We’re living in a climate crisis, with increasingly frequent and severe heatwaves, storms and floods evident even here in the UK. But compared with other areas in the world, we have been geographically and financially protected from the worst impacts, despite being one of the biggest emitters of planet warming CO2.
Together, Climate Visuals and TED Countdown have released 100 photographs that show the true impact of climate change faced by communities all around the world, as well as diverse solutions to the problems. We’re pleased to be able to share some of the most powerful photographs here.
A brick worker in Kolkata, India, charges his phone using a portable solar panel. As well as being a great alternative to fossil fuel energy sources, the solar panel provides a low cost energy solution to the lowest income groups.
Jazza has been working as a seaweed farmer for almost 10 years. Zanzibar in Tanzania is one of the world’s largest exporters of seaweed, which is used in toothpaste, cosmetics, medicine and food. Seaweed can play a huge role in fighting climate change by absorbing greenhouse gas emissions, but in recent years the rising temperatures of the Indian Ocean have been killing seaweed. It’s been suggested the seaweed farms need to move to cooler deeper water – which would make seaweed farming much more dangerous.
A young child in the Uttar Pradesh region of India reads a school book by solar lamp. Since the solar lamps were introduced, children in rural areas have been studying for on average 25 minutes longer at night.
With most of the country less than 15 feet above sea level, Bangladesh is incredibly vulnerable to flooding, and around a third of the country floods every single year. This photograph, captured in Pabna Bangladesh, shows the students of class III smiling in front of the Horondapur Boat School. Boat schools along with other floating services in disaster-prone areas improve the quality of living.
Increasing temperatures in the Arctic have led to the permafrost, that once only thawed a few inches each year, abruptly thawing several feet within days. This rapid change could release billions of tonnes of carbon, once locked underground, into the atmosphere.
In this photograph taken in Svalbard, Norway, you can see the rapid thawing has distorted a water pipeline, disrupting the supply.
Residents of the Niger delta have watched for decades as crude oil gets pumped out of their ancestral lands to make billions for foreign oil companies. It is small wonder that thousands of people in Nigeria engage in ‘oil bunkering’ which sees them hacking into pipelines to take some of it back.
An olive tree in Megara, Greece, burns from the inside, in a way that is extremely hard for firefighters to control and extinguish. Wildfires are amongst the most feared climate crises, as they release carbon stored for sometimes hundreds of years within trees and vegetation. The world’s forests, which were once carbon sinks, are becoming carbon sources.
As drought and heat continue with rising greenhouse gas emissions, we expect more wildfires in the years ahead.
Photo credit: Matjaz Krivic / Climate Visuals Countdown
At Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada, 17,500 mirrors reflect sunlight onto a tower filled with molten salt. The heated salt flows into a water tank to produce steam and electricity. Although not yet fully operational, it is expected to produce 110 megawatts of electricity and have 1.1 gigawatt-hours of energy storage.
In the Ladakh region of India, meltwater from glaciers is brought down by gravity pipes, and turned into human made glaciers known as ‘ice stupas’. Designed in a conical shape to have less surface area, they melt more slowly than glaciers.
Throughout the summer, they act as reservoirs, providing water urgently needed for farming in the region.
Nearly half of Rwandans live in poverty, without gas or electricity. All of Rwanda’s prisons use their sewage, along with cow manure, to make biogas to fuel their kitchens. Prisoner of 22 years, Gregoire, is here photographed with the biogas digester system he helped to design within cement containers.
It is estimated that in the next 20 to 30 years, the world will need 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water to sustain a projected global population of 9 billion.
Enter Nemo’s Garden in Liguria, Italy; the world’s first underwater greenhouses. Since its creation more than 40 different kinds of plant have been tested for underwater farming, including aromatic and fruit plants such as basil, tomatoes and strawberries.
A transition to green energy creates ongoing jobs, for construction but also for operations and maintenance in the decades that follow. Here, two O&M wind technicians secure themselves with security harnesses to the top of a wind turbine during annual inspection of the Roosevelt wind farm in eastern New Mexico.
Want to see more? View the full collection of images here.