Earth's Last Protectors

In 2017, there were at least 207 people who laid down their lives protecting their communities from being destroyed by agribusinesses that rape the land of everything it has to offer (Das, 2020). These diverse individuals care deeply about the environment in which they live, how modern technology is destroying the natural Earth, and how the quality of life for many species is declining at an alarming rate. According to TechCrunch on how quickly the Earth is being eroded, "Land degradation has reduced the productivity of global land surface area by 23%," (Goulding, 2019). That is almost a fourth of the entire world that has been rendered virtually useless by businesses reaping the nutrients out of soil and destroying the surrounding habitats. Through a series of ten photographs titled Seeds of Resistance, Pablo Albarenga shows contrasting halves to the same image that exhibit a defender lying down on one side, and on the other side is an image from high above showing the area that these protector's defend. The Earth and its protectors are being killed at an alarming rate by money-hungry businesses who care not for the lives they are destroying and the traditions they are violating. Seeds of Resistance brings awareness to the lethal dangers that agribusinesses and mining pose on communities and people, and why intruding on indigenous land should be universally outlawed.

Though all the photos that Albarenga published were vibrant and powerful, I decided to focus on a photo of a warrior wearing his armor lying next to the Amazon rainforest. This photo won Sony's 2020 World Photography Award and has been universally recognized as an image that becomes deeper with every glance. The man is not wearing armor in the traditional sense, but he adorns two straps of cultural significance crossing in the shape of an X over his chest with beads attached to the straps and a traditional, colorful hat on his head. This armor he wears is a statement that though he is in this fight for his life, he is without true weapons and therefore is a defender. He does not mean to attack his oppressors, but merely defend his home for himself and for his community. His ill-fitting pants are too short on his legs yet too wide in the waist. Though he is not rich enough to afford clothes that fit him well, he is able enough to raise his voice against the crimes being committed to his home. This goes to show that money is not necessary to stop these crimes. Even a single man can stand up against this evil and continue to fight with his will as his cause, not a salary. I chose this photo from the series because one can see through the expression on his face that he is willing to do whatever it takes, even if that means dying, to protect his home. His determination to keep his community healthy and to fight for this cause that he wholeheartedly believes in is inspiring to myself and to all global citizens.

Under the warrior are two contrasting halves that provide a stark contrast to one another and clearly show the effect that agribusinesses and mining are having on the Amazon rainforest. On the left half where the warrior is centered is flat, plain dirt with what looks like the tracks of wheels embedded in the soil. This is a clear indicator of construction of some kind happening with heavy machinery that has left the land barren. On the right half of the photo, there is green foliage that is full of life and diverse indigenous plants. An almost exact line going vertically down the middle provides great symmetry of the rainforest versus the damage that has been done to it. Agrobusinesses are destroying the Amazon, which is not only a beautiful part of this Earth, but it is also home to thousands of different species of animals. These animals are incapable of defending their land against the machine that is humanity, but they have this man willing to give up his life in order to preserve their home. As the tree line keeps getting pushed farther and farther back by entities, the animals have less and less home which is leading to the endangerment of species. To escape the terrifying humans destroying the land, many animals have resorted to fleeing to cities in order to find somewhere they can live. The Earth needs more people who are willing to hold care for the Amazon in their hearts, but sadly the rainforest is not a priority for many people outside of those who live there and those whose salary depends on how much they care.

The position of the man is a symbol of how many people lay down their lives to protect what is left of the Earth's natural habitats. He is literally lying down on two large, green branches full of leaves amid the emptiness of the brown soil under him. He lies with the confidence that he can make a change, even if he dies while doing it. There will be no restoration of the rainforest if nobody tries to stop the destruction, so I consider this man a hero for putting his life on the line for his home. These businesses do not care about how many species they are endangering because of their actions, or the lives of the local indigenous people that are having to watch their homes be ripped apart by machinery. These businesses are interested in harvesting an overabundance of raw materials to gain as much revenue as possible despite the harm that their actions are doling out on the habitats they prey upon. Large cats are not the only predators currently stalking the Amazon rainforest, and neither are they the most dangerous. Livelihoods are being irreversibly changed and yet individuals like this man are giving their souls to protect their land and trying to keep this travesty from happening to anybody else's home. One man alone cannot stop the destruction of every natural habitat, but many people working together can make a change.

Businesses that prey on those who cannot fight back need to be stopped, and Pablo Albarenga is a protector himself by raising awareness about the evils that are plaguing Mother Nature. I have no doubt that Seeds of Resistance will spark an outcry among likeminded people who do not believe in destroying the livelihoods of indigenous people, animals, and fauna. Americans have already killed 100 million Native Americans under the guise of imperialism, and how many more people must die and fight for their communities and respect? Just like the Native Americans, native Amazonians are fighting to keep their land when big businesses try to sell and profit from what is not rightfully theirs. Pablo Albarenga (2020) won Sony's 2020 World Photography Award with the power of his photos and mentioned to News18, "I see two victories: first, the opportunity to tell the stories of the traditional communities of the Amazon… [and] secondly, that the photographer of the year award has landed in Latin America, a continent historically told through the eyes of foreigners." The award itself will bring attention from all over the world to his cause, but as will the fact that a man from Uruguay is displaying issues in Latin America. Through Seeds of Resistance, Pablo Albarenga showcases the demolition of natural habitats caused by agribusinesses and mining companies, and how while their numbers are few, there are people trying to protect these areas with all of their might. They need help, and hopefully this series of photos will harbor justice for the people and animals who have died in the wake of this terror.

This is four pages on a word document. I got an A on this essay. If you want to see the works cited page just PM me for it. The photo I decided to analyze was the award winning one by Pablo Albarenga. It would not be very hard to find online, but if you're having a hard time PM me and I'll help. luv u and hope you get a good grade