The Shrine is made out of trash you find on Mount Everest. The pollution masks are the ones Anne also used in the Maldives, resembling Tibetan prayer flags. 7,000 people per year climb Mount Everest leaving behind so far an estimated 50 tons of non-degradable trash and around 20 tons of human waste. Earning Everest the nickname World’s Highest Garbage Dump. Trash, the newest form of human archeology, is everywhere.
All the plastic used in this Timeshrine was found on this remote site. This is where Anne realized that plastic is now a permanent element of the seas. After the Industrial and Information revolution we need a Sustainability revolution.
This photograph documents five days’ worth of plastic bottles, washed up on shore by the currents. In 2017 nine million tons of plastic will end up in the ocean, the equivalent of dumping one garbage truck of plastic into the water every minute. By 2050, the Oceans will contain by weight more plastic than fish.
This Timeshrine was created on a coral reef reclaimed from the Ocean to be filled with garbage. Besides the dead coral Anne used pollution masks painted as Tibetan prayer flags. Originally a 5 mile long, 200 yards wide lagoon Thilafushi has today a landmass of 4.6 million ft entirely reclaimed with trash burning 24/7. Bluepeace, a Maldivian ecological movement, describes the island as a "toxic bomb”.
Pink Flamingos landed on the edge of Lake Elementaita just before this photograph was taken. Within seconds their feeding activities disturbed the surface of the water. Recently increased fishing activity has dried up the catchment area of this lake and the water level has receded: as a result the number of flamingos has greatly decreased.
Anne entered this ‘no man’s land’ undercover with a group of young local activists. Illegal stacks burn 24/7 and release in the atmosphere toxic substances including dioxin. 2 million people live and feed on this land. The Terra dei Fuochi (“Land of the Fires”) near Naples has become the largest landfill of toxic waste in Europe.
The pollution level that day was 2.5 times the health hazard level and so high that Anne had to work wearing a mask. In the foreground of the image peonies, China’s unofficial national flower, are mixed with breathing masks. There is no human world without breath.
Anne went roofing in Shanghai and found this unexpected body of water. Lotus flowers are a powerful symbol of resilience as they rise from a dark place to beauty and rebirth facing the sky. Resilience is an extraordinary human quality. It will lead us into the future.