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Pictures that shock the world with the effects of the climate change crisis


Pictures that shock the world :

with the effects of :

the climate change crisis :

The water flowing from an icy wall of grey clouds looks

like an aesthetic painting painted with the hands of an artist

but this beautiful image actually carries a story of destruction

as glaciers on Earth melt at an unprecedented rate due to human

induced climate change.

Canadian photographer Paul Nicklin

who took the photo, recalled it in August 2014, in Svalbard

Norwegian :

and the temperature was warm, exceeding 70 degrees Fahrenheit

(i.e. 21 degrees Celsius).

As he approached the corner of an ice sheet on Norrestland Island

he witnessed dozens of waterfalls descending from the iceberg.

Nicklin says :

"It's the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen, but it was also scary."

This became the Canadian photographer's best-selling image

symbolizing :

the realities of climate change :

  • appearing several times in National Geographic
  • and used by American politician Al Gore in his climate talks
  • and adorning the cover of Pearl Jam's 2020 album "Gigaton,"

whose title refers to the unit used to calculate ice mass.

Nicklin believes that the beauty of the image is due to its impact, saying 

"the image creates a deep reaction when it has a message to interact with."

In 2014

Nicklin and his wife

Christina Metermayer, and photographer Andy Mann, co-created the nonprofit "Sea Legacy" Foundation, which uses films and photography to raise awareness of climate issues and help protect the planet.

Photography is one of the most powerful tools

for his ability to tell complex stories, such as that of climate change .

Metermayer touched this powerful effect in one of her own photographs

taken in August 2017, showing a polar bear that could die of hunger.

After its publication in National Geographic :

the photo and video accompanying it went viral on social media :

and in global news organizations

  • it sparked a global dialogue on climate change
  • prompting differing responses between anxiety

But the world has not been able to deny the power of its influence

Mittermeier says :

"People still remember it, and they have strong reactions when they see it."

Nicklin and Metermayer

  • 8 other photos along with the previous two
  • have been selected as part of the CNN Earth Attention Series

War photographers

Nicklin compares the depiction of climate change, the depiction of conflicts

and says "we're there on the front lines of

the war against our planet, it's physically and emotionally exhausting.

In recent decades :

as climate disasters become more severe

images have shown more clearly how dangerous the situation is.

A photo of :

Ed Ram shows six dead giraffes :

and meagre bodies due to lack of food and water

as a result of Kenya's persistent prolonged drought horror

threatening both the lives of animals and humans and their homelessness.

The magnitude of :

  • the destruction is seen in images of wildfires
  • such as those that destroyed Australia in 2019

  • and 2020 where homes caught fire and wildlife in despair.

10 images shocking :

the world with the effects

of the climate change crisis

"The images showed that climate change is happening everywhere

and all of a sudden, it might come very close to your door," says Metermeier.

Metermayer recalls the work of :

one of the most important influencers

Gary Brash

whom she describes as a historian of

climate change

who dedicated the photographer who died in 2016

  • the last two decades of his life to documenting Earth's changes in
  • response to global warming; Starting from Antarctica
  • with glaciers melting, down to Bhula Island in Bangladesh

where sea level rises 

and erosion factors increase, turning villages into islands.

Slow retreat

Sometimes, climate change can be slow to date

sea levels rise at a rate of millimetres each year

an increase that is barely visible despite happening at a faster rate than ever before.

But if these changes are visually documented over years

or decades, the impact becomes apparent.

"It's like depicting a slow-moving tsunami, it's hard to see right now, but when you put two images side by side, it's hard not to see the impact of the climate crisis."

She adds that

the work of photographer James Balog was influential in

  • the visual narrative of climate change
  • the world, the Extreme Ice Survey showed how glaciers fade over time.

The comprehensive archive of images of each glacier year-round

every hour provides a basic line through which future changes can be measured.

"It's indisputable evidence," says Mittermeier

"it was a very important moment for climate photography."


Both Mittermeier and Nicklin have chosen images in

which humans clash with nature. The great loss of biodiversity

is one of the effects of climate change.

According to :

the World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report 2022

wild animal populations have fallen by 69 percent since 1970, often due to land-use change that has fragmented vital habitats, as well as rising temperatures, resulting in mass deaths.

With the Arctic warming about four times faster than the rest of the world

the ice on which polar bears depend is melting.

A photograph of :

Dmitry Koch's "House of Bears", a winner of the 2022 Wildlife Photographer Award

shows polar bears roaming an abandoned Soviet colony on Kulyukin Island.

While the buildings

have long been abandoned

Metermayer believes they point to a problem with polar bears

with no ice containing them, they encroach on human spaces

and confront the local population, leading to tragic results.

Climate change :

will affect the lives of :

  • animals and humans alike, Mittermeier says
  • It is impossible to deny that the impact will be prolonged
  • by all of us, we have been affected in destructive ways

and we cannot separate ourselves from the life we share on this planet.

A photo series

by photographer Nick Brandt examined people

and animals affected by environmental destruction

showing images :

taken in animal sanctuaries around the world

of individuals displaced by climate change events such as drought

or floods :

and animals that were victims of destruction or wildlife trafficking

depicting them in the same context the extent to which fates were intertwined.

Hope :

Far from images of destruction and displacement

there are images that indicate hope

Brandt said

about his work in an email that he refers to survivors of

humans or animals, and therein lies hope.

For Metermayer and Nicklin

sending a message of hope is vital

Metermayer says

"You have to point out what we aspire to, and show where hope is."

She believes that :

hope lies in wildlife and the ocean

humans have just woken up to the role they both play in mitigating climate change

and restoring nature will be crucial in avoiding crisis.

For Metermayer :

its image of a sea lion rising to the surface in the Galapagos Islands

one of the world's largest marine protected areas

shows how ocean life can thrive with proper protection.

Nicklin's image of :

an arched whale for him is one of our greatest allies in decarbonization.

  • Whale bodies are not huge carbon stores
  • but their faeces are phytoplankton fuels that
  • absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

By showing off the beauty of the planet

the couple think they can show people that it's still worth fighting for.

Nicklin says

We are trying to climb to the top of

a mountain to shout that this planet is dying, that we are in danger.

But the only emotion that outweighs fear is hope, and the only way you

can feel hope is to take things seriously and make decisions, Mittermeier adds.