This series of images is exploring the binary pair:
Living planet v’s human activities.
The theme of these works is a concern with the effects of planetary resource extraction and consumption, for production of industrial and technological developments, and the increasingly dramatic impacts this is having on the ecosystems upon which life in general depends.
Human systems are currently geared toward an exponential growth assumption which bears little resemblance to the empirical limitations of the actual world in which we live and breathe. Our economic system has become the yardstick by which the value of all things is measured, and it’s guiding principles are continual uncontrolled expansion and dominion over all other considerations.
The trajectory of human civilisation over the past 500 years has shown a sustained trend in adherence to the economic model as governor and arbiter of our planning and actions. This is leading us rapidly in to a situation where all major earth systems are in crisis, including the system we call human civilisation.
We are simultaneously creating beyond our wildest imaginings, the most fantastic and innovative ‘things’ ever seen, and yet catapulting our entire life support system over the brink of its capacity to provide a viable foundation for biological organisms such as ourselves to continue to exist.
While these factors are in opposition, we must remember that it is our own actions that create the situation, and so, even though the situation is currently dire and deteriorating, there is a possibility that we could choose to enact a very different scenario.
Through careful application of the vast technological resources we currently have available, and by cultivating the humility to realise that we are in fact responsible for the future of all life on earth, we can choose to at least reflect upon our demise, if not forestall it.
The images attempt to illustrate that while it seems there is an inherent opposition between the living planet and our human activities, it is in fact illusory. These two polarised aspects of one whole complex system, whilst currently in conflict, are in fact mutually interdependent and one cannot be isolated from the other in actuality.
I have used a number of stylistic elements throughout the series that accentuate the sense of fracturing and rupturing which I perceive when doing research into the current state of planetary affairs. These consistently present elements help to unify the disparate aspects in the images thus rendering a set which conveys a coherent thematic narrative through visual language.
There is no real order in which to read these images, and they are best viewed either simultaneously all together, or one at a time. The resources used are all available creative commons images or my own intellectual property. The copyright exists only in regard to the combinations I have created and does not imply ownership or intention to financially benefit from their production. Creative Commons licence will be applied to the images once they are published to the web.
Assessing the Vulnerability of Social-Environmental Systems
Hallie Eakin and Amy Lynd Luers
Annual Review of Environment and Resources
Vol. 31: 365-394 (Volume publication date November 2006)
Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows Chelsea Green Publishing [ http://books.google.com.au/books?id=QRyQiINGW6oC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false]
Economic Development: The History of an Idea
By H. W. Arndt University of Chicago Press