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Major photo exhibition showcasing the effects of human activity on Earth opens outside Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh Science Festival in association with The Scottish Parliament and support from Oceana presents ‘A Human Touch’

Press Release Date: March 20, 2019

Location: Edinburgh


Emily Fairless | email: efairless@oceana.org

L-R: A passerby enjoying A Human Touch exhibition; Marta Madina, Communications Director at Oceana, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, Presiding Officer, Amanda Tyndall, Festival and Creative Director at Edinburgh Science Festival; credit Duncan McGlynn

A large-scale, outdoor photography exhibition showcasing the impact humans have on planet Earth is unveiled today at The Scottish Parliament. Curated by Edinburgh Science Festival, this stunning free exhibition is available to view until 8 May.

A Human Touch invites its viewers to consider our impact on and responsibility for the environment and asks how we might ensure a lighter, gentler, ‘human touch’.

From the depths of the ocean to the outer layers of our atmosphere, people have certainly made a mark – not always for the best– on the earth, air and water of our planet. Overconsumption, overexploitation, pollution, deforestation and climate change all pose threats to our future.

The contrast between the beauty of the images on display and the story behind them is a powerful one: from potash mines in Utah to travelling nomad farmers in China, A Human Touch emphasizes the need to take action to moderate, cease, or reverse our more harmful activity and deal positively with a rapidly changing world.

People are rising to the challenge in many ingenious ways. This exhibition highlights some of the efforts being made around the globe to minimise harm and protect our planet for future generations.

Amanda Tyndall, Festival and Creative Director said: “It’s important for Edinburgh Science to bring thought provoking science-themed content to wide and diverse audiences and partnering with Scottish Parliament and Oceana provides a wonderful opportunity to do just that. The photographers featured in this exhibition have travelled far and wide to examine the fragility of Earth’s varied landscapes and to capture beautiful and powerful images that we hope will make audiences take a moment to consider our impacts on our world but take away a sense of hope that things are not beyond repair.

Speaking as the exhibition launched, the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, said:

The Scottish Parliament has always been proud of its connection to the land and its leadership on environmental sustainability.  Our architects were inspired by Scotland’s landscapes, and constructed our home to sit naturally in the magnificent surroundings of Holyrood Park, so we are delighted to be hosting the Human Touch exhibition.

These are powerful images, evoking feelings of dismay, hope, awe and determination to change. I would encourage as many people as possible to come along to see this display of world-class photography before 8th May.

 Mr Macintosh added: “This exhibition provides us all with a timely reminder of the impact humans can have on the environment, positive and negative, and the responsibility we all share to make sure our actions are not harmful.

On behalf of Oceana – an international ocean conservation organisation and A Human Touch sponsor – Pascale Moehrle, Executive Director for Oceana in Europe, said: “The A Human Touch exhibition has truly powerful pictures of our human footprint on land and sea. In every single one of Oceana’s at-sea marine research expeditions, we have captured human impact – including plastics and fishing litter – at unbelievable depths in the oceans. Producing less plastic is the best way to stop it from harming our fragile marine life.

I hope that people go to the exhibition and see for themselves the impact we have on land and water and the difference we can still make to protect our planet.

A Human Touch is one of the main highlights of this year’s Edinburgh Science Festival, taking over the city this Easter holidays between 6 and 21 April. Taking inspiration from the 50th anniversary of Moon landing, it chose Frontiers as its theme, exploring the uncharted territories of life and universe around us through hands-on activities, talks and shows for curious minds of all ages to enjoy.

As part of the Festival, visitors can also discover the marvels of modern science through hands-on activities at the Interactive Family Days hosted by the Scottish Parliament on 6 and 13 April. Visitors will be able to take a journey through space in an inflatable planetarium and discover the secrets of deep-sea coral before bouncing into the atmosphere on our energetic space-hoppers.

Oceana, the largest international advocacy organisation focused solely on ocean conservation, presents Exploring the Deep on 6 April. An expert panel hosted by Trinidadian marine biologist specialising in deep-sea biology Dr Diva Amon will recall their deep-sea adventures and discuss what the future holds for the deep.

For full programme of Edinburgh Science Festival events visit: www.sciencefestival.co.uk/whats-on

Exhibition images here.