Cold Soup on Art Will Not Solve Today’s Climate Crisis


Sydney Hogancamp

Two protestors from environmental activist group Just Stop Oil threw soup on the historic Van Gogh painting “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” to bring attention to today’s climate issues. However, vandalism is not the solution to solve a detrimental issue.

Claire Stafford, Opinion Editor

Destruction should not be combatted with more destruction. To bring awareness to today’s climate crisis, two protestors vandalized Vincent Van Gogh’s 134 year-old painting “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” by virtue of a can of tomato soup.

While their message is worthy, and the action certainly got people talking, it undeniably, unnecessarily disrespected a historical masterpiece.

The protestors Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland are members of  Just Stop Oil, a United Kingdom based organization dedicated to halting the increase of fossil fuels. Just Stop Oil blames the production of fossil fuel for the climate crisis as a whole, including air pollution, destruction of reefs, rising sea levels and the overall warming of the earth.

 This corporation has held protests at sporting events, organized roadblocks and more recently vandalized buildings and artwork. Some of these protests were merely spectacles, others put protestors and workers’ lives in danger.

“So our action in particular was a media-grabbing action to get people talking, not just about what we did, but why we did it,” said Plummer to NPR.

Unquestionably, the protestors succeeded in this goal. The goal of the organization is to be acknowledged by the UK government, and until then, they will continue to cause disturbances. Now, Just Stop Oil is being talked about outside of the UK.

Increasing society’s polarization makes it harder to solve the root issue

— Claire Stafford

Climate activism and whether it is an issue is already a controversial topic. The popularity of these protests have further polarized the subject, by  further villainizing the activists. Attacking widely loved subjects like art and sports makes people even more outraged. While in support of Just Stop Oil’s message, I disagree with their approach. Increasing society’s polarization makes it harder to solve the root issue.

The climate crisis is a real issue, and there are real ways to solve it, but plain shock doesn’t persuade people to join the movement. Instead of focusing efforts on grand productions we should band together to educate the current and future generations. Signing petitions, voting, writing policies, limiting consumption and donating, are great ways to support the cause. These solutions should be our focus to help slow climate change.