The global human population is now over 8 billion. Scientists estimate that if everyone on Earth could achieve a European standard of living, the planet could only sustain around 2 billion. The 6 billion difference is called overshoot. When populations overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment, they degrade its ability to sustain life, eventually depleting life-sustaining resources or creating so much toxic waste that the population crashes.

The ramifications of human overshoot affect not only humans, but all life: climate change, habitat loss, ocean acidification, and species extinctions are all happening at an alarming pace.

The direct human consequences are also horrific, with climate refugees, wars, famine, water shortages, extreme poverty, and a degradation of everyone’s quality of life all exacerbated by overpopulation.

Utilizing AI enlarging and sharpening software, these images are created by highly magnifying portions of photographs made for the series Light Waves—Abstract Photographs of Reflections from Lake Superior. They depict human encroachment into formerly natural lands and waters represented by the green and blue areas. Agriculture, housing, extraction industries, businesses, and our waste products all have an ever-expanding footprint, fragmenting and degrading ecosystems.

Each of these images is titled with the estimated human population at the time the images were created. Those shown below are one master image titled: 8,091,826,881 and 9 panels used to display it in a large size. To learn more about each individual’s impacts on the planet, go to: https://www.footprintnetwork.org/

Encroachment, along with Dream Waves will be shown at a solo exhibition at Joseph Nease Gallery, 25 W. 1st Street, Duluth, MN, August 9-September 27, 2024. Sizes and prices have not yet been determined. If you are interested in a print from this series, please call the gallery at 218-485-0478.