Atlas as a symbol for our climate challenge

September 8, 2007 at 4:22 am | Posted in Architecture, Atlas, Climate challenge, Climate change, Earth Galleries, Geography, globe, Greece, Greek Titan, Icon, London, Museums, My photos, Mythology, Natural History Museum, NHM, Photography, Science, Sculpture, Statue, Symbol, Titans, Topology | Leave a comment

Atlas and the globe close-up in the Earth Galleries entrance hall at the Natural History Museum London

I took this photo in the Natural History Museum this summer. This statue of Atlas and the globe is one of a collection of similar striking sculptures at the entrance to the wonderful Earth Galleries. For example, here’s an Earth Scientist.  Those galleries are truly full of wonders and wonder!

Atlas, one of the first Titans, is struggling to uphold the sphere of the heavens, as a punishment from Zeus for being on the losing side of the Titan-Olympian struggle. He is keeping the Sky separate from Earth.

It would be brilliant if Atheneion could contribute his words of wisdom about this character, as he is an expert on the Ancient World and I always value his advice and insights 😉

Somehow, perhaps, Atlas could be a useful symbol for today’s climate challenge because he is not only iconic, but his name is associated with ancient themes from the times when people were intimately connected with the Earth, unlike our typical restricted contact with nature nowadays. (David Attenborough mentioned recently that about 80% of the world’s population is urbanised now—no wonder it is hard for many people to connect with the natural world, living in towns and cities and eating our food from packets as we do.)

So, being surprised by the way this photo turned out (I rarely use a flash, but had to in this setting, and the result was quite different from what we could see with our eyes) and looking for an image to symbolise our struggles to combat climate change, this striking picture is the one that comes to mind.

Atlas also has some handy alter-egos as his name is used in well-known Geography and lesser-known Topology contexts, and his physique is recognised in Architecture as a supporting character!

So, what do you think?

Does this picture inspire you to do something to protect our planet?

Do you share Atlas concern for our atmosphere as you reflect on his furrowed brow?

I may even send my pin-up poster guy into DeSmogBlog’s Greenest Photo Ever Contest, just for fun 😉

Atlas and the globe in the Earth Galleries entrance hall at the Natural History Museum London


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