Tattoos To Show Your Love For The Planet

Tattoos To Show Your Love For The Planet

Sometimes, we get tattooed for aesthetics. Other times it’s for fun, and because frankly, we just want another tattoo. These are all perfectly good reasons to get a new piece of body art if you ask us. However, many times it is also because we are passionate about something – music, religion, political causes or other movements. 

deer tattoo
By Marius from Vivid Ink Birmingham

Activist tattoos

In 2015, a group of climate activists staged a live tattooing protest at Tate Gallery in London. The art collective Liberate Tate perform live unsanctioned performances in the gallery, and this time the intention was to protest against a sponsorship from oil giant BP. Thirty protesters set up tattooing stations in the 1840’s room.

The tattoos themselves were perhaps not stylistic works of art, nor did they take meticulous planning and you did not need to have gone through an apprenticeship to ink them. However, they did carry a powerful message.

Each individual received a tattoo of a number representing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere the year they were born. While we have yet to hear of any such activism during the COP26 summit in Glasgow, there are plenty of environmentally conscious motives prevalent in tattooing – and as temperatures rise across the globe, they are only set to grow in popularity. Other than get  those digits tattooed and then explain them to anyone curious enough to ask, what are some other designs people choose to display their support for the planet? 

peacock tattoo
By Jo from the Sutton Coldfield studio

Mother Earth

Starting with the rather obvious – there is, of course, the planet herself. An earth globe can come in so many styles – minimalistic, colourful, geometric, using negative space, decorative, or realistic. The round ball of molten rock covered by a thin layer of crust on which we live symbolises community, motherhood and nature.

When astronauts see the Earth from above they often report a cognitive shift in awareness known as the overview effect. Having the globe tattooed can represent an understanding of the lack of any tangible, substantial borders, and how everything we do in one part of the planet affects the whole. 

The thing that really surprised me was that it [Earth] projected an air of fragility. And why, I don’t know. I don’t know to this day. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile – Michael Collins, Apollo 11

black & grey realism tattoo
By Mary from Vivid Ink Stafford

Inking data on your skin

Meanwhile, a New York-based artist who launched a partnership with NASA five years ago, Justin Brice Guariglia, has a tattoo of a graph drawn from data from the space agency. The line on his arm shows a five-year running average of the planet’s surface temperature, and how it differs from the historical average. Since the 1970s, it has had a significantly upward trajectory. Guariglia said it was a way of making data more digestible, something he has also aimed to do with his seven missions with NASA to document Greenland’s melting ice and glaciers.


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