Critical Mass Top 50, 2008

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Lucas Oleniuk

Greenwall 01-Afforestation Plot

Greenwall 02-Datong

Greenwall 03-National Museum

Greenwall 04-Afforestation Crew

Greenwall 05-Dung Collector

Greenwall 06-Brick Factory

Greenwall 07-Beijing

Greenwall 08-Afforestation Plot

Greenwall 09-National Stadium

Greenwall 10-Tai Chi
Lucas Oleniuk

An estimated 400 million people in China are at risk of losing their livelihoods to the spreading sands of their northern deserts. In response to this massive ecological disaster China is planting a 4,480-kilometre shelterbelt of trees in an attempt to curb desertification and improve their environmental record. The effort, known as the Great Greenwall, is the largest ecological project in human history. China holds a shrinking seven per cent of the world’s arable land and feeds 20 percent of the world’s population at a time when breakneck development perpetuates widespread deforestation, over-grazing, plummeting water tables and unparalleled urban and industrial expansion. The result is a desertified countryside and a band-aid solution in the form of the Great Greenwall. The rural poor have been left to subsist on the dust left in the wake of the countries progression. Brick factories have replaced pastures, afforestation plots have replaced farmland and camel dung collection has become a necessity for fuel due to massive deforestation in the northwest. The resulting sandstorms are closing in on Beijing and plaguing the rest of Asia. This collection of photographs serves as a documentation of the Greenwall project and as evidence of the effects of human over-consumption. These are photographs of a landscape created by human folly. The Greenwall of China series was created over the past two years throughout the northeast provinces. The collection was shot on 4x5 color negative film.