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December 1, 2012

Hear No Evil, Sea No Evil

There is the sheer oddity of these news photos of an algae bloom on Australia’s northern coast. Then, there is the timing of them as the digital public square attunes right now to freak weather and environmental anomalies and the relationship to human behavior.

You can find different versions of this electrifyingly chromatic slide show bait, but these two images struck me most.  In a visual riff on “hear no evil, see no evil,”  each spoke to me about the problematic relationship between nature gone awry and human nature being all too predictable. In the first photo, you see the person swimming almost unconsciously toward the bloom, symbolic (at least to me) of man’s ignorance as he/she navigates headlong into trouble.

The photo of the guy swimming in the pristine pool, on the other hand, seems more indicative of denial — or privileged negligence. I’m thinking here of the mindset that goes: “as long as I’m safe, let someone else worry.” Or worse (not to say it’s a private pool, but…), what about those citizens with more money than conscience who simply accept that security and pleasure is going to cost them a little more?

(photo 1: William West/AFP caption: A swimmer heads toward a red algae bloom Tuesday at Clovelly Beach. The algae bloom along vast stretches of Australia’s southeastern coastline has resulted in beach closures. photo 2: Newspix via Zuma caption: A man swims undisturbed by a red algae bloom in the waters of Sydney, Australia, on Nov. 27.)

  • Cactus

    Been thinking a lot about this in the past few months. Wasn’t there a
    climate report compiled for Congress, which the teapublicans demanded not be
    released a few weeks ago? How’s that for refusal to see the disaster
    looming!

    Now we have the documentary “Ice” and the report commissioned by the World
    Bank and completed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate (etc.). The latter
    predicting a 4-degree C. increase in temp and a catastrophe worse than the Black
    Plague, which decimated about half of Europe. Compare that to the idiots in
    Congress who propose bills to “protect” the incandescent light bulb.

    I fear we might have already reached the tipping point. It took Sandy to
    wake up Bloomberg. Maybe it will take some disaster of equal proportions to hit
    inside the beltway to wake up our government.

  • Gasho

    These are indeed striking images. The red color of the algae is incredible. I hadn’t seen these before.

    I think your analysis is great. We are so close to disaster in so many ways, swimming right for it! What strikes me is the outrageous proximity to said disaster accompanied by the ignorance or sheer willful blindness to it.

    These could be in a gallery opposite a host of other pictures, about Fukushima, Sandy, the Gulf Oil Spill… the list goes on and on. What could we possibly hope for to come along and redeem us?

    • GeorgeMokray

      We must redeem ourselves. Stop waiting for somebody or something else to do so. Lots we can do to slow, stop, or reverse climate change but none of it is on the radar: black carbon reduction, methane management, ecological restoration on a regional scale.

      Instead of dealing with these realities, we prefer to argue about the existence of anthropogenic climate change with hypocrites and idiots paid to ignore the facts or duped into it. What stupidity.

  • 1976boy

    Human population is an algae bloom.

  • Riley

    For crying out loud. You lot have all the indicia of religious fanatics. Wake up to yourselves. There is no climate change problem and humans are not a blight upon the earth. Yeesh.

  • Pingback: Things You’ll Find Interesting December 2, 2012 | Chuq Von Rospach, Photographer and Author

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