Exhibit Botanica: Irresilient to Man

March 6, 2018

Museum-of_Extinction

In between densely packed layers of soil, arteries upon arteries of roots are intricately tucked away. As they rest under stretches of land, slowly water along with inorganic nutrients are absorbed within, whilst also storing food and other nutrients for when hunger arises. As these concealed tentacles mature, I feel them anchoring my body to the ground. Provided with minerals and strength, my torso enlarges year by year, delicately cracking open bark whilst solidifying records of my age. Microscopic crawlers commute to work along the highway of my skin. Once reaching the tips, life emerges from branches which flourish seasonally, attracting other life, flying life, that seek nourishment or shelter. As decennia pass, branches evolve and entangle and once strong enough, they are accompanied by even larger life, four-legged life that lurk down to the depths of my feet, awaiting their prey. As I grow, I become a bigger part of Earth’s natural habitat, an interdependent network filled with life of all types and sizes where I am a nonpartisan vessel of the environment, I simply enable all life surrounding me with no partiality.

Over the years I’ve noticed a paradigm shift. As leaves collect sunlight and carbon dioxide along with roots absorbing water, these elements are used to make proteins to sustain my life. During this process, the excess oxygen I produce I release back into the atmosphere. This is how I sustain your life. For some reason however, I’ve noticed there are becoming fewer and fewer of me. Together, we currently cover a third of the Earth but at the current rate of loss there will be barely any left of me. Every second one and a half acres filled with us are ripped out from our neighbourly soil, savagely sliced and on many occasion, callously burnt. The roots that once slept in serenity, incessantly working modestly underground to preserve life, are industrially eradicated. I am home to 80% of wildlife and vegetation on land whose environment is being destroyed. Many cannot survive the destruction causing complete future extinction of their kind¹. An act of utter extermination. Disrepair.

Humanity deems my existence as one of the many mere tools in their toolbox which is fully at their disposal, even though I sustain Earth and their life by providing wildlife with its habitat, providing them with oxygen and absorbing greenhouse gasses that fuel global warming. Humanity ceaselessly seems to require more from me “for it is man whose drive to mastery for the sake of his own self-maintenance has resulted in an unwitting suicide” (Coolbrook 2014). They might end up learning about me in a museum, which also has a place reserved for them.

Annika

¹ Deforestation, National Geographic, accessed on 5th March 2018;
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation/

² Sex After Life: Essays on Extinction, vol. 2. (2014) by Claire Coolbrook

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