Stunning Photos From New Artists Collective Show a Planet in Crisis
World-renowned artists and photographers have come together to draw attention to some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.
The international collective, the Union of Concerned Photographers (UCP), was launched Tuesday by the file-sharing company WeTransfer. The artwork highlights the destruction of carbon emissions, deforestation, decreased biodiversity, ocean dead zones and drought.
As the new project touts, "It's one thing to know the planet is in crisis. It's another to see what that looks like."
Contributors include environmental photographers Ami Vitale, Luca Locatelli, Frans Lanting, Mandy Barker and Joel Redman, whose important work can be seen below. Photographers and other like-minded creatives are urged to join the UCP by submitting their work.
Dutch photographer Frans Lanting, who documents the destruction of the world's forests, commented on the importance of the Union: "By far, the biggest threat to the world is climate change. Not just because of its impacts on nature but because of its impact on humanity, and this is happening as we speak. I think one of the most important responses we can have to climate change is to protect our forests. They are literally the lungs of the planet—that's why I've been photographing forests for a long time and why I want to show the world what is at stake."
Meet WeTransfer’s Union of Concerned Photographers - a collective of artists urging us to take responsibility for t… https://t.co/t1fu6eQUBq— WeTransfer (@WeTransfer)1528212424.0
According to a press release sent to EcoWatch, the inspiration for the artists collective came from the Union of Concerned Scientists, whose experts sent out an infamous warning to humanity in 1992 about dangerous climate change.
"Sometimes the sheer weight of information can be too much. Images have the ability to cut through the noise," said WeTransfer's photography director Lucy Pike in a statement. "That's why we created the Union of Concerned Photographers, to harness the power of photography to underline the urgency of the crisis we all face."
Cropland bordering rainforest habitat, Brazil.Frans Lanting
In 2005 the plastic caps of Smarties tubes were replaced with a cardboard lid built into the packaging itself. Yet, 13 years later, these plastic caps continue to wash up on beaches around the UK and beyond. Mandy Barker
This is the UAE's largest power and desalination plant that serves over two million people. Natural gas is burned to produce electricity and to desalinate seawater for drinking. Many believe that this plant will soon be powered by solar. Luca Locatelli
An aerial image of Theewaterskloof Dam taken in March 2018 when the dam was at 10.6 percent of its capacity. Theewaterskloof is the largest dam in the Western Cape, and one of the six main dams that supplies water to the city of Cape Town. Joel Redman
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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