And with all this, it seems, the very real possibility of vanishing humans, potentially following the same route that 60% or so of wild animals on Earth have taken in the years since 1970: into extinction, due to human actions.
As David Attenborough said in his speech before the showing of the first instalment of his ‘Our Planet’ series at the Natural History Museum:
‘Consider these facts: 96% of the mass of mammals on our planet today are us and the livestock that we've domesticated. Only 4% is everything else, from elephants to badgers, tigers to bats.
70% of all birds are now domesticated poultry, mostly chickens. Nature once determined how we survive. Now, we determine how nature survives.’
Of course, the natural world isn’t ‘vanishing’, ‘disappearing’, or ‘being lost’, it’s being destroyed, by all of us, as we barrel on into a future we can’t even look at, because it’s too unbelievable to really consider that we might put an end to ourselves due to this destruction of our life support system.
National Geographic put it like this:
‘The Living Planet Index has taken a sudden nosedive—it’s down 60 percent since 1970, the blink of an eye in evolutionary time. And we’re all invested.’
'Vanishing Point' has been in the makings for a while, but it also feels intimately connected to a few days and nights recently spent in an ancient wood on the wild moorlands of Dartmoor (which many hundreds of years ago was covered in forest), where I slept out by a fire and spent a few days and nights just sitting, walking and looking, enjoying close encounters with wild deer, swimming and drinking from the river in the days, and spending hours with the fire looking at the stars at night.
As well as our natural world ‘vanishing’, the title of this picture also alludes to those occasional times, when, being quiet in nature, for me especially when being in woodlands, there can be a vanishing of the constricted sense of self whilst out amongst what remains of our natural world, an apparent vanishing of ‘me’, and in its place an opening to a wider sense of the timeless and infinite miracle of nature.