Natura Belaunaldia (The Generation Nature)

Since the start of the modern times, three main ideologies have continuously been opposed: capitalism, fascism and communism. They have been confronting themselves through wars and conflicts, but also through narratives of propaganda, placements of symbols, movies and photography. The leaders of these ideologies have been using to their interest the narrative power of some images to direct the masses. In the 70s, the ecologist narrative emerged to challenge consumerism and the belief of an eternal economic growth. The beat generation, which was a strong movement offering another way of a collective life, was the base of the ecology movement. In 1970 for the first Day of the Earth, 20 million people gathered in the USA only. Politicians and leaders were then already aware of the causes and effects of global warming. Scientific studies warned us what our trajectory was going to be (EXON calculated in 1982 that we would have 415 particles CO2/million and +1 degree in 2019, which was exactly the case). No government, however, reacted with strict measures. From 1980 on, the situation has profoundly deteriorated and the efforts of the ecology movement have been frustrated. Until recently, the narrative of the ecologists was based on pessimism and fear towards an apocalyptic future. We keep imagining our own extinction in the most terrible ways. Rarely do we find stories that tell a positive outcome of our own existence from the climate crisis. Today, a powerful ecologic movement emerged with, among others, Greta Thumberg, Friday’s for Future, Extinction rebellion. These movements are driven by a generation that opposes the belief of an apocalypse. A generation that have realized that the promises of consumerism are destroying their future. They understand that we are one species among others, and we must find our way back to nature, and therefore to life.

Natura Belaunaldia is a story that centers on portraits of this generation of young activists in the Spanish Basque Country. These portraits are taken in their rooms, the place where they spent most of their time during the quarantine caused by the first pandemic of the XXIst century. In this story, the protagonists are accompanied by an image that represents their own thoughts towards transformation: to stop deforestation, to have clean waters without plastics and to reduce the CO2 emissions. The future is unknown, but what is certain is that this generation is fighting to bring back the narrative of beauty to connect with nature. During this particular time in History, it is essential that we support them in order to achieve real change.

Made in the Spanish Basque Country, 2020.

Project supported by the National Geographic Society and my collective of photographers Ayün Fotógrafas.