“In known history, nobody has had such capacity for altering the universe than the people of the United States of America. And nobody has gone about it in such an aggressive way.”
According to a WalletHub study,1 many midwestern American states are more than “in the middle” geographically; they’re also ranked in-between their most and least sustainable counterparts. While the coasts are true bookends as regards sustainability practices (the west treats them almost as luxury exercises while the east adopts them as matters of pragmatism) the American Midwest lags.
As a native of the American Midwest, it’s my observation that stereotypical American hubris is alive and well there, fueling this lag. Hubris is fueled by a perception of separateness, not only from “big city” practices on the coasts, but from a greater sense of unity in the ecosystem.
This series examines the heartland’s mixed perceptions, struggle towards, and lukewarm adoption of sustainability messaging and policy. I employ a mixture of creative journalism and editorial imagery in an unabashedly promotional approach. As an advertising and marketing veteran, I recognize that promotions have exacerbated this situation; they can have a powerful effect towards reversing it.
My work on this project documents markers of tension between unfettered American consumption typified in the Midwest versus the realization that conservation is essential. All images will be captured on traditional film; I develop and scan my own negatives.
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