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Renewable Vibes > News > Blog > Column argues that throwing soup at the Mona Lisa is a valid and confrontational approach to address climate change.

Column argues that throwing soup at the Mona Lisa is a valid and confrontational approach to address climate change.

An opinion piece published in the Los Angeles Times this week took a different approach towards climate change activists who vandalize famous works of art. Rather than condemning their actions, the article rationalized how these activists’ actions make their activism “more acceptable” and “more successful.”

The piece, written by USC professor Shannon Gibson for The Conversation, explored the strategy behind what she called “deliberately shocking” activism, such as throwing soup on the glass covering the Mona Lisa. According to Gibson, by combining radical forms of civil disobedience with more mainstream actions like lobbying and state-sanctioned demonstrations, activists not only grab the public’s attention but also make less aggressive tactics more acceptable and potentially more successful.

The article came just days after two climate activists threw soup at Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in the Louvre, which is protected by glass. In a video of the incident, the activists can be seen throwing the soup and shouting about the importance of art versus the right to healthy and sustainable food.

This incident is part of a series of climate activists throwing liquid at famous paintings. In another incident last year, activists threw soup at one of Van Gogh’s classic paintings, also protected by glass.

Gibson explained why this type of protest is a savvy strategy for activists. She noted that in recent weeks, global activists have shifted their emphasis from government policy fights to battles in the streets, political arenas, and courtrooms. The lines between reformists and radicals, as well as between global and grassroots mobilizers, are blurring, and a new sense of engagement is emerging.

“When in-your-face activism takes place alongside formal institutional challenges, studies show the combination can increase awareness of the problem and support for moderate action,” Gibson wrote. This tactic is known as the “radical flank effect.”

The author pointed out that this strategy has been effective in past movements, such as the civil rights era and feminist movements of the 20th century. As an example, she mentioned how London Mayor Sadiq Khan initially denounced Extinction Rebellion’s graphic protests but later met with the group. The UK Parliament also declared a climate emergency shortly after.

Gibson also criticized those who criticize these shocking protests, stating that they miss a “crucial point.” She argued that the aim of these protests is often to influence government and business decision-makers.

In conclusion, Gibson emphasized that objections to acts of climate activism like the recent food fight at the Louvre may be understandable but may also miss the point. According to her, protesters’ perceived madness is indeed methodical.

It is important to note that this article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the author.

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