ARE YOU AWARE?
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video by Casper de Conick
Behind the scenes - "Are You Aware?" from Laura Knipsael on Vimeo.
Even though Laura is only talking about seven environmental issues, there are so many more issues to mention. Many changes have been made such as, various plastic bans, more green energy, electric cars,... but we can do better. It starts with us, individuals who are keen on making a difference! Are you aware? And are you one of the people to make a difference? Laura will continue working on her project, to make people more aware and inspire them. Something has to change and it is time to do it now.
Waste of old or broken electrical and electronic devices is called electronic waste, shortened as e-waste. These products can hold dangerous toxics. This is why it is important to recycle and process them in the right way. Many of these devices contain re-usable parts. We live in a throw-away society. Natural resources are demanded to produce new devices, which requires a lot of our environment. Increasing levels of e-waste, improper and unsafe handling, disposal, incineration or dumping, pose a significant challenge to our environment and health. So, why don’t we recycle and reuse more?
Recycling and re-usage is the key to a better and sustainable future. It is a trend that keeps on growing and should grow even more. Instead of using new natural resources to make new devices, it is better to reuse the old ones. Repair cafes is another trend that is growing and more and more well known among the people. You can bring your broken device there and together with an expert you will fix them for free. A nice way to connect with your community, repair broken devices and help to save our planet.
94% of all the plastic that lands in our water, ends up at the bottom of our oceans. If we keep on using plastic like this, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. But plastic is not only a problem in our oceans. The size of land required for landfills is a worldwide concern that affects the entire world. The plastic will stay at the landfills until it gets purified and cleaned up. “Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter.”
Plastic is a term commonly used to describe a synthetic material made from a wide range of polymers. Each year we make approximately 311 million tons of new plastic worldwide! The production rises with 8% each year. Plastic is not only used for making bottles or food packaging, etcetera. It is also processed into clothes and skin care products. The usage of which can lead to micro-plastic pollution of water on earth. It also feeds on an increase of the toxicity levels in the food chain (e.g. sea animals, plankton). In other words, we eat fish that previously ate plastic. So, basically we eat our own plastic. Most of the plastics are non biodegradable. 97% of plastics ever made still exists. Making new plastics is done with fossil fuels, while we already have so much plastic we can recycle. So, why don’t we recycle our plastics instead of making new ones?
It worries Laura that if we don’t change anything about our soil pollution problem,
it will only get worse. Crops and plants grown on a polluted soil absorb a big part of the polluted substances. They can pass it on to us. It can also lead to famines if the crops and plants can’t grow in polluted soil. Most plants can’t adapt quickly if the chemistry of the soil changes. This is a big problem for the fertility which slowly degrades and makes the land unsuitable for agriculture. Farmers can already solve a bit of the problem by not using any chemical held pesticides and fertilizers. But not only the farmers can change something about this; industries should have stronger regulations against dumping chemical substances into our environment.
We talk about soil pollution when toxic chemicals are found in our soil, with high sufficient concentrations that cause a risk for the ecosystem and human health. Even if they are natural contaminations. These are only harmful when they exceed the allowable levels. There are two important causes that arise soil pollution: man and nature. For example, the agricultural industry and mining activities. Breathing in gases that are emitted by polluted soil or substances that ended up there by human activities, can influence the health of humanity. It can cause various health problems like, headaches, nausea, skin rash or even worse, kidney- and liver damage and various forms of cancer.
T&T Bachelorproef 2018 from Narafi Photography on Vimeo.
Acid rain still harms our ecosystem. People think acid rain was only a problem in the 70’s and 80’s, but it is not. Ammonia from manure and nitrogen oxides from traffic emissions currently provide our acidifying problem. By lowering our CO2 emissions and burning less fossil fuels, or even try to eliminate the fossil fuels at all, we can tackle various environmental problems including acid rain.
Acid rain arises because of our polluted air with for example exhaust fumes and manure that mixes with water. Acid rain has a big influence on our environment. Plants and trees grow poor or worse, die. It also effects human health and infrastructures. Acid rain occurs in the form of rain, snow, fog and even dry materials with high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids. Rotting vegetation and erupting volcanoes can cause acid rain but humanity has the upper hand. By burning fossil fuels by coal- burning power plants, factories and automobiles. In the 70’s and 80’s acid rain was one of the biggest environmental problem. Since then measurements have been taken. Sulfur contamination has since been reduced, but nitrogen contamination such as ammonia from manure and nitrogen oxides from industry and traffic, have not been prevented enough.
Animals and their habitat can not live when they’re covered in oil. As we know, nor can mankind! It seems like big oil companies hardly care about the pollution they cause. If we keep being reliable on fossil fuels, accidents will keep on happening. It’s inevitable.
