Sentinel Perspectives: Is vandalizing art an appropriate form of protest? What’s with worldwide inflation?

Check out Sentinel staff writer Connor Foley’s “Finding the Line in Climate Activism” and staff writer Panteha Bazyar’s “Rising Inflation and Supply Issues Span the Globe”

Connor Foley: Finding the Line in Climate Activism

On Oct. 14, two climate activists threw a can of soup onto a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, called “Sunflowers,” that stood in room 43 of London’s National Gallery museum. Once the can was emptied, both activists glued a hand to the wall, with their shirts brandishing the slogan “Just Stop Oil.” 

One activist, 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer, started talking, highlighting how our climate is more important than historical pieces of art. Shortly after, the two were arrested.

The Sentinel’s Connor Foley explores the issue of vandalizing art for social activism. Activists threw soup on the Vinvcent Van Gogh paintng, “Sun Flowers” in October.

Public opinion is greatly divided over the matter. Many have pointed out that smearing soup on a Van Gogh painting has nothing to do with saving the climate, and only damages a famous piece of art. On the other hand, people have argued  that acts like these of public vandalism are needed to put the topic of climate change and the effect of fossil fuels into the media spotlight. They argue that continuing to push against the use of fossil fuels passively will not stir enough public attention and debate to force real change. 

Personally, it is all about finding the right balance, so as to not upset more conservative-minded folk who adhere against vandalism and push them farther away from the cause. In a perfect world, the public would realize the severity of climate change and the proliferation of fossil fuels on the environment, but unfortunately, we need to reach out to the neutral and the deniers in passive, but still strong statements. 

The issue with public vandalism is that people who would otherwise support “Just Stop Oil” and other organizations like them may feel alienated because of their association with organizations who support vandalism. It was later revealed that the painting stood behind a thin layer of glass, with there being only minor damages done to the piece. However, after seeing the headline, “Climate Activists Vandalized a Van Gogh,” conservative-minded people will already formulate negative opinions towards the activists before reading about the issue or the fact that there was minimal damage to the painting. 

Ultimately, the issue of finding the right balance in protesting methods towards the fight against fossil fuels is a greatly complex one. Vandalizing a painting in the name of climate activism is a very polarizing event for public opinion, so until the public realizes that our climate is more important than a Van Gogh, there will continue to be backlash against these acts that overshadows the existentially important message behind that can of soup.

Panteha Bazyar: Rising of Inflation and Supply Issues Span The Globe

 The COVID-19 pandemic led the world into a new period—a time of inflation and uncertainness around the globe. Prices of production and consumption skyrocketed, leaving millions bankrupt and in need of relief. These events created a domino effect, causing a global supply shortage. These shortages range from global energy to some of the most adverse events that have transpired from the pandemic, the inflation and shortages on the global food supply. The sudden rise of inflation led major product producers to change their methods of packaging and to increase the price of their goods at an uneven rate compared to the  quantity and quality of their products.                                                 

In a recent interview with CNN’s Christine Romans, Miguel Patricio, CEO of food manufacturer Kraft Heinz, voiced his concerns about the future of our world’s food supply chain. He explained that despite the already high rate of price increases, there will most probably be another increase in 2023,one that might be higher than the one that occurred during the past two years. Kraft Heinz is a major food manufacturer in America—you might even have a bottle of their famous ketchup in your fridge—and has increased product prices at a shocking rate of 12.4% since last year. 

Trends show that by 2024, there should be a significantly higher demand for goods. However, new statistics show that due to the global supply chain shortages, manufacturers will most likely not be able to match these demands. This is due to a lack of proper inventory, inexperienced factory workers, the lack of raw materials, and other pandemic-related setbacks.        

With an expected surge of inflation expected, both producers and consumers are left with no choice but to prepare and plan ahead for the difficult times that may lie ahead.