Humans & Interactions & Earth
Yulene Olaizola & Rubén Imaz, The Last Maya, INTERACTIONS Film, 2023 (detail)
On Earth, nature and ecosystem are in consummate harmony when every species has a role to play in making the ecosystem and environment work perfectly, coexisting in an organic balance. However, as we all know, human activities have had a direct impact on the resources of our planet, as well as on the animals, plants and microorganisms with whom we share the Earth. It is indeed clearly evidenced that human influences are the primary cause of global warming, especially the carbon pollution we cause by burning fossil fuels and the pollution-capturing we prevent by destroying forests and wildlife. As land and sea undergo rapid changes, the animals that inhabit them are doomed to disappear if they don’t adapt quickly enough. Some will make it, but many won’t, leading to ever higher wildlife extinction rates.
While the extinction of animal species is part of the natural process of evolution, the expansion of the human species has led to a significant increase in the extinction rate. Because humans share ecosystems with endangered species, our quality of life and our survival is linked to them. Habitat destruction, water pollution, deforestation, climate change, resource depletion and other factors have increased the extinction rate, putting substantial pressure on thousands of the most vulnerable creatures on the planet.
Forests, savannahs, lakes, rivers and seas may appear intact from above, but they may lack vital animals on the ground, such as elephants, which scatter seeds and create necessary holes in forests, or wolves, which keep an eye on the deer and moose population, or insects and amphibians, whose progressive extinction is visible to all, day after day.
The human degradation of wildlife habitats also forces disease-carrying wild animals closer to humans, allowing new strains of infectious diseases to thrive. According to scientists, coronavirus is a direct result of this phenomenon. In just over a year, the pandemic has not only transformed the lives of human beings, but also those of the animals and plants that today find themselves dealing with a new form of pollution.
Owing to the dispersion of masks and gloves, personal protective devices can be found discarded everywhere today: on the ground, in waterways, on beaches, in parks. Living this era of the Anthropocene, where humans increasingly seem to influence nature beyond their conscious control, it’s high time to assert the many forms of relationships that can accentuate and investigate the bond between the animal world and mankind.