DC at Night

DC at Night

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Down to Earth

In his 72-year-career as a political cartoonist, 4-time Pulitzer Prize winner Herbert Block commented on thousands of subjects, but one he often returned to was the environment, more specifically the threats posed to our Earth by both actions and failures to act.

Now, 12 years after his death, several of Block's (who went by the name Herblock) most compelling environmental images are the focal point for Down to Earth: Herblock and Photographers Observe the Environment, an exhibition now on display at the Library of Congress.

The exhibition is divided up into several themes, each with 1 Herblock cartoon and then photographs dealing with the same subject. Themes include:
  • the spread of toxins
  • water pollution
  • oil drilling
  • global warming
  • deforestation
  • exploitation of wetlands
  • over-consumption
Some of the photographs are quite vivid such as a shot by Sam Kittner documenting the outrage of demonstrators in Louisiana over toxic waste dumping. Others are more subtle. One of the most chilling in that category is Olaf Otto Becker's image of a river in Greenland which actually shows the effects of global warming and acid rain.

As always with any Herblock presentation, you can spend much time examining the humor, irony, and sarcasm he so skillfully employed to provoke reactions and inspire change.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
With Earth Day (April 22) approaching, a visit to Down to Earth is a good way to put yourself in an environmental  frame of mind . However, you will have to hurry since the exhibition will be closing on March 23. However, if you are interested in showing support for the environment, you still have plenty of time to attend the activities set for Earth Day in the DC area. Click here to check out many of those events.

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