Visual Statistics

We read the statistics about waste and our disposable society, we “tut, tut” and think we understand but it is seriously hard to visualise what is being reported.

American artist Chris Jordan produces photographs of shocking poignancy.

“Plastic Bottles 2007”, illustrated here, shows just that – an image of plastic beverage bottles - two million of them. That is the number disposed of in the US every 5 minutes!

Have a look at his website for other photographs which help to visualise what 410,000 plastic paper cups look like (The US disposes of this number every 15 mins), or 426,000 mobile phones (which the US 'retires' every day). And lets not become too smug – it is not just the USA, the rest of the world is happily disposing of similar amounts.

Chris writes, “As an American consumer myself, I am in no position to finger wag; but I do know that when we reflect on a difficult question in the absence of an answer, our attention can turn inward, and in that space may exist the possibility of some evolution of thought or action. So my hope is that these photographs can serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-inquiry. It may not be the most comfortable terrain, but I have heard it said that in risking self-awareness, at least we know that we are awake. “