The Lost City Of Atlantis/ Photos: Jay Costa Owen

The Long-Lost City of Atlantis: Life on our planet

Earth, Terra,
The Blue Planet

Around 71% of the world’s surface is covered by water and the earth’s oceans hold around 96.5% of that water. Sometimes beautiful and serene, other times depicted as dangerous and wild, we are not even close to uncovering all of the ocean’s secrets as more than 80% of the ocean is still unmapped and unexplored.

From tales of mermaids and sirens tempting lonely sailors at sea, to creatures like Moby Dick and the ominous Kraken, all the way to the disappearing ships and planes inside the Bermuda Triangle and the long-lost underwater city of Atlantis, the ocean is shrouded in mystery.

I was watching Netflix’s new documentary “David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet” where he highlights just how much of the natural world we have destroyed and what will happen if we continue down the inane path of self-destruction. However, the tale of human greed, moral corruption and extinction is a tale as old as time itself as illustrated in Plato’s legend of Atlantis. The story was first documented by the ancient Greek philosopher around 360 BC after allegedly being passed down by Egyptian priests and poets over the course of 9000 years.

Long ago, the ancient gods divided the world between them and the island of Atlantis was justly bestowed upon Poseidon. The god of the sea then fell in love with a mortal woman named Cleito who lived upon a mountain in the centre of the island. Thereupon, he carved them a palace out of the mountain and broke the ground, dividing the island into various lands separated by rivers and moats.

Cleito then bore 10 children, five pairs of male twins. Their oldest son was named Atlas and was crowned king of the entire island. He was bestowed the palace and the centre of the island and, in his honour, the surrounding land and ocean received the name of Atlantic. His other brothers were gifted other portions of the island, now divided by the rivers, and were named princes of Atlantis and ruled over the men and territories they were given.

Atlantis was a utopian civilization and a grand empire abundant in precious metals, timber and exotic wild animals. The soil was rich and provided an abundance of food and fruit, and the whole lush island was guarded by a series of gates and towers stationed at every passageway leading to the main citadel at its centre.

However, the tale of Atlantis is not a tale of a noble or perfect society, but one of an advanced nation that becomes corrupt by its own power and wealth.

According to Plato, the Atlanteans started to attack the adjacent lands and continents, conquering and enslaving its people, but were ultimately defeated by the noble Athenians. Poseidon, angered by the island’s greed and corruption, sent a series of violent earthquakes and floods that caused the island of Atlantis to sink to the depths of the ocean.

Likewise, we humans are impacting the environment, evident by global warming and climate changes that are increasing the risk of natural disasters like floods and wildfires.

The advent of the industrial revolution affected the environment, and the natural world began to suffer. Increases in the world population mean more land is taken over for urbanization or for farming. Humans are destroying the environment through the depletion of resources, the pollution of our oceans and rivers, the destruction of habitats and ecosystems and through the extinction of wildlife.

The advances in technology that appeared to make people’s lives easier and promoted a bright and promising future may be the very thing that is destroying our future.

Back then, no one believed that humans as a single species would have the power to threaten the very existence of the wilderness. However, the wilderness used to cover most of the earth’s surface and now only covers around 23%.

In the words of David Attenborough: “This is not about saving our planet, it is about saving ourselves. The truth is, with or without us, the natural world will rebuild.”

Proof of this is the city of Chernobyl. Just 34 years after the nuclear reactor disaster that led to the city being evacuated, nature has retaken the city and it is now abundant in wildlife and animals that are very rare elsewhere. Grasslands and forests have marched into the city and retaken the concrete jungle and it is even estimated that more animals live there now than before the disaster. If humans disappeared, the natural world would no doubt thrive.

The longer we wait the harder it will be to undo all the destruction we have caused. Luckily, all around the world people are working towards more sustainability and working as one with Nature instead of against it. If we take care of Nature, Nature will take care of us.

There are lots of theories about the location of the Island of Atlantis that sank beneath the waves. From the Mediterranean, to the Americas or even Antarctica.

If you put on a blindfold and randomly point at a map, chances are that someone has theorised that location as the final resting place of Atlantis. Even both Faro and Silves have been nominated as the long-lost location of Atlantis by Roger Coghill and Peter Daughtrey, respectively, after studying Plato’s descriptive location of the island.

By Jay Costa
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Jay recently graduated from the Faculty of Fine Artes in Lisbon. Jay’s interests are exploring new cultures through photography and the myths, legends and history that define them. 

Life on our planet | Photos: Jay Costa Owen
Taking care of nature / Photos: Jay Costa Owen
The Lost City Of Atlantis/ Photos: Jay Costa Owen