Level 5

Reverse Graffiti

 

PHOTO: Cameron Brooks

PHOTO: Cameron Brooks

Have you ever written your name on a fogged up window, or “wash me” on a dirty car? If so, you are a reverse graffiti artist! Many paints have toxic chemicals in them, and brushes are either made using chemicals, or animal hair from hogs, horses, badgers or others. Instead of harming animals and the environment, reverse graffiti removes pollution

PHOTO: Alexandre Orion

PHOTO: Alexandre Orion

One of the first large works of reverse graffiti was created by Alexandre Orion, an artist from São Paulo, Brazil. Using rags and water, he scrubbed away layers of grime left behind by thousands of cars that drove through the tunnel each day. The local police wanted to stop Orion, but they couldn’t since cleaning is not against the law. Eventually, the city brought in trucks with water tanks and high-powered hoses to clean the walls along the tunnel. They also cleaned up other polluted tunnels in São Paulo. Around the globe, creative people are leaving thoughtful works of art on all sorts of surfaces by simply cleaning away dirt, dust and grime.

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1. What is the main idea of this article?

2. In your own words, write three details that support the main idea.

3. How do reverse graffiti artists create?

4. In the first photograph, why do you think the artist wrote the word listen?

5. Why would the police want to stop reverse graffiti?

6. Why do you think the city government chose to clean the walls in the tunnel?

7. Why do you think Alexandre Orion chose skulls for the polluted walls?

8. Describe places where you live that would make good locations for reverse graffiti.

9. Describe other forms of art that do not harm the environment.

10. Is public art important? Explain.

11. How does public art affect people?

12. If you could have lunch with Alexandre Orion, what questions would you ask him? What would you like to tell him about your creativity?

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E     X     T     E     N     D     .     .     .     .

1. Public art often includes hidden messages that cause people to think or feel a certain way. If you could create public art, what important message or messages would you want to share? Write your message on a piece of paper, then create an illustration that communicates your message.

2. Find a dirty surface and ask an adult for permission to create a piece of reverse graffiti.

PHOTO: Flora Baker

PHOTO: Flora Baker

PHOTO: Flora Baker

PHOTO: Flora Baker

3. São Paulo, Brazil is famous for its vibrant street art. A few areas of the city are completely covered with works like the ones above photographed along Batman Alley. Some artists ask permission to paint on the walls, and some do not. Many city governments choose to paint over graffiti. Should graffiti be allowed in certain places, or nowhere at all? Write a letter to your mayor or commissioner and share your opinion. Use details, facts and examples to support your position.

4. Click here to learn more about Brazil.

 

 

 

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Rewilding

ILLUSTRATION: Jared T. Williams

“From my earliest days, I have been drawn to the heart of wildness, to wild lands and wild rivers and wild things, to the places and beasts outside the rule of humankind.”

-Dave Foreman

The more different kinds of plants and animals thriving around the globe, the more balanced Earth becomes. This is called biodiversityRight now the planet is out of balance because there are too many people. Humans have caused many types of animals to become extinct, which means they have all died. Right now there are many types of animals that are very close to extinction because there are not very many left. When an animal is close to becoming extinct, it is endangered.

In Rewilding North America, author Dave Foreman explains why people need to provide more space for animals, and bring back ones that are extinct. Foreman says more animals are endangered than ever before because of choices humans make. In his book, he describes how people can bring these animals back.

One way to increase the number of animals is to create huge pathways so they can move up, down, and across continents. These paths are called corridors. Before humans, animals were able to travel great distances. This is called migration. When cities and highways are built, animals get trapped. When they cannot migrate, they often die. Foreman believes that highways should be raised high off the ground so animals such as bears and wolves can move without having to cross dangerous roads and highways.

MAP: The Rewilding Network

MAP: The Rewilding Network

Scientists are now able to bring back animals that are extinct. Rewilders like Dave Foreman believe people need to bring back extinct animals such as the saber tooth tiger. Large animals like the mammoths and giant tortoise are called megafaunaForeman believes that bringing back megafauna will increase biodiversity, and increased biodiversity increases balance.

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1. What is the main idea of this article?

2. In your own words, write four details that support the main idea.

3. How are corridors and migration related?

4. Why is the planet out of balance?

5. How do humans cause extinctions?

6. “I have been drawn to the heart of wildness.” What does this quote mean?

7. Is rewilding a good idea? Explain.

8. Use the following sentence frame to describe Dave Foreman: I think Dave Foreman is (adjective), because…

9. How are you and Dave Foreman alike (compare)?

10. How are you and Dave Foreman different (contrast)?

11. Some people around the world believe humans have dominion over nature, which means we have the right to use it anyway we want, even if it means destroying entire species of plants and animals. How do you feel about this issue? Explain.

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E     X     T     E     N     D     .     .     .     .

1. National Geographic created a list of species that could be brought back from extinction. Click here to explore Carolina Parakeets, Woolly Rhinos, Tasmanian Tigers and more.

2. How would everyday life be different if some of these animals were brought back? Create an illustration of a rewilded world with raised highways and herds of megafauna migrating below.

IMAGE: Wonderville

IMAGE: Wonderville

3. From parks, farms, neighborhoods and schools, to highways, office buildings and shopping malls, humans use land for a wide variety of reasons. Scientists are often asked to determine the biodiversity of an area before it can be used. Exploring biodiversity begins with data collection, when scientists count the number of plants and animals that live within a certain area. The Wonderville website has a biodiversity game where kids can join a team of experts and collect biodiversity data. Click the image above, or right here to play.

4. Click the links below to learn more about rewilding.

The Rewilding Institute

Rewilding Europe

Rewilding TED Talk Video