Stephen Lewis’s ‘Green Politics’ collection at the library displays many posters surrounding the topics of environmental and political issues. Photos by Laura Drinan
By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Although climate change is a controversial topic in the United States, many countries around the globe have agreed that it is happening and is negatively influencing the planet. In the past few decades, activist groups have attempted to raise awareness for global warming and the need for environmental protection. For the month of April at the Walpole Library, the public can see posters from a variety of countries, which have joined the fight to save the Earth.
The exhibit, entitled “Green Politics,” comes from the collection of Stephen Lewis, who began gathering posters he enjoyed and found impactful at conferences he would attend. Over the years, as his collection grew, Lewis decided to organize the posters into themes and frame them to display in libraries.
Now, he has about 20 exhibits altogether, including ones around the themes of May Day, International Women's Day, human rights, worker's struggles, and anti-apartheid.The “Green Politics” posters included ones from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal, and Peru. While their content mostly revolves around environmental issues, many of them also broach political issues.
From France’s Alternative libertaire organization, one poster pictures a fist made out of greenery. Sandwiching the fist on the 2017 poster are black and red capital letters, which when translated read: “Ecology urgency. Leave from capitalism.”
A green and red poster from Denmark, estimated to be from around 1978, depicts a father, mother, and a child holding a rabbit. From the communist party, it reads: “a municipality in green and red.”
Another poster from France features a cartoon penguin dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, standing on a chunk of ice barely wide enough for the penguin’s feet. In its flippers, the penguin holds a sign, which says, “Change the system, not the climate” in French.
The collection even features a poster from pre-reunified Germany. The 1989 poster from the Green party says: “Swords into Plowshares, in East and West, start it where we are.”
A poster from the United States’ Earth Day in 1990 shows a cartoon drawing of the Statue of Liberty holding a broom in lieu of a torch. Instead of the tabula ansata dated with Roman numerals, it reads, “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.”
Mixed in with the posters are recent newspaper clippings that discuss global climate change and scientific studies on the environment.
As the topic is relevant to every being on the planet, Lewis’s collection at the Walpole Library offers a look at efforts to raise awareness for the environment and reminds us that there is still much to be done.