Lake Baikal is considered the “Galapagos of Russia” and it is the guardian of 20% of the world’s fresh water.
Lake Baikal, however, is also the symbol of human blindness: its ecosystem is in danger because of industrial pollution and, first and foremost, because of the economic interests of the financial oligarchy that aims at the control of mineral resources. Destroying Lake Baikal does not only mean losing one of the last natural paradises still preserved from human greed. It also means losing an opportunity, a chance to change course before it is too late. The beauty of this place, indeed, does not solely derive from the environment, but also from the balance that man himself was able to produce. On the shores of this lake there are no cities, but only rural villages inhabited by people who live according to a “frugal abundance.” The subsistence economy, the sharing of resources and the conservation of their traditional identity ensure a perfect fusion between man and nature.
These people, who never completely knew modernity, are showing to us the way to go, suggesting, through their serene harmony, a possible alternative to the western model of development that is devouring the world. An alternative based on substance, not on appearances, on the sincerity of things, not on their shape, on sharing and on the alliance with nature. Lake Baikal is the meeting and facing point of these two paths: the “passive” resistance of nature and of an adapting humanity, as opposed to the action of a finance dominated industrial society, that does not recognize the limits of its own greed. In this project there are no images of environmental ruin and desolation nor scenes of industrial violence. There are only insights on that serene harmony that the fusion between nature and people has managed to create.The mission of these images is to convey the moral impulses resulting from the strength of the reality, from the power of its vitality, and the greatness of its essence.
Location: Russia | Photographer: Marco Pighin | Website: www.marcopighin.com