Heated issue

Competition Details

The Yellow Tape Project

by Gonzalo Cardenas


The average Canadian needs about 4.8 hectares/11.9 acres of land to support his/her current lifestyle. This equates into 3 entire Earths if everyone in the world lived at current Canadian standards. These statistics are excerpted from Redefining Progress’ Ecological Footprint Analysis (rprogress.org), created to calculate the amount of land area needed to produce the resources used by a given population or activity, and to absorb the wastes they produce.

The changes needed to reverse this massive resource consumption and the consequential effects of climate change must come in the form of a cultural revolution, a collective change of mind and behaviour. Words and statistics only provide empty and intangible messages that are difficult to understand and visualize, being ineffectual for the average person, and producing little or no change in our activities or lifestyles. Most people are aware of an environmental crisis but feel overwhelmed with the information and are unable to see the connections between their lifestyles and the bigger picture.

The Yellow Tape Project takes the startling facts published by Redefining Progress and exhibits them in a physical form that is powerful in scale and easy to grasp and visualize. The point is made clear by wrapping roughly three downtown city blocks (4.8 hectares/11.0 acres) with yellow tape. “This is the land area needed to support the lifestyle of an average Canadian,” reads the message repeated along the yellow tape.

Along with presenting the effects of consumption of a single member of a population in an assertive and unavoidable display, the yellow tape will also display “small actions with large impacts” that the general public can undertake to shrink our negative impact on the environment.

* The Yellow Tape Project can be translated to any other population and installed in any city.