The following images were photographed at the PowerShift 2013 conference in Pittsburgh. I was searching for a different way to look at a conference, something that was unique to the individual, but at the same time consistent. In my opinion, by highlighting the issues that matter to them, the stickers on a laptop provide a more complete picture of each individual. At least this was my reasoning behind it, let me know what you think in the comments below.
Over 300 people gathered today to rally in support of action on climate change, social justice and environmental justice at Oka, Quebec in Canada. The rally was part of a national day of action organized by a group of organizations in Canada called Defend Our Climate. The purpose of the rallies was to draw attention to the worsening climate situation and the increased fossil fuel activity in Canada.
It was a beautiful day to be out photographing and capturing these moments.
I have just finished documenting Powershift in Pittsburgh. This is the third time I have covered a Powershift, the first in 2009 in Washington and the second was in London. There is no doubt in my mind that over 6000 young adults (and some teenagers) left Pittsburgh yesterday ready to change and fight for a diversity of issues. The most important aspect of this conference was the range of speakers and panels that highlighted the intersectionality of the climate crisis and the social and environmental justice movements in the United States and the world.
I worked with Project Survival Media to document the conference for the Energy Action Coalition. We did the important job of covering the speakers and the attendees and then stayed up late working with social media experts to push the images and memes out to world.
Below is my selection of the 25 top images from the weekend. I hope they inspire you to work a little bit harder than ever before to help solve the climate crisis.
The following story is cross-posted from Project Survival Media where I am part of the team on the ground helping to document the largest gathering of youth for action on climate change in the US.
This evening TransCanada held their one and only open house in the vast city of Montreal. The open house was situated in the middle of nowhere in the east industrial area and almost everyone visiting got lost. Surprisingly, for a massive infrastructure project there were few ‘regular’ citizens to be seen. In fact there were more blue shirts in the room all night than ‘regular’ citizens.
But that statement doesn’t tell the whole story. It was clear that the majority of those blue shirts and regular citizens were actually concerned citizens. Save-Canada.com has been attending these events, dressed in almost exactly the same fatigue as the TransCanada representatives and handing out more information about how this pipeline will impact Canadians and the world. It seems that the TransCanada people don’t know what to do with them. Throughout the evening Save Canada, and SansTransCanada, their Quebec counterpart, engaged with citizens and even played a little game of ‘pin the spill on the pipeline’.
From my perspective it looks like TransCanada has a long uphill battle ahead. There are a lot of concerned citizens, few actual jobs and they are building an export pipeline. If you are looking for some more information here is one source. The visual story is below.
In 1994 over 1000 people from the Netherlands gathered to protest the expansion of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. They planted trees in the planned path of the new fifth runway forcing Schiphol to reconsider and move the runway. Although the protest was eventually unsuccessful in halting the construction, those trees grew into a forest known today as the Bulderbos (roaring forest).
This constructed landscape is a lasting symbol of people putting environment over development. The small photo series brings the Bulderbos into the homes of five key supporters and tree planters nearly 20 years later.
- The Bulderbos
- Mary Lauw – Zoetermeer
- Wijnand Duyvendak – Amsterdam
- Leo Langeveld – Ede
- Jeroen Warmerdam – Nieuw Vennep
- Ad & Gerda Roset – Hoofdorp
Today I have been experimenting with Stipple. This program allows me to add more information and links to static images. This is tremendously exciting because the storytelling potential from a single image just got hit out of the park. I have included here three images from an Occupy protest in Durban during COP 17. You can scroll over the images and listen to what the individuals were saying at the time (sorry the sound was recorded on a phone and isn’t great) or click on links to see more related material.
This is quick and dirty but think of the possibilities…..
As I travel to Greece to take part in the Photometria festival, I will be posting updates and items to this story.
Sometime in the fall of 2010 I sat down with my friend Kate Harriman at a bar in Amsterdam. Our drinking hole of choice was Pacific Parc in the Westerpark and I had invited Kate to help me develop a new idea into a real photography project.
I recognized that climate change imagery focusing on environmental impacts wasn’t encouraging action – instead, it seemed to be pushing many towards complacency. It was time to work on something positive. Something that shared stories about change, about renewable energy, and about how the world is today – not some distant future that we can’t grasp.
Over a glass of Texels Skuumkoppe we started to write down our ideas and thoughts on the only available stationary, the beer coasters. Inevitably we ran out of coasters but quickly solved the problem by ordering more beer.
Over the next months and years, Kate and I continued to spend countless hours on our project. It now had a name, Force, and we wrote proposals, called potential partners, honed our language, and called more partners.
I found the first story after a 30km bike ride to visit farmer Stephan de Clerck. He and his family have been harvesting the wind for over a decade. That bike ride quickly told me two things: first, a bike is not the easiest mode of transportation for a project on wind energy, and second, the locations weren’t going to be easily accesible.
My trips started to get further and further afield. A bit of money from a magazine allowed me to self-fund a trip to the the Czech Republic. I tacked a few days on a travel magazine gig to get stories from Ireland. A trip to Nepal for the Climate Oxide project allowed an exploration into the nascent wind energy scene in Kathmandu. A family visit to Australia allowed me to stop in Thailand to explore the construction of the largest wind park in South East Asia.
The stories were varied and by the end of 2011 included 5 countries.
I partnered with the Global Campaign for Climate Action who posted the stories in the lead up to RIO +20 and this got the attention of the European Wind Energy Association. The EWEA felt that my story-based communication was a breath of fresh air, and they adopted it as part of their 2013 communications plan. They funded the exploration of three more European countries – Romania, the UK and Poland. That three-week whirlwind trip resulted in 8 more stories and the EWEA has been steadily publishing these stories on their blog over the last few months.
Yesterday I was at the European Parliament for the the opening reception of the photography exhibit Discover the Stories Behind Wind Energy. Images are below. Six different stories from six different EU countries line the Couloir Cheval – the corridor where the conservative MEPs pass through on the way to their office. Good placement!
It has been a long road, 3 years. It involved a lot of trust, commitment and personal investment, but Force has once again reaffirmed my belief that a good idea, combined with a lot of hard work, will result in exciting partnerships and successful projects.
The EWEA photo exhibition will continue to be shown by EWEA members across Europe in the coming year.
Quality visuals and well-told stories can make a difference. It is my hope that the Force project has helped us to take a small step towards the future that we want.