Op-Ed: Is smearing food on the ‘Mona Lisa’ a productive form of climate change protest?
“We are told that the climate crisis is the main threat we face. The reality is that the climate crisis is the biggest problem we face”
Last month in London, a group of activists brought hundreds of guests down the iconic stairs of the UK’s oldest department store, Harrods. They wanted to symbolically put an end to the growing climate crisis and encourage the British public to become more environmentally conscious. The group, known as #HarrodsShutdown, held a live demonstration and a petition campaign calling on retailers to cut down on their use of non-renewable sources of energy.
The group were unsuccessful. After a few days however, they returned with a new weapon against fossil-fuel-powered industry: smearing smelted food and drinks like butter on the famous “Mona Lisa.”
The activists began this action by placing hundreds of containers of smelted food and drinks on Harrods’ famous “Mona Lisa” portrait, which depicts a woman giving a painting to a man. The following day, hundreds of London residents were sent an email explaining the group’s action and saying that they were “determined to ensure that Harrods shoppers think twice.”
While the tactic has gained the group some attention from the media, it is not without its critics. One of the activists behind the campaign, activist Emma Rees, has been labelled a “snowflake” by a fellow activist and even got in a heated argument with fellow activist Sophie Wilson, who says that the tactic is racist, using sexist and ignorant rhetoric.
It is indeed a very silly way to go about a political stance, but it does seem effective. Smearing smelted food on the ‘Mona Lisa’ is a very symbolic way of highlighting the importance of switching to renewable energy and stopping dirty fossil fuels, both of which are essential for protecting our planet.
Many people have questioned how the activists are going to transport the smelted food to Harrods’ store, as this would make it harder to track by the media. Fortunately, they responded to these concerns, by saying that the activists will be bringing sandwiches and