I am sorry, I may lose some people with this post, but sometimes we have to face some real issues. Lets pause to discuss a tough subject that really means a lot to me this Earth Day. Then lets all try to make some real changes in the year(s) going forward! The earth can no longer afford to fund our throw away culture. (All images are composed and created with vintage cameras, medium format film with no use of computers, it’s how I strive to create my HumanNature images, simply, tangibly with analog) If these issues are already overwhelming for you, or you feel you are already doing your best and don’t want more nagging, just scroll on!
I first began creating my HumanNature images because I was looking for a way to physically express something that I already knew. That we are just as much a part of nature as the rivers, streams, oceans, meadows, forests, deserts, flowers and all of the animals in the animal kingdom. I had been searching for a way to show that nature is inside of us, and we are inside of nature. As humans, I do believe that we have forgotten that what happens to the earth and all of the earth’s resources happens to us. If we pollute the air that we breathe and the water we drink we are poisoning ourselves and our children as well as the animals. I began this project with the goal to make this a visual statement, that our nervous systems are connected to the very trees we seem to take for granted and use for everything from toilet paper to the building of our homes.
Things are coming to a head with the climate crisis, and our children and our teenagers are fighting a good fight to help save the earth. I know it seems difficult and overwhelming, but we have to make changes. We have to reduce our footprints on the earth, or there will be nothing left for the generations to come. We all make decisions based on what we can afford. But I believe we need to start making decisions based on what the earth can afford. Maybe you can afford to run into a convenience store at any point to get a bottle of water, maybe carrying a reusable bottle seems heavy, or drippy, or just not something you want to do, maybe you can afford to get and toss or even recycle the bottle, but the earth can no longer afford single use, plastic water bottles. The earth can not afford plastic straws or plastic bags. The earth can not afford meat based diets! These are small, simple things that most of us can afford, but really the earth can’t, so we need to make changes. Then there are bigger things, maybe you can’t afford, and don’t apply to everyone, but maybe you can afford to go to the Maldives for spring break. You have seen how beautiful it is there and you can afford to go. But the earth can not afford for you to go. Maybe you can afford to go on a cruise for vacation. But the earth can not afford the impact of cruise ships. Perhaps you can afford a new microwave every few years, but the earth can not afford microwaves. I can go on and on, and there are plenty of people trying to help, but there are still lots of us who think, “it’s just one baggie, it’s just one water bottle, it’s just one kind of food full of palm oil".” But we know it is not truly just one of anything, We are now using a million plastic bottles a minute!
So then maybe you can’t afford things either. Maybe you can’t afford to keep up with all the seasons in the fashion industry, or you can’t afford all of the clothes your children want. When we can’t afford things, we look for bargains. But unfortunately, the earth can not afford to pay for the environmental impact fast fashion has.
It can seem overwhelming. And we can’t fix it all ourselves, but lets all try to make a few changes. Lets not just think about what we can afford, or not afford, lets all stop and think about what the earth can afford. Because the earth is pretty broke, and it is falling behind every day, the bank is overdrawn and it can not afford to keep up with all of the traveling and garbage and the throw away culture anymore. Buy less, make do, carry a reusable water bottle, skip the plastic straws, bring your reusable shopping bags, use beeswax wraps instead of baggies, skip the car ride, walk or ride your bike for short errands, eat less (or no) meat….. We vote with our money, but the earth pays with loss of resources, polluted waters, deforestation, and loss of species… and believe me, when the earth pays, we all pay. We have been living on borrowed time, and sadly, it is our children who will be dealing with this is we don’t start making changes. I know it is hard, but we can do it, lets all work together to reduce our footprint and think not about what we can or can’t afford, but think about what our precious planet earth can or can’t afford!
“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”-Lady Bird Johnson
“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”-Native American Proverb
“Teach us to walk the soft Earth as relatives to all that live.” -Sioux Prayer
Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without. We need to make this our moto!