Monday, April 22, 2019


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Extinction Rebellion have created a paradigm shift in public awareness about climate change. For many in the UK it was blessed relief from wall-to-wall Brexit. We wait to see their next moves. The Generalist will continue to publish material of interest on this major issue of our times.
The Extinction Symbol was created eight years ago, in 2011, by an East London artist known as ‘ESP’. It was first exhibited on a road sign as part of a 'Human Nature'  project in East  London in 2014. ESP then worked with ceramic artist Carrie Reichardt on another Human Nature street art project entitled ENDANGERED13. Charlotte Webster interviewed ESP in Ecohustler

"I gradually realised that the issue was so big that I couldn't do this alone, and therefore it needed something simple that anybody could easily replicate. I was really interested in the history of symbols at the time anyway, such as cave art symbols, runes, medieval alchemy symbols, the peace and anarchy symbols, etc.
"My original hopes for it were that it would become widespread on the walls of cities as a kind of visual confrontation. A reminder to people who indulge in the hyper-consumerist lifestyle that their actions can have far reaching consequences, while also signifying the existence of an emergent resistance movement."
The first CND badge, made using white clay and black paint
In the late  1950s, the issue that brought marchers out in huge numbers was nuclear arms. In Britain the lead organisation was the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Their iconic logo was designed in 1958 by the late British designer Gerald Holtom (1914-1985).He hoped this graphic symbol would reinforce the mesasage of the protrestors who marched from London’s Trafalgar Square to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) at Aldermaston, Berkshire.
Goya's The Third of May 1808
 (Execution of the Defenders of Madrid)

He said “I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it. It was ridiculous at first and such a puny thing.”

From this he finally settled on using letters from the flag semaphore system, superimposing N for 'nuclear' on D for 'disarmament' within a circle that symbolised the Earth.

The CND symbol was transported across the Atlantic and took on additional meanings for the Civil Rights movement, the counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s including the anti-Vietnam protests, and the environmental and equal rights movements.

Today as I write  these words, millions of people around the world are celebrating Earth Day. The world's largest environmental movement.
Earth Day claim that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

'It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.

Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, has chosen as the theme for 2018 to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate primarily single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics.  EDN is educating millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that plastic waste is creating serious global problems.'

Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Nelson later became a United States Senator and was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in recognition of his work.

Below are three of the 1970 Earth Day badges. The first contains the Ecology symbol created by the American artist Ron Cobb and first published in 1969 It combined the letter “E” (for earth and environment), with the letter “O” (representing wholeness and unity) Read more about Ron Cobb and Earth Day at Art For A Change


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