10 Stunning Images Show Human's Huge Impact on the Earth
Over the course of human history, man's ongoing destruction of the environment has forever altered our natural surroundings.
Proof of humanity's devastating footprint on Earth can be seen in these stunning images below, graciously provided to EcoWatch by the organizers of FotoFest, an internationally known photographic arts and learning nonprofit based in Houston, Texas.
Unaltered Stomach Contents of a Laysan Albatross Fledgling, Midway Island, 2010 . From the series Midway: Message from the Gyre, 2009 - 2016. Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Chris Jordan
FotoFest is hosting their 2016 Biennial, a citywide exhibition which runs March 11 through April 24 under the theme “Changing Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet.”
The exhibition will address all the major aspects of anthropocene—or, broadly, the age of man. In these photos, you'll see marine debris and ocean plastics that have choked our waterways and aquatic life; how mining and drilling for Earth's precious resources has destroyed our landscape and spewed emissions that warm the atmosphere and melt glaciers; and how mountains of trash are left to rot in ever-growing landfills.
SOUP: Refused, 2011. Ingredient: plastic oceanic debris affected by the chewing and attempted injestion by animals. Includes a toothpaste tube. Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Mandy Barker
The exhibition is a collaboration between FotoFest co-founders Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin and FotoFest executive director Steven Evans. Watriss and Baldwin have been developing the concept for the past five years and Evans wanted make it the focus of the FotoFest 2016 Biennial.
"After many years of doing environmental programming at FotoFest for over 20 years and recent discussions with many scientists, policy-makers and artists across the world, we thought it was to take a new approach to 'looking at' the relationship of human society to the Earth," Watriss told EcoWatch.
"The work selected by FotoFest for this 2016 Biennial looks at the beauty and diversity of life on Earth alongside the imprint that human beings are leaving on the planet. Collectively these works can be seen as a call to a new vision, a new way of seeing the Earth and our relationship to it."
Girls with Sacks, 2007. Young girls drag sacks of rubbish they collected during a days work. They walk across a heavy steel plate roadway which stops heavy vehicles sinking into the rubbish. From the series Smokey Mountain and Recycling Phnom Penh, 2007-2010. Photo credit: Courtesy of artist Nigel Dickinson
To create the Pictures of Garbage series, Vik Muniz worked with the catadores, or pickers, from the world’s largest landfill: Jardim Gramacho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Vik Muniz
The artworks at the exhibition depict topics such as climate change, industrialization and urbanization, biodiversity, water, the use of natural and human resources, human migration, global capital, commerce and consumption, energy production and waste.
"It is time again to 'see' the beauty and wonder of this planet. How do we stimulate people to actually care about the Earth and what is happening to it? What can art do in this regard?" Watriss said. "We have found that many artists are looking at these same questions and exploring how they, as individuals and members of a society, relate to the natural world around them."
Titan Crane, Hotellneset Coal Harbour, Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Norway, 2012 . From the series The Metabolic Landscape, 2011-2016. Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Gina Glover
The exhibition will feature pieces from artists who hail from nine countries across Europe, Asia, and North and South America. Many of the artists will travel to Houston to participate in lectures, tours and other programs during the Biennial.
Scroll down to the photos at the bottom of this post, and you'll notice that mankind is finding ways to survive on a warming planet, where hurricanes are getting stronger and droughts are hitting harder.
AfterRip, 2015. From the series Afterfracking. Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Roberto Fernández Ibáñez
Silver Lake Operations # 1, Lake Lefroy, Western Australia, Australia, 2007 . From the series Mines, 2007. Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Edward Burtynsky
Water collects in unnamed seasonal lake atop the Greenland ice sheet, 75 miles southeast of Ilulissat. With the Earth’s warming climate, the melt season now stretches 70 days longer than it did in the early 1970s, 2014 . From the series Greenland . Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Daniel Beltrán and Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago
From the series The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar. Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Jamey Stillings
Lurie Children’s Memorial (looking Southwest) – Chicago, IL May, 2012. From the series Rooftop. Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist Brad Temkin and Innova Art LTD
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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