Changes to Improbable Monument

I have decided to change my idea a little. While there are many causes of deforestation, I decided to narrow it down to palm oil. Essentially, palm trees will serve as a visual of the harmful things that humans are doing to the planet.

Instead of having a permanent monument, I decided to make it a sort of greenhouse monument that will house the type of palm trees that were destroyed to create palm oil. I will keep with the idea of having the greenhouse placed in the middle of deforestation. A new factor is the cost of soil that is able to sustain the palm trees after the previous soil was rendered useless from the burning of the palm trees on that land. Since this patch of land will be relatively small, it will not serve as a home for the animals that lost their home due to the burning of palm trees but instead it will serve as a reminder of effects of and what humans are stealing from our planet for items that are unnecessary.

Improbable Monument Proposal

Intro: The environment is extremely important and impossible to survive without. So why is it not a top priority to everyone? Not only that, we are destroying it constantly. With more awareness to people throughout the world, we may be able to stop the things that are destroying our home. One of the leading causes of deforestation and the release of carbon monoxide comes from plantations of palm oil trees. Because of this, I have decided to make a monument that clearly shows people the destruction that is happening around them.

Background: The history of palm oil production, while not long, is very broad. It began in Malaysia in the 20th century. Malaysia depended heavily on the contribution that palm oil production had on the economy; in the 1960’s, this production provided jobs to over half a million people in Malaysia. What seemed at the time to be another plus was the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels. In fact, it was thought to be a cleaner, more sustainable form of energy because it comes from a plant. It was also believed that biodiesel was better for the environment– this remains untrue if it is produced in the way that it is with palm oil.

In preparation for the planting palm trees, the land must be burned. This includes burning parts of the land that store great amounts of water and carbon that are crucial in supplying clean water and lessening the severity of climate change. Not only that, burning the land also caused areas of production to some of the leading producers of carbon monoxide emissions – that’s not good. Of course, plantations are also home to vast amount of species and the production of palm oil threatens already endangered animals.

Description of project: For my project, I want to make a monument that basically shows the effects of palm oil production in a very simple and clear way.  The monument will be placed on a plantation that has been burned after production. Because biodiesel is one of the biggest products of palm oil, my monument is going to be in the form of an over-sized beaker used for measuring. The beaker will be placed amongst the deforestation. Because palm oil is still being produced and products still made from it, ultimately leading in deforestation, the beaker will include an element that allows it to fill with liquid each time a plantation is burned, a line of products made from, or a new field planted in order to continue production. This monument will be placed in a plantation in Malaysia because Malaysia relies so heavily on palm oil and in turn faces the harsh effects. People will be able to see it at a distance, as from a plane, or be able to walk up to it, although that might be impossible with the deforestation. Ultimately, it is intended to be viewed at a far distance.

Benefits: the intended audience is all humans. We all can have a voice in ending the production of palm oil by finding other healthier resources, and/or refusing to buy items that have palm oil as an ingredient (it’s clearly labeled on many products). This monument will serve as a clear representation of how production of palm oil effects the environment. After burning of fields occurs, the oil is no longer fit for vegetation, rendering it useless and inhabitable for wildlife. Because it will be placed in a destroyed field, it will serve as a constant reminder of the effects.

Budget: As of now, I am considering using Plexiglas or a form of glass to make up the beaker. There will also have to be a system to fill the beaker with liquid. Ultimately the entire structure will be environment-friendly. The monument will be approximately the size of the Washington Monument which is 555 feet. The cost of individual items will come after I receive feedback during the second stage of my timeline for this project.

Project Timeline:  Research and test ideasàGet feedbackàPrototype (functionality in its environment)àFeedback on prototypeàImplementation

Please refer to my PDF for images



Improbable Monument Brainstorming

Climate change caused by human activity-adding monuments in places that have clearly already received massive damage because of climate change. What are we doing wrong? How can we make it better?

Animal testing- Testing of makeup and other products on animals. Looking into different labs around the world. This proposal would be carried out by placing a monument right outside of those labs. The Monument would be huge and serve as a message to the public

Gay rights-Exploring different areas of the U.S. as well as other parts of the world to see how rights are the same and how the differ from place to place. Explore further the cultural differences and what effects gay rights.

Health care rights- Exploring U.S. and the effect that health care or lack-there-of has had.  Will choose to focus on a specific, controversial health care topic.

Palm oil and its effect on the environment- Exploring deforestation and other elements that tie into palm oil productions. What are the Effects? What is deforestation? Who is affected and why? How often is this happening and how will my monument show this?

Exercise 5: Virtual Placemaking in Google Earth

For this exercise, I chose to place markers in three different places that I felt that I felt best described my topic. I believe that climate change and global warming are very serious issues today that are overlooked by many people. Many people don’t care about the effects of global warming because it will not effect them directly but it will effect their relatives to come.

I focused on three main ways that global warming is in effect today and how it is changing environments. The three pressing issues I chose were Malaria in Kenya, caused by climate change (goes into further detail on Google Earth marker), melting glaciers atop and along the sides of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and permafrost melting in Greenland. I chose these things because they are not issues that we necessarily have to deal with in our location of Manhattan Kansas, but it is important to recognize them.