I picked up Bill McKibben’s Eaarth: Making Life on a Tough New Planet. He writes about the inevitable environmental catastrophes awaiting humans. He frames it as entering the end of the Holocene era, beginning a new, way more wild and unpredictable one on earth. I am not new to environmental literature as I wrote my thesis on it. However, Bill McKibben is unlike any other environmental writer I have read. He has a very blunt way of talking about shit. He really doesn’t beet around the bush when it comes to environmental concerns.
It is hard to wrap my mind around the reality that it the ocean might be too acidic to support the chain of life. Or that the icebergs will only survive in photographs. Or that floods are Manitoba’s least concern because we will live in a landscape under threat from wildfires.
There is nothing like a little End of The World literature to make you question what is really worth your energy. One thing reading this book makes me do is to revisit nature photography with a very different awareness. I realize what a luxury it is to do photography, taking pictures of beauty, rather than documenting destruction.
Perhaps this will change. Perhaps I will document the ways in which the earth changes over my life. It’s a sobering thought. For now I am left to my vivid imagination about my future, and this makes me ask myself why I do photography in the first place. Can I change the world with it? Can I make it a better place? Or is it that photography just makes me a better person as I engage perhaps the last phase of the Holocene era? Is that enough?