The impact of our garbage on the environment cannot be overstated. It is clearly evident that it causes untold amounts of damage to the ecosystem by polluting the waters and choking the wildlife.
However, Chris Jordan’s “Midway: Message from the Gyre” makes it exceptionally clear that our current efforts are not enough. The image depicts the carcass of a bird that, while it was alive, consumed an incredible amount of garbage, and died due to the amount of waste in its system. It is a very emotionally-charged photograph. Seeing these poor birds who died because their ecosystem was so clogged up with trash that it killed them truly puts into focus how terrible the problem is.
The photograph is clearly intended to spark an emotional reaction. However, that is not its only purpose. It is a call for action to stop the root cause for this bird’s death; the exorbitant dumping of waste into the environment. The emotional weight of this picture pulls into the spotlight the ongoing discussions of how the environment’s problems can be remedied. Death is a very powerful motivator, and the fact that our garbage is directly causing the deaths of animals pulls us toward the conservation of nature, so that we may one day keep these birds alive and well.
This piece of art did not take much to make. As an article discussing the photo states, there were several birds who died in this exact manner. The photographer merely had to find one and take a quality photo of it. And the relatively little effort it took almost makes it seem even more of a tragedy, since that just means there are hundreds, if not thousands of birds who died the same terrible way. It creates a lot of change by presenting the reality of the situation. Little cost, great reward.