The global award in photography and sustainability

Lucas Foglia

Human Nature

Conservationists often disagree about how humankind should best move forward from the damage we have already done. Traditionalists argue that we should put a boundary around wild spaces to preserve them, but there is no way to contain the effects of people. More radical conservationists propose moving all people to green cities, supplied with renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, to allow the countryside to rewild itself.

Responding to this debate, I befriended and photographed people who are working towards a positive environmental future despite the enormity of the task. Human Nature is a series of interconnected stories about how we rely on nature in the context of climate change. Each story is set in a different ecosystem: city, forest, farm, desert, ice field, ocean and lava flow. From a newly-built rainforest in urban Singapore to a Hawaiian research station measuring the cleanest air on Earth, the photographs examine our need for ‘wild’ places – even when those places are human constructions.

Hope fuels the work of the people I photographed and drives how I use their images. I exhibit prints of my photographs in galleries, festivals and museums. I publish photographs in books, in magazines and on social media. I also give my photographs to local and international organisations to use for advocacy. All are different methods of storytelling, and there is activism and optimism in each of them.