PROJECT: Consider the following four forms of intervention: Destroy the weak; Ignore the weak and let them die natural deaths; Repair the weak so they can survive; Restore the weak so that become strong.

The phrase, “Mercy me” is derived from “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!” Gaye is pleading for forgiveness on behalf of us all for showing so little mercy to non human species and their habitats. However, environmentalists might reverse this interpretation and plead for forgiveness for the many occasions when humans are merciful. From an eco-centric perspective, aiding and protecting unfit members of a community can stress its population in the present and the future.

Consider the following example from the animal world. A pack of wolves is chasing a herd of caribou. The weakest caribou falls and gets devoured by hungry wolves. Both species benefit because the wolves gaining nourishment and the fit caribou survivors have more resources available to them.

READ TO LIFE! Read chapters exploring any three of the following artists, all of whom introduce a third form of merciful intervention. They do not eliminate the weak members of a population, and they do not share resources merely to sustain them. Instead, they strengthen weak members, providing a strengthening resource that will enable them to function well: Chin and Yeh (impoverished populations), Dory (shepherds), Fournier, Hundertwasser, SUPERFLEX (remote villagers), Ukeles (sanitation workers), and Sherk (urban residents).

PROJECT: Consider the following four forms of intervention:

  1. Destroy the weak
  2. Ignore the weak and let them die natural deaths
  3. Repair the weak so they can survive
  4. Restore the weak so that become strong.

Choose a personal item that is worn or broken, such as a shirt with missing buttons, or battered shoes, or a cell phone with a scratched case. Which of the four forms of intervention would you normally activate on this kind of item?

Now think of this item as a metaphor for a beloved pet. Give it a name. Then activate one of the four forms of intervention on this item. Did your intervention strategy change?

DISCUSSION: Interventions can either halt something negative or initiate something positive. The following artists halted something negative: Bayer (stop flooding), Chin (remove contamination), CAE (disrupt corporate irresponsibility), Dory (intrusions on shepherding), Haacke (polluted water), HeHe (polluted air), Mandiberg (energy-consuming practices), Ngo (inefficient infrastructure), Reyes (deforestation and violence). The interventions of the following artists initiated something positive: Ballengee (restore species), Fournier (expand resource base), Franceschini (efficient energy production), Hundertwasser (vitalize architecture), Sherk (vitalize urban neighborhood), Sonfist (create a forest), TC &A (efficient food production), Yeh (vitalize a community).