environmental protection”. The radical environmentalists who staged farces were even dubbed by foreign netizens as “undercover agents sent by fossil energy supporters.” Strict self-discipline and lenient treatment of others, this sentence is often not true for radical environmentalists – one of the participants who splashed “Sunflower” had pink hair, and the hair dye she used was a kind of fossil energy by-industry The product.
”If God wants to destroy it, he must first make it crazy.” Fioramonti (Fioramonti), director of the Institute of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey in the UK, believes that the practices of radical environmentalists often only attract notoriety, but will instead Let more people hate environmental protection. “What they’re doing is not in the public interest. The public has the right to appreciate art, and they want affordable energy prices, smooth traffic. After ambulances are late and people are killed because of traffic jams, even the most eloquent slogans can only be used. Push yourself against the public.”
Radical environmental protection lacks specific plans
More and more young Europeans are joining radical environmental organizations, which is not unrelated to Europe’s recent regression in environmental protection.
In mid-July this year, Germany had to restart 16 fossil fuel power plants and extend the operating permits of another 11 power plants in order to hedge against the danger of partial natural gas supply cuts; , has also been controversial for lifting the ban on shale oil and gas production and issuing more than 100 new permits.
In addition, the radical environmental movement also reflects from the side the plight of young people in Europe who have nowhere to relieve their inner distress. In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States was deeply mired in the Vietnam War. Under the combined effects of various social emotions such as anti-war and protests against economic depression, the hippie spirit emerged as the time required.
At the same time, as major industrial countries in Europe and the United States have successively encountered environmental and ecological problems, the public’s enthusiasm for environmental protection has been high, and a large number of non-governmental environmental protection organizations have also been born under this background.
Shell petrol station in Wales, UK
Gao Guorong, a researcher at the Institute of World History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, wrote that the radical environmental movement was a product of the conservative social situation in the United States and the institutionalization of mainstream environmental protection organizations in the 1970s and 1980s. The overall tends to be conservative; during the Reagan administration, there was an “environmental countercurrent” in the United States, which greatly reduced the personnel and funding of the National Environmental Protection Agency. The public lost trust in mainstream environmental protection organizations that cooperated closely with the government, and radical environmentalism was born.
The economic base determines the superstructure, and the plight of the United States is now repeating itself in Europe. The slowdown in economic growth and social problems such as the gap between the rich and the poor, the infiltration of refugees, and the high unemployment rate have made European youth feel anxious, but they are powerless to change the status quo.
Unlike revitalizing the economy, planning the layout of industrial development, and other practical issues that require certain professional knowledge, environmental issues have almost no threshold for participation. Participating in radical environmentalist activities has become a way for European youth to express their demands and seek a sense of identity. Opportunity.
A senior environmental protection public welfare volunteer told the author that the promotion of environmental protection is indeed inseparable from the participation of environmental protection organizations, but seeing radical environmental protection organizations as the hope of changing climate policy and reversing climate change is tantamount to seeking fish from a tree. After all, radical organizations often only It will intensify the contradictions, and there is a lack of specific improvement plans.
When radical environmentalists wantonly trample on the rights and dignity of others in the name of environmental protection, even reasonable environmental protection demands will become increasingly difficult to understand.