Alternative facts: a deceptive notion that colors the narration of certain world events and paints them in a view that deems it favorable for entities and those who believe scientific facts are the curation of conspiracy theories.
This term was coined in January 2017 by the U.S Counselor to the President after which the world quickly erupted into debate about this new-found phenomenon.
The term soon gained popularity and was used to debunk “myths” about climate change, such as the melting of the ice sheet and the seriousness of pollution and its impact on the global climate. This in turn caused a stir in the field of photography, more particularly wildlife photography.
Wildlife photographers all over the world now recognize their photographs as tools to debunk the narrative of “alternative facts”. Here are a few ways wildlife and nature photography is changing the world’s view of climate change conspiracy theories.
Climate Change and “Alternative Facts”
When this term was coined, scientists and climate change activists all over the world drew a sigh of despair. Surely, the world could not simply just be refuting factual representation of climate change based on years and years of data and research.
Sadly, it was.
Such denial of climate change not only threatens political integrity of the entities propagating “alternative facts” it also poses a sizable risk to nature and biodiversity due to a more popular narrative in the form of these alternative facts.
So, what can be done about this and how does photography play a part in debunking the dangerous narrative?
Photographs have The Power to Pull at Your Heartstrings
What happens when you see a picture of the dodo bird, which is now extinct?
Think back to a time where ivory tusks obtained by poachers were burnt. The affect is the same. Wildlife photography acts like a window into those areas that are affected by climate change and pollution that the average person cannot or does not travel to.
Wildlife photography helps to curate another side of the narrative, the side where the dead sea-gulls lay and where plastics kill thousands of fish every year. It even brings into light certain cultural practices that need to be questioned in the post-modern era simply because of the cruelty they exhibit toward nature while causing it destruction.
Photographers Become The Voice of Nature
Due to the fact data and science don’t hit the majority in the same way that photographs do, wildlife photographers become the voice of nature in a situation where the truth is being categorically denied. When wildlife photographers capture their subjects in their natural habitats, they represent not only the beauty and intimacy of nature with its subjects, but also the quality of life they live.
Wildlife photographers hope to convey the message through their art, when all else fails. It is, like they say, a picture speaking a thousand words.
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