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The Evidence Project: A Book to Protect the Planet

The Evidence Project Kickstarter campaign

There are eight billion people alive on Earth today, and we have the ability to live almost anywhere, travel everywhere, and consume everything within our sight.

But the Earth is suffering.

Our endless demand and consumption of fossil fuels, minerals, forests, wildlife, farmed animals, marine life, plants, and other life forms has left us exposed to one of Earth’s oldest biological entities – viruses.

To be published through a Kickstarter campaignThe Evidence Project brings together an unmatched collection of powerful images by leading photographers from around the globe.

The Evidence Project book Kickstarter campaign
This Is Flash – This koala, named Flash by his rescuers, was found suffering from severe burns and trauma after a bushfire in New South Wales, Australia. More extreme weather patterns and higher temperatures caused by climate change are increasing the risk of bushfires in Australia. A recent scientific study estimated that half a billion wild animals died in New South Wales alone after the catastrophic fires of 2019-20. Across Australia these fires burned an area of land twice the size of the Netherlands.
Photograph: Douglas Gimesy/The Evidence Project

The likes of Brian Skerry, Gregg Segal, Ami Vitale, Britta Jaschinski, and Steve Winter’s imagery will fill the pages of this book, which sets out to provide evidence to help implement changes for the betterment of the planet.

The evidence it plans to provide is needed to call upon governments, lawmakers, businesses, opinion leaders, and consumers to execute the urgent and necessary changes to ensure a safe and sustainable future for humans and animals.

Border Force – This polar bear skin, possibly a victim of an organised trophy hunt, was confiscated by the Illegal Wildlife Trade Unit of UK Border Force. Each day items of the wildlife trade are confiscated at many international border crossings, but there remains a need for governments to strengthen coordination to improve enforcement. At the same time, reducing demand for products and supporting sustainable livelihoods and economic development in the communities affected will make the wildlife trade less attractive to organised crime networks.
Photograph: Britta Jaschinski/The Evidence Project

Pairing fact and science together with emotive photography, the book will also strive to illustrate how all things on Earth are interconnected and interdependent.

The threat from viral spillovers

The way we produce and consume our food and other life essentials is creating the perfect circumstances for viral spillovers. With a collection of photographs by some of the world’s best storytellers, The Evidence Project will explain how and why this is happening.

Today, approximately 70 percent of all emerging infectious diseases contracted by humans are caused by pathogens of animal origin. COVID-19, HIV-1/AIDS, Ebola, SARS, and Bird Flu are some of the well-known viruses to have infected us in recent decades.

The Evidence Project viral spillover
Sea Drops – The underwater images of Angel Fitor reveal the astonishing diversity of creatures otherwise invisible to the naked eye, as well as their amazing behaviour. “I see the oceans as a super-organism, with the world’s seas as its organs and its creatures as the tissues that interconnect everything,” he says. Scientists struggle to estimate the number of fish in our seas but believe it to be in the trillions. Despite this high number, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported in 2016 that nearly 90% of fish stocks were already fully fished or overfished.
Photograph: Angel M Fitor/SeaFrames/The Evidence Project

The longer we continue to cut through wild forests and other vital ecosystems for cattle pasture, soya and oil palm plantations, new roads, mines, and towns, the more of these deadly novel viruses we can expect to encounter.

Rising seas and flooded coasts

Glaciers and ice sheets worldwide are melting due to global warming, adding water to the ocean. The volume of the ocean is expanding as the water warms, increasing the risk of rising sea levels flooding coastal cities and communities around the world.

The Evidence Project melting ice caps
Melting away in less than 100 days – Glaciers and ice sheets are melting as a result of global warming, contributing to rising sea levels. In 2021 scientists reported that glacial melt had accelerated over the past two decades, amounting to around 267bn tonnes of ice lost every year and accounting for 21% of global sea level rise over the same period. Glaciers store approximately 70% of Earth’s freshwater, so their rapid loss will affect future supplies of freshwater, as well as increase the risk of flooding to coastal cities and communities.
Photograph: Arturo de Frias/The Evidence Project

Fortunately, many inspirational people across the globe work incredibly hard to protect vulnerable people, wildlife, and our wild spaces.

Whilst The Evidence Project acknowledges that we cannot remove our dependence on nature to thrive, it sets out to remind us that we can rapidly address the harm that we are causing the planet through our consumption and lifestyles. The team behind the book believes that factual education is the best motivation for creating change.

The Evidence Project orangutang
Can we learn from great apes? – On a hot day in Borneo, an orangutan pours river water onto her hands to help her cool down. Studies reveal that orangutans are patient, peaceful, loving and capable of complex thought. Great apes are vital to the distribution of plant seeds that rainforests need to thrive – without great apes, new trees could not grow. However, much of Borneo’s forests have been torn up for producing palm oil, a common ingredient in processed foods and beauty products. If our consumption of palm oil is not controlled soon, orangutans will vanish with the last of the trees.
Photograph: Helle & Uri Golman/The Evidence Project

The book will “raise public awareness and inform key policymakers in government and business. Those decisions require protecting our wild spaces and oceans; creating a better environment in which to live, one that reduces the chances of viral spillovers,” said the book’s writer and editor Keith Wilson.

The Evidence Project aims to create a global campaign, based around a startling collection of photography, to explain the link between our destruction of wild ecosystems, the lethal consequences for wildlife and plants, and the outbreaks of deadly new diseases.

The Evidence Project Deforestation
Due to our demand – Modern industrial mining destroys landscapes and creates huge amounts of toxic waste. Miners who feed on bushmeat risk being infected with viruses. Today approximately 70% of all emerging infectious diseases contracted by humans are caused by pathogens of animal origin. Covid-19, HIV/Aids, Ebola, Sars and bird flu are some of the well-known viruses to have infected us in recent decades. The longer we continue to cut through forests and other vital ecosystems for mines, new roads and towns, the more of these deadly novel viruses we can expect to encounter.
Photograph: Charlie Hamilton James/The Evidence Project

The Kickstarter campaign launched in May and will close in July, with the 160+ page book set to launch in Autumn 2022, followed by presentations and exhibitions later in the year and into the new year.

By pledging your support to this Kickstarter, you will help raise vital funds to pay for the book’s production, printing, and distribution.

The Evidence Project Kickstarter helping save the planet
Humpback whale mother with calf – As whale numbers continue to recover following the 1986 international whale hunting ban, research into their lifecycle and behaviour has revealed their vital role in the marine ecosystem. Wherever these sensitive and intelligent giants are found, so too is phytoplankton, the miniscule creatures that release into the atmosphere about half of all the oxygen that we breathe. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, whales also play a vital part in combating climate change by capturing about 37 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
Photograph: Brian Skerry/The Evidence Project

With images from leading photographers who have been documenting environmental and conservation issues for over 20 years, the book will no doubt provoke debate and incite the need for urgent and positive change.

To get involved with the campaign, head over to its Kickstarter page.

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