Anthropocene is a great modern art exhibition that involves current arty work from Edward Burtynsky, Nicholas de Pencier as well as Jennifer Baichwal collections. These three artists of Canadian origin have created a remarkable and attractive visual experience engaging reflection of environmental and ethical concerns erupting from the exploitation of Earth’s resource. The view of the effects of human activity on Earth has been achieved through film installations, photography alongside contemporary interactive technologies. Anthropocene explores human activities on Earth through photographic prints and high-definition murals that are fine and striking.

I visited the National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Drive on a Thursday. The exhibition was awesome! The exhibit was decorated with images of places impacted by human activities such as the Lagos sawmills, potash mines in Perm, Russia, log booms on Vancouver islands, and extra. The exhibition is surrounding the complex and pervasive effects on our contemporary way of life. The feeling at the display was immersive to areas that are affected by rapid environmental change. Therefore, the rationale for Anthropocene is to explore how Earth is impacted by human activity through interactive technology.

The sawmill activities in Lagos, Nigeriadominated my perception. Artist Edward Burtynsky designed the image. The commercial operation of timber and its products in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria attracted more wonder and considerations, which compelled me to discuss and expound on a high-definition image that clearly shown rafts on water one of the significant components of the environment. Rafts scattered all over the water with potential water pollution from sawmilling activities. The impact of this activity was significant with several milling stations. It majorly takes place in Makoko-Oko Baba wood market, which is the hub for this expansive business operation that has employed over ten thousand people, and it is perceived to be doing great economically in Lagos, and Nigeria as a whole.

The economic activity is facilitated by sawyers who send bush contractors to fell tries for logs in Delta, Ondo and Cross River forests. Amid increasing environmental consciousness and growing demand for wood products, the importance of satisfying increasing demand, and reducing environmental effects simultaneously, is widely recognized. FAO projected the global consumption of timber to increase by 45% by the end of 2020. Also, The World Bank has predicted that global timber demand to be quadruple by 2050 (FIM 2017). Thus, there is increasing arguments about meeting the need for the escalating demand for timber.

Sawmilling facilitates the production of timber products that are regarded as products from sustainable and renewable environmental resources. Similarly, like other products, timber products can as well result in various ecological impacts at distinct stages for their supply chain, from timber harvesting to its market disposal. The main environmental effect is the energy consumption required to produce massive amounts of timber and greenhouse gases emissions during manufacturing and processing processes. Although forests decrease the atmospheric carbon since trees takes-up carbon dioxide through a process known as carbon sequestration, timber production also emits carbon to the atmosphere.

Deforestation contributes more than 15% of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Other environmental impacts associated with timber production are due to timber products transportation, chemicals usage, and wood wastage. From the Anthropocene image the felt logs are transported over water, the logs are wired to form rafts that float on water or carried by boats that consume several tanks of diesel for the safe arrival of woods. The transportation process pollutes the water systems from fuel spillage.The sawmilling process comprises of debarking as well as cutting off the extracted logs into sections that are consequently sawn into boards of timber.Based on the fact that transportation of the extracted wood requires fossil fuels, upon combustion, these fuels release carbon, nitrogen and sulfur gases into the environment in different types and quantities. These gas releases are known as anthropogenic emissions, and it is related to environmental effects.

The debarking and sawing process increases the particulate environmental matter. Moreover, drying of kiln and wood residues creates environmental hazards on land. The entire process of timber production involves heavy machinery that impacts the quality of all major components of the environment such as, water, air, and land. Similarly, sawmilling emits toxic gases like carbon dioxide, mono-nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide at various quantities into the surrounding, thereby forming global warming, eutrophication, photo-oxidant, acidification as well as human toxicity.

So, an intensive sawmilling as observed from the exhibition eventually results in adverse effects to the environment leading to a hazardous atmosphere.The manufacturing processes involved in timber productions comprise different machines that perform various activities such as gluing, machining, and sawing alongside jointing and so on. The involved activities are linked to an environmental hazard, and occupational health and safety. The hazards from the milling machines can be mechanical, structural, physical or biological. There are injuries as well as infections associated with sawmilling in Nigeria.

The exhibited sawmill photo describes the wood wastage in the form of damage residuals and abandoned logs; thus they form a critical proportion of waste materials. Most of the logs lie on water, and some are submerged. However, the abandoned logs always undergo through the decaying process, which lead to water pollution. Also, the wasted stumps or branches usually decrease the beautification of the environment. The whole timber extraction process is a menace to the ecosystem and geological preservations. Notably, during timber processing, there are different chemicals applied, especially during preservative treatments such as the application of adhesives and coating the final products. Even if the preservative chemicals play a significant role in boosting life span timber related products, they can as well result in environmental effects through toxic compounds they contain.The commonly applied adhesives are phenol-formaldehyde together with urea-formaldehyde might be environmentally hazardous. Wood coatings also emit volatile organic compounds like those having chlorofluorocarbon.

In conclusion, the Anthropocene exhibition is appropriate as it provides an expansive view of various human activities that eventually result in adverse environmental effects as well as climate change. As a result of the ecosystem and geological imbalances, several species have collapsed due depletion of resources and other favorable factors that could promote their existence. Activities such as sawmilling create a significant vacuum in balancing the atmospheric carbon dioxide through constant deforestation.  The significant effect is always accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG).  Also, other environmental adversities such as global warming, eutrophication, and acidification have significantly impacted the globe. Therefore it is wise to cut forests as we replace so that the existing ecosystem is maintained. The use of modern technologies, which reduces environmental hazards from timber productions, should be employed to eliminate anthropogenic emissions.


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