A Year of Free Comics: Laura Ķeniņš on The Sixth Mass Extinction

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It has been awhile since we talked about the work of Laura Ķeniņš. My colleague John Seven praised her comic Steam Clean two years ago. She’s a very talented artist and her mastery of colours and shading in her work is quite remarkable. Her work is also challenging in its theme and approach. This is why I wanted to highlight one of her older work from 2015 called The Sixth Mass Extinction, another depressing but important topic.

The Sixth Mass Extinction, or the Holocene extinction is really the ongoing event which we are currently experiencing in which biodiversity is decreasing at an alarming rate as a result of human activity. Roughly  million species face extinction. It’s frankly quite depressing and I won’t go into too much details about it.

The angle that Anne Elizabeth Moore and Laura Ķeniņš use is an interesting way to get to the topic at hand. They look at the obsession with bacteria that exploded in the last few decades and the propagation of anti-bacterial products. They illustrate how the lack of understanding in the science behind bacteria led to a sort of hysteria about them. Bacteria is seen as something to get rid of rather than a natural part of life. Ķeniņš and Moore compare the rise in anti-bacterial products usage to what we do in industrial agriculture with pesticide, fungicides and other products and the effect it has on the environment. It’s a different approach that I found to be quite interesting. It looks at the impact of misunderstanding science, what it means for us, for our planet, our children. It’s a very short and fascinating read.

You can read the entire comic The Sixth Mass Extinction as well as other comics written by Anne Elizabeth Moore on the same site. You can also follow Laura Ķeniņš on Twitter and see some of her other work on her website.

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