In 2015, the hottest year on record, heat waves killed hundreds of people, a glacier in Greenland lost a chunk of ice the size of Manhattan, and the wettest rainforest in the United States caught fire. 2016 is going be even hotter.
An Instagram account, Everyday Climate Change, documents what’s happening around the world visually, with photos of the causes and effects of global warming from every continent, including droughts, fires, and floods.
“I had been documenting the large-scale environmental consequences in East Asia as a result of the rapid development here,” says James Whitlow Delano, the Japan-based photographer who started the project in 2015. “The air in China had become thick enough to cut with a knife. The deserts there are expanding. Oil palm is leading to massive deforestation in equatorial Southeast Asia. Larger and larger storms are hitting coastal areas in the region, too. I felt that magnitude of the problem leading to climate change was not being addressed.”
Delano met one of the founders of Everyday Africa, another Instagram feed that shows a side of Africa that isn’t usually in the media. He was inspired to do something similar on climate, working with photographers around the world.
“I wanted to try to avoid making the feed a collection of Western or Northern photographers documenting climate change,” he says. “So, I have sought member photographers that are as varied as the regions they document.”
He’s also bringing the photos to real-life exhibits–so far, Milan, New York, Chicago, and Delhi and other Indian cities in August. “I feel that face-to-face
communication still leaves a more lasting, deeper impression,” he says. “I love to
see the light go on in students’ eyes when the message resonates.”