There are some pictures which convey a serious global issue better than a lengthy essay ever could; lingering in the mind long after we have looked away.
Amateur photographer John Evered has captured such an image; a photograph which is made all the more distressing by the peaceful, unconcerned smile on the subject’s angelic face.
The picture in question shows a soft, vulnerable seal pup, so new to the world that its umbilical cord is still attached to its belly.
The newborn pup can be seeing lying on a sandy beach, resting its sleeping head against a discarded plastic bottle. A dreamy, contented smile appears to cross its face, which cannot help but remind you of how helpless the tiny mammal is.
The photograph, taken at the beach in the east Norfolk village of Horsey, is all at once adorable and disconcerting, picturesque and disturbing.
The pup is trustingly unaware of the harmful intrusion of plastic into its natural environment, and it is only the humans who observe the photo who feel the pang of guilt. Who know full well this sand coated bottle is a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to the issue of plastic pollution.
We know, but don’t often want to consider, how our use of plastic is a blight on the lives of such gentle sea creatures; destroying their homes and their health. Forcing them to compromise their very existence on account of our thoughtlessness.
52-year-old Evered told the Mail Online:
It was such an amazing sight. There were hundreds of seals all over the beach.
Many people have been left profoundly moved by the sight of this precious baby resting in its unnatural cradle, and have taken to social media to express their sorrow.
One person said:
We call ourselves the superior species, the rational ones and yet this is the best we can do. We have no respect for the planet or any of all the other species we have the luck to share the planet with.
We need to remember that we don’t own the planet, we just been living here rent free, but because that is not enough.
We have been damaging the planet beyond repair and sooner or later we are going to pay the price for our behaviour and trust me that will cost us dearly.
How hard is it to pack your cr*p out when you leave? I always bring a garbage bag to put all the garbage in! But I’m conscientious that way!
A seal pup uses a plastic bottle to rest its head at Horsey in Norfolk (Times today) pic.twitter.com/R3qN8jPhsR
— dominic dyer (@domdyer70) December 29, 2018
Although some have admitted to finding the seal looking happy with his ‘comfy’ pillow cute, the darker context cannot be avoided.
In November 2018, staff at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary had to assist a five-week-old seal pup after it ingested pieces of a plastic bag.
As reported by the BBC, the youngster – who has been named Brian May – was rescued after suffering severe malnourishment and superficial wounds’.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.