Young people around the world are joining forces and making an effort to combat the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.
The international movement Fridays for Future climate strikes have inspired students around the globe to protest on behalf of the planet.
And the socio-political movement Extinction Rebellion has also encouraged many to make noise about ecological collapse.
Even young artists through their works are trying to raise awareness and help people move beyond the fear and guilt that dominates the climate conversation. Their pursuit of a creative quest is also a call to action.
16-year-old Greek artist Adriano Souras is sending his message through an art installation he built called the Killer Net.
The high school student spent several months collecting 9,000 discarded straws that he gathered from cafes, coffee shops, and outdoor space near his home in Athens, as well as, beaches and parks from around world.
“At first, I’d go to parks and, well, straws are a huge part of Greek culture, when they drink their coffee and when they have their drinks, so it wasn’t too difficult to find these straws,” said Souras, who was born in London, England, and has lived in England, Spain and Greece, according to the Montreal Gazette.
He added that “Then when I started getting really serious about my work, I actually outsourced to coffee shops and bakeries to get my straws from there. One of my friends went to China and brought straws from there. It was really a group effort.”
Souras hand washed all the straws and then patiently weaved them into a netlike structure using a knotted rope. The art installation, which measures roughly 5 meters by 4 meters, took about six months to complete. It was designed to represent a fisherman’s net and its message is that the presence of these straws in bodies of water and land around the world is an environmental disaster.
“It is visually pleasing and disturbing at the same time,” writes Souras in his artist’s statement. “On the other hand, it is a terrifying reminder of our future.”
The young artist maintains that the allure of the brightly colored plastic straws and fluidity of the net speak to our collective obsession and irresponsibility with plastics. He also claims that as consumers, we are seemingly hooked, even our waste ends up killing marine life and bio accumulating until it once again reaches the top of the food chain.
It’s been estimated that 36 billion straws are used in Europe every year and 500 million every day in the U.S. It’s also been estimated that it takes 500 years for a straw to break down.
The Killer Net, which measures roughly 5 metres by 4 metres, had its debut this past spring at the Design Museum of Chicago before making its way to the Biosphere in Montreal. It will be there until the beginning of the summer of 2020.
Souras also made a significant impression on a global stage in 2017 when his Krow collection was shown at Vancouver Fashion Week.
The teen artist has also contributed graphic designs to social projects for the World Wildlife Fund and a nonprofit organization in South Africa dedicated to human rights.
“Art and fashion can be such a good medium for advocacy,” the teen artist tells the Montreal Gazette. “Previous generations have failed to see how important it is to care about the environment. It’s up to our generation to take a stand and make a change.”