On October 14th in London, something unfortunate happened. In room 43 of London’s National Gallery, two young women opened cans of tomato soup and threw their contents onto Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting Sunflowers. The women donned shirts reading “Just Stop Oil,” the slogan of an activist group that has been staging nonviolent demonstrations across the United Kingdom to protest the production of fossil fuels. One of the activists, 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer, began to speak to the room and said “What is worth more—art or life? Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people? The cost of living crisis is part of the cost of the oil crisis.” The activists were arrested soon after. Fortunately, the painting was covered with glass so it was not damaged. Van Gogh painted seven versions of Sunflowers in total. Five of them are displayed in museums and galleries around the world. One of those, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, said it was keeping “a close eye on developments” that might affect its own security measures.
In May, an activist at the Louvre in Paris tried to break the glass that was protecting one of the most famous paintings in the entire world, the Mona Lisa, before launching a cake in her face for alleged environmental reasons. The reason why the activists chose the famous painting is undetermined, but it is speculated that it was to draw more attention from the public. Luckily, the activist was not able to break the glass protecting the Mona Lisa.
“Experts have predicted acts of so-called ‘climate sabotage’ will increase as extreme weather events such as droughts, wildfires and storms proliferate and the urgency to act grows,” said by aljazeera.com. Many supporters believe the time to understand that vandalism is a real problem. Now is the time to do something to change this situation. “But many critics are questioning the effectiveness of an escalation strategy, saying destroying property undermines the climate movement’s credibility and alienates supporters,” said by aljazeera.com.
One example that stands out in the activist field for the environment is Greta Thunberg, a pacifist activist that was recognized for her actions and her young age. Thunberg protested outside the Swedish parliament in 2018, when she was just 15. She held a sign saying "School Strike for Climate" to put pressure on the government to meet carbon emissions plans.
By December of 2018, more than 20,000 students around the world follow her views. Talking about climate change can start a big controversy. Activists across the globe are trying to make people understand the danger the world is facing. Temperatures are higher and glaciers are melting. These things are important, but there are better ways to draw attention to this without making a mess around the world. The act in the London National Gallery drew many people's attention. The activist wanted to be seen and to appeal to governments for the good of our entire society. To make a positive difference, there are a lot of better ways that Activists can protest.