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




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