Domestication and Extinction – series

Domestication & Extinction

Reduction Linocut, 76 x 56 cm, 2019

There is a lot of discussion among academics when the era of the Anthropocene began. One could argue that it germinated with the domestication of crops and animals, when humans started to consciously manipulate their surroundings approximately 10,000 years ago. Domestication of our plants and animals have certainly spurred human population growth on our planet, which has resulted in diminished ecosystems and extinction of species.

A re-discovery in the Anthropocene is that ‘nature’ is not inanimate after all; it is animated. It reacts and moves in response to our actions, because we are part of it. However, our mainstream perceptions of conservation still tend to be very fragmented. As Anna Tsing observes: “Conservation biologists segregate nonhumans; political ecologists too often take them for granted as resources for human use. Instead, we might want to look at how species and populations slip in and out of markets, in and out of cultural attention, and in and out of a whole spectrum of not-yet-fully-described interactions between humans and nonhumans.”

Zoonotic Transmission, Reduction Linocut, 76 x 56 cm 2021

“Pandemics such as Coronavirus are the result of humanity’s destruction of Nature, according to leaders at the UN, WHO and WWF International, and the world has been ignoring this stark reality for decades.”

The Guardian Newspaper

“The primary risks for future spillover of zoonotic diseases are deforestation of tropical environments and large-scale industrial farming of animals, specifically pigs and chickens at high-density, says Thomas Gillespie of Emory University in the US”.

Emory news Center

“What has changed in the modern world is that there are more of us, more interconnected, causing more disruption. A zoonosis is an animal infection that’s transmissible to humans. That can be a virus or a bacterium or any other sort of infectious bug, but a zoonotic virus is one that comes out of a nonhuman animal and somehow passes into humans.

If the new host is Homo sapiens, if it’s us humans, then that virus has seized a huge opportunity for vast evolutionary success because it can replicate quickly, spread from individual to individual, ride on airplanes, get around the planet in twenty-four hours, spread to more people and become possibly the most successful and abundant virus in the world. And that’s what happens with pandemics.

David Quammen

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