As global warming is at the top of the agenda, world leaders are asked to act immediately, from forced recycling to carbon offsetting and celebrities launching a 10-year campaign to make environmentally friendly living fashionable.
Are these efforts really improving the environment? What is eco-friendly living? When we live in a period where the worst climate disaster is about to happen, how can we live the ultimate green lifestyle?
Extreme Green Guerilla, Michiko Nitta's graduation project at RCA, Design Interactions, brings the current green lifestyle to the extreme. Her "manifesto" looks at three important areas of our daily life: communication, food and death.
The extreme guerilla adapts from a network of amateur self-sustaining people who have shortened their lifespan to sustain the ultimate green lifestyle. Whilst going to extreme lengths to protect the environment, they try to enjoy a decadent quality of life by utilizing urban waste and biosystem. This consists of embracing emerging technology to develop the ultimate green solution.
They try to avoid being tied to big corporations and using electronic devices to send emails and SMS. E.G.G. are also against conventional posting service, as it leaves a great CO2 footprint. Instead, they resort to A.M.S., the "Animal Messaging Service." Michiko discovered that many animals have already been tagged by scientists in order to follow migration patterns, among other things. The RFID tags would be hacked and used by the guerilla to carry messages around. Of course, not all animals are very reliable and swift. The herring gets eaten very easily, so sending a message via herring will be priced very low; the blackpoll warbler is extremely lazy, he flies only 3 hours per day, so they will be cheap, too. Now pigeons and whales do their job more seriously and much faster, so using them costs more.
The designer had a look at food and the mistakes we make in our quest to be eco-friendly, confusing being healthy or buying fair trade products with green activity. We want to eat organic steak but only the "noble" parts, not the head of the pig, nor offals, which means wasting quality meat. So what would an extreme green food be like?
EGG breakfast: 0kg emission
Extreme green guerrilla’s food has to be resourced from existing materials within the local area. A solution is to embrace the roadkill diet, but that is not really appealing, is it?
Pigeon + Quail = Piguail
A solution might be to modify the urban vermin, such as pigeons and rats and cross it with animals whose meat is a delicacy. One example is an animal called Piguail, which is hybrid of Pigeon (vermin) and Quail (gourmet). Or the Rattit, half rat, half rabbit. They would survive in urban areas like vermin but they would be yummy like a rabbit (can't believe I'm writing these lines -- I'm a vegetarian).
Rat + Rabbit = Rattit
Michiko consulted with a scientist and discovered that rabbit and rat come from the same family and have very similar bone structures. Creating a piguail would be much more tricky as the quail belongs to the pheasant family, not the pigeon family. Besides, you cannot control the way a hybrid animal might look or taste.
In looking at death she concluded simply that the Earth is too crowded for real sustainability to be achieved; therefore, premature death is the ultimate gesture practiced by the extreme green guerrilla.
When a member of E.G.G. turns twenty, his or her ears are pierced with a euthanizing earring, as a part of the ceremony E.G.G.s celebrate when this person reaches adulthood. The earring will be permanent and contains muscle relaxant and a lethal drug.
Throughout their life the inner core of the earring rotates day by day. On their 40th birthday, the muscle relaxant and lethal drug are released through a hypodermic needle, leading to peaceful death. By promoting a young death, extreme green guerrillas can sustain the ultimate green life. If you know your life will last only forty years, how would you plan it?
Michiko's point is not to say that this is the future she wants. Her role is more to be provocative in a witty way, and to ask people to question their lifestyles and investigate what green living really means.
I remember watching the TV show, Sliders. It must have been a Season 1 episode but the adventurers visited an intriguing paradise-like world. Population was low, inflation was non-existent, people were affluent. It turned out that on this world, people could choose to withdraw money from an ATM for free. The more money they withdrew, the more entries they had in a 'death lottery'. If your name got pulled up, you were euthanised.
If you didn't to participate in this lottery, then you could go into business. Presumably, if you wanted more money, you could load up the odds of dying on one family member while the others worked or didn't work.
I'm sure it would be tricky to design the odds for this kind of game. Interesting idea. Maybe it's been expressed elsewhere in literature?
The first thing that popped into my head: Logan's Run!
Yes this really helps someone who is seriously wondering how to lead a green life come up with ideas [end sarcasm.]
It's really unfortunate that this was the very first article I happened to read on this site.
I was really impressed with the book which I found inspiring and full of useful examples of people doing good things to change the word; this artist does the exact opposite.
It's really sad that someone young and affluent and blessed with an expensive education misses the point so completely as Michiko does. So much energy wasted to produce this stylized hollow garbage.
Oh it's clever and ironic darling. Erm, no it's not. It's empty and devoid of meaning. It's a waste of time and mental capabilities, which in my opinion also goes against the green lifestyle. Unless the artist really does think we are all morons for trying and we should kill ourselves if we want to spare the planet of our ecological footprint. But isn't that hypocritical from someone who just wasted their time and privilege putting out something that helps in nothing? Not to mention ungrateful.
I'm fairly sure that there are students out there who put out projects that are inspired, inspiring, and can even be implemented in real life. Those belong on this site, Michiko's egotistical pseudo-art in my opinion doesn't.
Michiko's fatalistic attitude capitulates to the voices especially seen in capitalism and some of the more downer socialist philosophies that fuel hopelessness. Believing that we can change ourselves and our world will birth environmentally sound societies, lifestyles, and people. To wit: if I change my mind (thinking/assumptions), I can change my life (personal living/society/world). While being supportive of free, creative expression, I feel we need to focus our resources and our lives on those people, beliefs, practices, and technologies that move us toward a healthier world. Michiko's work seems provocative, which is possibly the metamessage she intended. For instance, she assumes that humans need to eat meat to be healthy, which has long been debunked. She also assumes - as I tend to do myself! - that all corporations are bad, evil, etc. I think there is a small but emergent ethical sensibility in some of the more benign corporations that we must foster. Transnational corporations, on the other hand, seem to almost always cultivate the worst aspects of consumerism and capitalism.
I believe we can and will transform human societies into more ecologically sound ones that will be healthier for ourselves and for All Our Relations, including the earth.
Causing widespread change is all about choosing your battles. I used to do antiwar organizing, and after really turning on the charm and friendliness to get semi-hostile people to show up to a discussion, there would always be those one or two people who brought up something like, "Well if you're really for peace, you need to start by being vegan..." and then they would go off on that or whatever pet cause for a long time.
Look, transportation and communication on a large scale will continue forever. We should be hitting the most "vulnerable" (or unnecessary) areas of waste and promoting the most productive forms of renewablity available at the moment.
Stuff like this just turns away people on the fence and gives ammunition to right-wing idiots who believe that people concerned with "sustainability" believe in sacrificing little blonde children to the Earth Goddess.
Just afraid someone might actually be dumb enough to do it!!
And yeah, the title is slightly misleading - this should be labelled as 'VERY black humour' or something! (And no, I didn't like it either! The part with the birds was funny - Harry Potter reminiscent, but the rest - just too bleak!
And if you cook herbal tea in a conventional device, it's no way it could be 'zero emissions' - although I love it! Maybe if you just soak the herbs and leave on your windowsill-but not sure of the taste then)