Deeply upsetting

Seeing Garth Lenz’s exhibition, “The True Cost of Oil” was an incredibly painful, but necessary experience. As many people do, I usually turn a blind eye to the “repugnant” realities of our climate crisis and imagine it far away in time and space. But it is in fact close. Very close, in Canada even, and in Garth’s presentation in large, glaring pictures. I couldn’t help but be sucked into these beautiful and vibrant photos, whilst imagining the terror of Lenz’s words reak havoc and destruction. It’s impossible to escape the raw and cruel carnage of the tar sands, and the sheer scope of the demolition when….

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…it’s staring you in the face. It forces you to take ownership. It forces you to feel, and that’s where Lenz’s photo journalism really hits the mark. If his own passionate words weren’t enough, his pictures wrote the message very clearly. It even reminded me of the famous Maya Angelou quote:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Unfortunately, I realized, we need presentations like this to make us feel awful. We need to feel how close this destruction is, and we need to feel the fear of the possible consequences. That’s the only way for this to  “never be forgotten” and be fully addressed.