In today's society, so many of us are unaware of the human footprint we leave on this planet. Throughout this photo essay, I tried to create simple snapshots of the effects people have and the type of waste we leave behind. All of these photos were taken in Washington, D.C., representing urban biodiversity. We build monumental cities and at the same time try to create parks and keep the natural forests and habitat in their original place while destroying them with both industrial and material waste. The first step to cleaning up this world of waste and restoring biodiversity is getting people to recognize what we are actually doing to the environment. These photos illustrate that while we might think simple waste is not a big deal, in the end no one is there to pick it up or dispose of it properly, resulting in the release of harmful toxins, erosion, and destruction of trees and plants. These foreign objects in nature are not only harming ecosystems but are also visually unpleasing to look at. People in the suburbs have the pleasure of running in parks and on trails throughout the small parks but are visually plagued by water pollution and unnatural objects destroying the natural habitat around them. Looking at these photos of waste and pollution as the focal point is sad because the vibrant nature should be the attention; instead, these green spaces are trying to thrive with unnatural objects and waste eroding it.
Personally, I believe that people are uneducated about the effects we have on the environment and the massive amounts of damage we do to our ecosystems. Animals are losing their homes at rapid rates and having only minimal natural forests in cities like Washington, D.C., is not substantial enough. I feel people are becoming more and more focused on themselves and more unaware of the beauty nature provides us. The Sixth Great Extinction, a massive loss of biodiversity, is more relevant than ever before: with rapidly growing technology and industrial growth, cities are becoming larger and untouched land is being destroyed. Both big corporations and individuals are blindly and sometimes knowingly destroying the ecosystem for monetary reasons and do not care about the pollution and waste they create. Simply picking up waste and taking care of it appropriately might seem like an insignificant step, but it can go a long way. Simple steps like that help prevent larger issues such as global warming from becoming more of a threat to us. There needs to be immediate change coming from the government and socially responsible companies who can lead the way in restoring the biodiversity loss on this planet. Without a strong ecosystem, the human race would not survive; we depend on the natural world for life's essentials: food, clean water, clean soil, and the maintenance of mental health through recreation and creativity.
All photos are copyright protected and may not be used without permission. All photos are courtesy of Ross Honig.