Photographer Chris Jordan is most famous for his efforts to portray the enormous and usually incomprehensible scale of human impact on the Earth. His shots of albatross choked by plastic on Midway Island create a personal connection to a global problem; his Running the Numbers series brings statistics about material consumption to life.
Jordan recently released a new work that tries to convey a fact that's just as mind-boggling, but much more heartening: the number of people working to build a more just and sustainable world. E Pluribus Unum is 24 feet square, composed of aluminum panels laser etched with the names of "one million organizations around the world that are devoted to peace, environmental stewardship, social justice, and the preservation of diverse and indigenous culture. The actual number of such organizations is unknown, but estimates range between one and two million, and growing."
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An interview with Chris Jordan
Jordan pulled on the work of Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming, who has created a database of 130,000 such organizations. Jordan writes:
The purpose of this piece is to visualize the vast network of altruistic human organizations in every country, city, and community around the world, all working in parallel together. Despite their enormous diversity of size, focus, and geographic location, these organizations are all united around a set of core values that places compassion and stewardship as highest priorities. The hundreds of millions of individuals who are creating and running these organizations bring a nourishing culture of passion, imagination, and citizenship to this process. In that way I think of this piece as being like a compass, pointing toward a true source of hope and inspiration for our times.
Below, magnification reveals the names that make up the compass.
E Pluribus Unum by Chris Jordan
- Message from the Gyre
Video: Chris Jordan's powerful photographs show the disastrous impact of disposable plastic in the Great pacific Garbage Patch.