Girls Deserve More

29 04 2013

Image

Maeva Renaud

Title: Girls Deserve More  (Link to more photos)

Medium: Mixed Media, Acrylic, Recycled Material, Poetry

Topic Abstract:

Girls Deserve More is a mixed media pop-up art bags project that focuses on addressing the affects of climate change on young girls living in poverty stricken communities. The bags are tools to be incorporated in a fundraising campaign to eradicate poverty and create awareness on sustainable social change. Each bag also represents a sense of hope for young girls as the bags can either be purchased by donors or filled by donors to support the partnering agency.

Rationale:

According to Seema Paul’s article, A Brief History of Sustainable Development, climate change has been an issue confronting the “global community’s willingness to pursue the sustainable development model that allows for growth in the South as the North reduces its consumption, thus freeing up ecological space (p.4)”.  The article, How Our Economy Is Killing The Earth, posted on NewScientist.com (2008), argued that the consumption of resources are rising and biodiversity is plummeting due to human activity. Pearce (2009), in his article, Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat, argues how economic activity is the lead contributor to ecological problems, not the rise in population. Pearce quotes the Director of Princeton Environmental Institute, Stephen Pacala, who states that “ 50 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions is from the world’s richest half billion people, while 7 % is due to the poor”.

Climate change has to do with the increase of global temperature and sea level due to trends in greenhouse gas emissions (Soubbotina, 2004, p. 102). Greenhouse gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons “act as a thermal blanket for the earth; absorbing heat and warming the surface to a life-supporting average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (Global Climate Change)”. However, this is when these gases are emitted through their natural process. Since the Industrialization Age, the consumption of fossil fuels have resulted into an increased amount of carbon dioxide emissions, therefore making our blanket thicker and thicker and puts the earth at greater risks to global warming. According to Wood and Strong’s (2008) article in Faith Today magazine entitled A Primer On Climate Change, global warming affects the timing of biological processes and biodiversity. It is not just an environmental issue, but it also affects humans and the economy.

According to the United Nations article, Weathering the Storm: Girls and Climate, “children pay a high price for climate change, often bearing the brunt of increases in hunger, disease, population displacements and resource conflicts”.  Based on research conducted by Plan UK International on how climate impacts the lives of young girls, they have outlined that:

  • GIRLS are taken out of school, rather than boys, during extreme weather events, so that they can contribute to household income and help with domestic responsibilities. Many then do not return to complete their education.
  • GIRLS report that they are often forced into taking work as domestic workers or agricultural laborers when their families are hit by crisis.
  • GIRLS have to spend more time fetching water or firewood during drought periods due to increased scarcity of these resources.
  • GIRLS report that they face a noticeable increase in early or forced marriages after floods and droughts, due to their families’ inability to support daughters financially during these crisis periods.
  • GIRLS suffer more sexual violence and harassment during and after disasters, often because they are separated from their families.

(United Nations)

Development:

The process in developing the bags actually came quite organically once I had all the materials. I work at a hotel and many of the guests throw away shopping bags and shoe boxes prior to their departure. So I took those recycled materials for inspiration. I cut the shoe boxes in 4×6 post card pieces and used them as the pop-up canvas to go on top of the bags. I wanted the bags to look fashionable with a statement. I painted them using acrylic, I used the color gold because I thought that it is appropriate for the topic of what girls deserve. I also used thrown away gift wrapping paper which so happened to be pink and green. Pink representing the innocence of young girls, and green the idea of sustainable development. I also used cut out from magazines and old flyers and postcards to get the images of young girls. I wanted to show girls as happy, healthy, and confident individuals rather than showing the norm of the child crying or in decrepit attire. I wanted the bags to show what life should be like for girls. The only time that I mention the issue is through the short poem that I wrote on one of the 4×6 cut outs which states, “Little Girls should be reading instead of being out there pleading and begging for food. Little Girls need an education, where is the mitigation? She’s out there walking miles just to find water”.

Intended audience and placement:  My goal with the Girls Deserve More pop-up art bags is to collaborate with a non-profit agency that is addressing the issue how poverty and climate change is affecting young girls. I hope to be able to further develop the marketing plan for this project and possibly present the idea not just on a fundraising level but also as a teaching artist and develop a curriculum for girls to create their own bags using recycled material.

Challenges:  The challenges that I faced with the project was how to incorporate social sustainable change within the art piece itself. Having an understanding of how over consumption contributes to climate change, and climate change creates issues like land degradation and this ultimately is part of the cycle of poverty. So in choosing the materials, I wanted to make sure that I was being responsible in using recycled products.

References

Global Climate Change. (n.d). Retrieved on March 16th, 2013 from

http://climate.nasa.gov/causes

Newscientist.com. (2008). How the Economy is Killing the Earth. Retrieved on November 3rd,

2008 from http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026786.000-special-report-how-our-economy-is-killing-the-earth.html

Paul, Seema. (n.d). A Brief History of Sustainable Development. Leadership for Environment and

Development International. London, UK. www.lead.org

Pearce, Fred. (2009). Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat.

Retrieved on January 31st, 2013 from http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2140

Soubbotina, T. (2004). Beyond Economic Growth. Second Edition. The International Bank of

Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank. Washington D.C.

Strong, G and Wood, J. (2008). A Primer to Climate Change. Faith Today Magazine.  Canada.

United Nations. (n.d.) Weathering the Storm: Girls and Climate Change. Retrieved on April 15,

2013 from http://www.ungei.org/resources/files/weathering-storm-girls-climate.pdf


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