And then we became the ones in aquariums…

“And then we became the ones in aquariums…”
by Lisa Hirmer, Guelph, Canada
2016 Shivaji Competition Finalist

“When animals are removed by humans from habitats that sustain them, we usually place them in artificial habitats designed to meet their needs (or at least those deemed most vital). And then we became the ones in aquariums…is a light-hearted reversal of this scenario, where the species occupying the carefully maintained habitat is now human. As the planetary habitats to which we (and other species) have evolved are drastically changed by human action, we become like fish out of water, needing interventions to continue to live in places we once inhabited easily. At the same time the premise is purposely absurd, building aquarium-like walls around islands isn’t really feasible. The more the climate changes, the more difficult it will be to buffer ourselves from sea level rise and other consequences. Shifting from a stance of watching fish in an aquarium to being in the aquarium oneself, is also a call to reconsider how we see humanity’s place within the planet’s ecological systems.”   Lisa Hermer

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