This week the winners of the Wiki Loves Earth International Photography Competition were announced. Among them, was a powerful photograph taken at Phoenix Park in Dublin Ireland by MetAddyOliver.

The photo won a special prize in the “Human Rights and Environment” category that accepted images capturing the impact of human activity on the environment.

A portrait of a deer with its eyes covered by a green sythetic net in the wild.

This year the Wiki Loves Earth International photo contest supported the #Wiki4HumanRights initiative, in partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The #WikiForHumanRights campaign strives to ensure universal access to unbiased, factual, and up-to-date information concerning our fundamental Right to a Healthy Environment. This right, recognized by the UN as the human entitlement to a clean, sustainable, and healthy environment, is also a way of connecting human rights and the triple planetary crisis we face: climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.

The goal of the collaboration is to raise awareness of nature protection and human impacts on nature.

Although the special category has been included in the contest since 2021, this year marked the first time it accepted images from the whole world, not only from the countries taking part in the main Wiki Loves Earth contest. As a result, over 8,500+ images were received in the nomination, the highest-ever number.

This year, there were six people on the Jury team: biologists, ecologists, human rights and environment experts, and Wikimedians, who helped to choose the best images.

Joao Pompeu (Brasil, biologist and ecological researcher, documentary photographer) was a key member of the jury team of six, which included biologists, ecologists, human rights and environment experts, and Wikimedians.

He commented on the photo taken in Ireland:

 “The photo portrays how environmental pollution threatens biodiversity worldwide. Synthetic fibers from oil and coal are found from European parks to tropical landscapes and polar waters, posing real challenges for biological conservation”.

Photo by Mithunkunwar9, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by MetAddyOliver, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The image of a deer tangled in synthetic fibres, is a harrowing reminder of the need for humans to take responsibility for their actions. The image represents how much damage humans can cause to forest dwellers.

Other winning images included a photo showing Butwal in Nepal covered by fog and electrical lights. It demonstrates how electricity underpins human activity but also disrupts nature. 

Photo by Mithunkunwar9, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Another winning photo shows a windmill in Azovo-Syvash National Nature Park, Kherson Oblast, Ukraine. This breathtaking composition of surreal colors in an image that shows the merging of of natural and artificial landmarks.

Photo by Ryzhkov Oleksandr, CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo by Ryzhkov Oleksandr, CC BY-SA 4.0

 Another common environmental problem created by humans is shown in this winning photo- the consequences of burning dry grass in the “Seretsky” hydrological reserve located in Ukraine.

Joao Pompeu commented:

“Hotter and drier weathers, probably caused by climate change, are shifting the patterns of wildfires worldwide. In consequence, wetlands and hydrological reserves are affected, forcing the population to evacuate or cope with uncontrolled fire. The photo represents a global issue with consequences for human well-being. The contrast of the shape of the fire line with the river and the dry grass makes the photo dramatic and impressive. It seems that the river is also burned”.

Photo by Matviyiv.lubomir, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Matviyiv.lubomir, CC BY-SA 4.0.

You can take a look at all of the winning images here.

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