We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children. ~ Haida Proverb
In a world with ever-depleting natural resources and wildlife disappearing at an unprecedented rate, it is perhaps ironic that for me St. Andrew’s Bay in South Georgia is a location that is a beacon of hope. I felt revitalized there and inspired to protect what is left.
Taking this image was probably one of the fifteen most intensely joyful minutes of my life. My wife Monique and I were alone, standing amongst a multitude of over 750,000 meter-high, ornately adorned penguins, all of whom seemed to be trying to out-vocalize each other.
With the rays of the sun rim-lighting the soft, downy feathers of the chicks, the scene became an almost unbelievable spectacle. As the rays became more acute, more and more throngs of countless tawny chicks were illuminated. It was as if they were coming out of the shadows to be counted, as far as the eye could see, like battalions all stacked up, ready to march over valleys, hills and glaciers. It was just us and this army of nature, the next generation, ready to try to survive the onslaught of man-made change that was coming their way.
When you are in a place such as this, you are left in no doubt that the world we are creating, with its concrete jungles and sea of social media, is completely devoid of the deep peace you feel when you stand amongst a colony of three-quarters of a million king penguins and tens of thousands of elephant seals, and simply contemplate the scene before you.
As I look at this image I wonder if these rays of light are the first rays of hope that our increasing environmental consciousness will allow us to turn the tide or, sadly, whether they are the final rays of light as we say goodbye to places like this forever.
I certainly prefer hope rather to despair.
Exhibition: 173cm x 114.5cm (68” x 45”)
Large: 146 cm x 96.5 cm (57.5″ x 38″)
Classic: 118cm x 78cm (46.5” x 31”)