Photography is an extraordinary tool for documenting environmental disruption around the globe. These six photographers share what it’s like to capture images of the landscapes, wildlife, and people affected by a changing world.
In the last century, rising temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions have caused melting ice, rising sea levels, the endangerment of wildlife, and the first wave of people displaced by climate change. If this trend continues, scientists predict the flooding of major cities, the loss of agriculture and other food resources, and a mass extinction for planet Earth. Despite pleas from experts since the 1980s, some world governments and portions of the public have continued to deny the dangers of a changing climate. But, photographers around the world are helping to change the dialogue.
It’s one thing to read the studies and statistics. It’s quite another to see photographs of real people, real animals, and real places affected by climate change. Leading publications, collectives, and individual photojournalists have led the charge in raising awareness and encouraging action. They’ve shared with us what’s at stake, and they’ve paved the way towards a better tomorrow. We asked six Shutterstock contributors to tell us about their experiences coming face-to-face with climate change.
1. “While climate change affects nearly every corner of the planet, very few places show the immediate consequences as much as the poles.”
Image by Chase Dekker. Gear: Canon 5D Mark II camera, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens. Settings: Exposure 1/800 sec; f5.6; ISO 500.
What’s the story behind this photo?
Once we arrived at the edge of the sea ice, polar bears began to pop up all over the place. After only an hour, we had already spotted fourteen bears wandering across the ice floes in search of seals. It was incredible to see so many bears, but it was also a heavy reminder that with all the room of the Arctic to roam, all these large predators had to congregate within this small area due to the lack of ice. While climate change affects nearly every corner of the planet, very few places show the immediate consequences as much as the poles.