A Story of Climate Change
People lived in harmony with reverence for the earth for tens of thousands of years. The people respected the land with its non-human inhabitants and learned about the innate value of plants and trees, weather and astronomy. But the people fought each other, which people of almost all origins seem to have done for their entire history.
The lilies are a symbol of life, hope, rebirth and purity, but they are just beginning to decay indicating the brevity of life. This image holds weapons, symbols of authority and earthly power, which are descriptions that mean nothing in the afterlife. Indigenous people made bone, shell, and stone beads, which were used to decorate themselves and as money for trade. The skull that appears in each image is the most obvious reminder of the fragility of life and the inevitability of mortality. Shells were a sign of death and frailty since they were once homes for living animals. Although in the original Dutch paintings, shells represented wealth and ostentatiousness, in this context, they are more a symbol of the abundance of natural resources.