PORTRAITS of young climate change activists and indigenous children in Australia are among those in a major exhibition at a seaside promenade.

Called Human Nature, it is part of Edinburgh Science Festival and can be seen at Portobello until July 26.

The images showcase the human connection to nature, its fragility and the challenges and opportunities it presents. They were taken by Scotland-based photographers as well as internationally known artists such as Ed Gold, whose photographs portray children on an outing to learn from their Aboriginal elders.

He said they were amongst the most connected people on earth to nature as, until just 60 years ago, their forebears had lived in the bush for up to 80,000 years.

“Westerners could do well to listen and learn from them about their understanding and upkeep of their lands,” said Gold. “Having this unrestricted freedom to connect with nature every day is vital for the health of the people as it is part of their knowledge of the land, their ‘Dreaming’.”

The boys in his images had been stalking ducks in the water with weeds on their heads for camouflage when he asked them for a photograph.

“Not only are they in nature but they are working as a team together, building trust, lifelong friendships and hunting skills which tie them to the whole nature cycle of bush living,” said Gold.

“Nature is proven to be beneficial for mental and physical health and human as well as animal activity around water holes and lakes encourages increased biodiversity for other plants and animals to move in and prosper.”

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He said having a direct experience of water was “vital” for the children so they could relate to their Dreamtime songs and understand the importance of water for survival in the desert and ensure their continued heritage.

“The words for Dreamtime songs are handed down through

the generations, not on paper but through word of mouth and many of the songs map the land and tell families where they can find water,” said Gold.

Edinburgh-based photographer Anna Deacon said she was delighted to be asked to contribute to the exhibition as much of her work focuses on the connection between humans and nature.

“I’m really interested in exploring how we interact with nature, how it helps us to heal and why we must try and be custodians for future generations and really think about the footprint we leave on this earth,” she said.

Emily Raemaekers, project officer at Edinburgh Science Festival and curator of the Human Nature exhibition, said humans’ connection to nature was vital for health and happiness.

“Spending time in natural spaces is scientifically proven to benefit our wellbeing,” she said.

“The theme of this year’s Edinburgh Science Festival is One World: Science Connects Us, exploring

how we are all intimately interconnected with our world – and with each other.

“We know that the climate crisis is threatening the natural ecosystems of our planet and we need to harness our collective connection to nature to urgently tackle this huge challenge as a global community.

“Human Nature celebrates the beauty and bounty of nature and some of the opportunities and innovations that are helping to meet this challenge head on.”