Oil is one of the most visible forms of pollution in our oceans. It is a mixture of non-dissolving substances and dissolving substances. The non-dissolving substances of oil creates a superficial layer which can harm animals and their habitat. For example, if a bird gets covered in oil, it usually won’t die immediately. In most occasions it dies because of extreme cold from water or exhaustion. Even the smallest spot of oil can cause this! Oil doesn’t only pollute our marine life, but also our environment and humanity! These days oil disasters keep on happening in areas such as the Niger-delta. Every year hundreds of oil disasters destroy the environment and devastates the lives of the communities who live there.
After being exposed to chemical contaminations the effects to our health can be visible straight-away. Within this concept Laura focused on the toxic colors and patterns which can be seen by chemical pollution. This may be pleasant to our eyes, but it is definitely not. These kind of toxic hazards are extremely bad for the health of our human population and our planet.
We speak about chemical pollution when pollutants, which are not naturally in our environment, are increasing and higher in quantities than their natural values. Chemical pollutants are usually the result of various human activities such as producing, processing, storing and disposal of chemicals. Not only the industries are guilty of chemical pollution. Even household products, such as cleaning agents are part of harming our environment.
Smog consists of a combination of air pollutants that harm the environment and can even damage properties. It can cause health issues but also make them worse. The word smog is a combination of the words smoke and fog. It is a recurring problem in big cities and it is even getting worse than before. Smog accidents often arise when there is a lot of traffic, high temperatures and sunny days without wind. There are many sources that can cause smog, such as car exhausts, power plants, factories and consumer products. Including paint, hairspray and chemical solvents. In urban areas at least half of the smog comes from cars, buses, trucks and boats!
Will we be living in a world where smog is a daily life problem? What if no clean air would be left and we need to carry our own backpack to purify the air? It sounds like a surrealistic idea, but it might be our future. These days many people in big cities are wearing facial masks to reduce the inhalation of polluted air. In the pictures you can see two different air purifying plants called Phlebodium aureum ‘Blue Star’ and Spathiphyllum. These plants turn polluted air into fresh oxygen.
by Laura Knipsael
Download thesis in Dutch
I would like to thank Canon Belgium for sponsoring me with their equipment. A Canon 5DSR, 85mm f1.2 and 135mm f2.0. It was a great pleasure using them. Also, many thanks to Flag Models, my mentor Frédérique Debras and everyone else who helped me with my project. Thank You!
01. SMOG POLLUTION
Make-up and Hair Artist. Suzanne Verstappen - Models. Kira + Silke @ A&P Model Management - Designer. Maarten van Mulken - Backpack. Fieke Klerkx - Location. Photostudio North51
02. OIL POLLUTION
Make-up and Hair Artist. Emilie de Roo - Model. Josephine-Charlotte @ Flag Models - Designer. Nastasia Fine - Location. 254Forest
03. CHEMICAL POLLUTION
Make-up and Hair Artist. Emilie de Roo - Model. Sacha @ Flag Models - Designer. Ilke Cop - Location. Photostudio Narafi
04. PLASTIC POLLUTION
Make-up and Hair Artist. Emilie de Roo - Model. Jade G @ Flag Models - Designer. Julia Ballardt - Location. 254Forest
05. ACID RAIN
Make-up and Hair Artist. Emilie de Roo - Model. Carlo J. @ Flag Models - Designer. Maximilian Rittler - Location. 254Forest
06. ELECTRONIC WASTE
Make-up and Hair Artist. Emilie de Roo - Model. Lukas @ Flag Models - Designer. Heegu Yang - Location. Troc Etterbeek
07. SOIL POLLUTION
Make-up and Hair Artist. Lena Dobbels - Model. Freya @ Flag Models - Designer. Angelika Öllinger - Location. Downtown Photostudio Narafi
Visuals of book "Are You Aware?" from Laura Knipsael on Vimeo.
Are You Aware? is a conceptual fashion series about environmental pollution and climate change. Pollution remains one of the most underestimated world problems. Three factors determine the extent and nature of the pollution problem, whether it be at local or global level, namely: the size of the human population, the speed of production and consumption, and the level and use of technology. While the overall stress caused by these factors increases, the ability of the environment to cope with these side effects, decreases. Laura tackles seven different issues within her graduation project: acid rain, chemical pollution, electronic waste, oil pollution, plastic pollution, smog pollution and soil pollution. Each theme has its own concept. A surrealistic approach that threatens to become reality. With this project, Laura not only aims to inspire the viewer, but also tries to create a place to talk about these issues.
Something has to change and it is time to do it now.
ARE YOU AWARE?