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
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Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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