January 12th, 2023 --- The city of Houston unveiled a massive mural today to raise awareness and trigger action for the protection of the environment and ecosystem restoration, as part of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Street Art for Mankind (SAM) is collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to amplify the messages of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global effort to reverse climate change and biodiversity loss by 2030, by creating a series of #EcosystemRestorationMurals around the world. The beauty of ecosystem restoration is that it can happen at any scale, so everyone has a role to play. This is why large-scale public art can have a vital role in inspiring a #GenerationRestoration to take action. This initiative kicked off in 2021 in Brussels, with a large 40 meter high “Ecosytem Restoration” mural by artist Lula Goce.
The Houston Ecosystem Restoration Mural is the first of a five-part series in the United States. This 16-story high mural, created by prominent Argentinian artist Martín Ron, highlights growing trees as a way to restore local ecosystems and their functions for people and nature. It depicts a woman’s hand holding a local live oak tree branch that she extends to viewers as an invitation to join in and take action to grow more trees.
Trees are essential to the well-being of communities, as they help fulfill basic needs - breathing fresh air, drinking clean water and finding relief from the heat, among other benefits. Achieving Tree Equity requires planting and growing trees in communities where they are needed most, to enable people to experience the full benefits trees provide, no matter where they live.
In addition to the mural unveiling, American Forests and Trees for Houston, thanks to the support of Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, hosted a tree planting ceremony where 85 new trees were planted at the White Oak Bayou Greenway which was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The new trees will contribute to mitigating future flood risks, providing shade for hiking and biking trails, and increasing access to greenspaces for the neighborhood.
A free mobile app called “Behind the Wall,®” published by SAM, enables the public to scan the mural to hear the story behind ecosystem restoration, learn about the artist and take action from anywhere.
This mural has been created with the support of the Holiday Inn who donated their wall, and the drive of Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and the Houston Mayor’s office, all deeply engaged in providing more green spaces and tree equity to the Houston community.
This Ecosystem Restoration mural series was made possible thanks to the generous support of SAM partner Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, a Diageo Brands company and a United Nations Global Compact participant.
Mural Address: Back of the Holiday Inn (located at 1616 Main street), on Travis street.
Quote from the artist, Martin Ron
“Sabato, a famous Argentinian writer, states: “Life only needs the space of a crack to be reborn” which means that despite the obstacles, life still breaks through. So the question is: Since when did nature become fragile to the point of needing the hand of man who damages it to resist? This mural highlights the need to protect our ecosystems around the world and to amplify tree equity scores across the United States.”
Quote from UNEP
Fatou Ndoye, Acting Director, United Nations Environment Programme Office in North America
“Trees are a powerful tool to cool our cities, absorb pollution, regenerate soils, secure fresh water and bind carbon. It matters who benefits from them. Marginalized and underserved communities have the lowest tree coverage in cities. Tree Equity is a first step towards environmental justice in this UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”
Quote from Street Art for Mankind
Audrey and Thibault Decker, co-founders:
“Every year, the fight for our planet is getting more pressing. Solutions such as reforestation, ecosystem protection and rewilding represent 30% of the opportunity to address climate change, which means solutions are literally in our hands! We hope that this Ecosystem Restoration Murals series will inspire Houstonians as much as people from all around the world to act in their community. Together we can change the odds.”
Quote from Harris County
Commissioner Rodney Ellis:
“The Ecosystem Restoration Mural series takes on specific issues of reforestation, ecosystem and wildlife protection. These are vital components in our ongoing fight against climate change.” Commissioner Ellis said.“I appreciate the message in the piece that the tools to fight climate change are literally in our hands. I think that public art should not just inspire, but also encourage the change we want to see in the world.”
UNEP: North America Regional Information Officer Laura Fuller: [email protected]
Street Art for Mankind & Martín Ron: Audrey Decker – [email protected] - +1 305 934 5501
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yhch91jo6yhaxtk/AADW7p3_LDHd63dL2C9MSYxDa?dl=0 Required credit and tagging information: Photo Credit: @superkant for @StreetArtMankind #StreetArtMankind #EcosystemRestorationMurals #GenerationRestoration #ForNature #ClimateAction
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems across the world, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems and restore them to achieve global goals. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the UN Decade, which is led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The UN Decade is building a strong, broad-based global movement to ramp up restoration and put the world on track for a sustainable future.
About Martín Ron:
Martín Ron is an Argentinian street artist specialized in large scale murals. Martin surprises passers-by with immense works of art on walls that transports him and the public into a world of fantasy. Martín paints elements of real life and his paintings highlight aspects of the life around him, changing the dirty and gray landscapes into better places. Learn more at: https://streetartmankind.org/artists/martinron/
About Street Art for Mankind (SAM):
Street Art for Mankind (SAM) is a non-profit organization curating and producing large murals all around the world with prominent street artists. SAM’s goal is to raise awareness on social justice and environmental issues, and to give the public the means to become actors of change. Learn more at: https://streetartmankind.org/
About Bulleit Frontier Whiskey
Bulleit, founded in 1987, is one of the fastest-growing whiskeys in America. In 2017, Bulleit celebrated its 30th anniversary with the opening of a new, state-of-the-art distillery located in Shelbyville, KY. Constructed with a focus on sustainable practices including natural habitat protection, water conservation and local ingredient sourcing, BDC received the Highly Commended award for Sustainable Distillery of the Year at the 2020 Icons of Whisky Awards from Whisky Magazine. In 2021, Diageo opened its first carbon neutral whiskey distillery in Lebanon, KY with Bulleit being the first and leading brand being produced at the site supplementing existing production at the Bulleit Distilling Co. For more information, visit www.bulleit.com.