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How Perception Affects The Environment Essay

1095 words - 5 pages

Unconscious behaviors are a part of everyday life. Due to this unconsciousness, human beings are often unaware of the effects these behaviors have on their surroundings. As an individual, the consequences of one's own actions are hard to recognize, and may have no effect on anyone or anything. On a collective level, these behaviors can develop into something larger, and have a huge effect on people and the environment. Chris Johnson speaks about the issues that result from this collective unconscious behavior, and he gives stats of modern American life, through artwork, in an attempt to change people's perceptions of their daily lives.
Perception is a disease that is creating many problems in today's society. Many people would not think of perception as a disease, but it is a large reason why environmental problems, such as climate change, are occurring today. According to Johnson, individuals are thinking on too small of a scale. People are only worried about what they can see and what affects them, and not about the consequences of their actions on a larger scale. Johnson wants people to be aware that being irresponsible, as a country, has terrible consequences. Often times it is difficult to understand the scale of something when described in words. Stats and figures often mean nothing when there is nothing to compare them to. This is why it is much easier to understand scale by comparing things in pictures. Johnson realizes that many individual's incomprehension of scale masks the problems that have arisen throughout the western world.
One of Johnson's examples of unconscious behavior involves the amount of paper and plastic cups used in America in one day. Millions of people drink coffee before going to work in the morning. Whether it's going to a Starbucks on the commute to work or making coffee at home or in the office, the cups used often go in to the trash, instead of being recycled. Johnson informs his audience that Americans use around 4 million plastic cups and 40 million paper cups in a day. Creating a mental image of the immensity of 40 million cups is extremely difficult, so in order to put this into perspective, Johnson created a picture of 40 million paper cups. Johnson uses a scale reference of the statue of liberty next to the stack of 40 million cups to show how many cups are wasted in a day. This picture truly changes the perspective of how large a stack of 40 million cups is. Johnson uses these images and scale references throughout his whole speech to get people to think about what their actions are doing to the environment.
The ignorance of our actions, as a group of people, is rather scary. Upon seeing Chris Johnson's artwork, I was somewhat surprised to the extent at which perceptions frame our society. As individuals, we are generally not worried about how the world is affecting others, but mainly focused on how the world affects us. I am guilty of many of the things that are being introduced by Chris Johnson. I...

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