Visionary I



Drastic Approaches To Justice


Animal and climate activists are joining forces! Global warming will continue to be a top issue until our actions are consistent with our words and needs. Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, pointed out, “if we don't work together, we are going to die together.”


Climate protestors are making drastic moves of rebellion as part of their acts to save animals and reinforce a “plant-based future.” 


Groups of protestors—vegan protestors especially, took part in ‘milk pour,’ where they took milk from shelves and emptied the bottles onto the floors of supermarkets and foodcourts at Waitrose, Whole Foods and Marks and Spencer in London, Manchester, Norwich and Edinburgh. 


These activists went out of their way for academics at Oxford, Harvard, and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to share their concerns about the environment and animal safety with higher authority.


The milk pouring act contradicts causes like Food Security.  Was the ‘milk pour’ appropriate, considering the imminent famine, food banks and people crashing into poverty, and babies being too weak to cry? 


“You’d get people on your side by donating plant-based meals to people in real need.” 


“If anything, this sets the vegan cause back years.”


One man said he understood the drastic action taken by the group. He said, “I think their point is that there’d be far fewer people without food if the land wasn’t all being used to provide food and dairy in the western world. The amount of land required for livestock is insane, causing deforestation and starvation.”


Perhaps they’ve done more harm than good, whether by extra pressure on the milk sources and the environment to make up for what was lost or by depriving their communities of food. 


And it all seemed to have started when protesters belonging to groups such as Just Stop Oil, Anti-Fossil Fuel, and Climate activists, among others, started gluing themselves to art pieces.


Though, this is not the first occurrence of these bold stunts by rebels, gluing themselves and smearing food on artwork to convey the climate crisis urgency. In 2019, the Extinction Rebellion brought London to a near-standstill. Activists occupied traffic hubs, glued themselves to buildings and trains and parked a boat in one of the city’s busiest intersections, merely interrupting people’s consumption and enjoyment of art, said Margaret Klein Salamon, the executive director of climate emergency Funds.


Some iconic pieces in museums and galleries were “vandalized”  as acts of protest. 

Pieces such as:

  •  Van Gogh's Sunflowers, doused in tomato soup at London's National Gallery.
  • A copy of The Last Supper at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, where activists glued their hands to the frame of the painting and spray painted “No New Oil” below it.
  •  A Claude Monnet painting, Haystacks, served mashed potato inside a German museum--Museum Barberini, Postdam.

And other artworks by famous painters, including J.M.W. Turner, Pablo Picasso, and Horatio McCulloch, to warn against “a future of suffering.”

The activists claimed they intentionally endangered the pieces due to their knowledge of the present protective coverings.


 An activist group explained in an online statement why they chose a Futurist work, “we have to change direction. We glued ourselves to Boccioni’s work because we can no longer afford to keep building economic progress.”


Attention, unlike support, might have been easy to come by for these activist groups.


Are they going about this the right way?

Will their well-intentioned acts cause devastation? 



Contributor III

In understanding that global warning and climate changes are major issues, destoying our heriage is not the way to go about making a statment. In 2023, we see protestors making disruption at major events in the United Kingdom, but many doesn't fully understand the cause being fough for. Above all we have a two face enemy at play; many speaking by words but action speaks to increase financial gain 


Contributor III

I agree with you regarding food wasted in social justice-related presentations or actions, and this argument is very nuanced. Although environmentally sustainable, veganism is not a simple alternative for most, which is a reality that vegan movements must consider.

However, I believe that the public outcry due to the "destruction" of art is surface-level and misdirected. The intention of non-destructively and non-permanently "vandalizing" art is to call for attention. Van Gogh's painting was never doused in tomato soup. It was completely untouched. The same is true for the other pieces.

As both you and the protestors stated, the intention for "vandalizing" the paintings was to get people talking-- and that's what it did. The fact that people are more upset about the potential damage to the art than about the climate crisis reflects our societal priorities.

It's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to activism. What works for one group of people may not work for another. The important thing is to get your message out there and make change.

I also think it's important to be mindful of the unintended consequences of our actions. In this case, the protesters' actions may have alienated some people who are sympathetic to the climate crisis. It's crucial to weigh any action's potential benefits and drawbacks before taking it. Rather than critiquing others' actions, we must use them as lessons for ours.

Ultimately, we should strive for effective altruism as an agent of change. Rather than nitpicking what others have done, we must utilize our resources most efficiently to achieve the greatest good.