Along the Pipeline Crowdfunding Success

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 10.01.04 PMThe Along the Pipeline crowdfunder wrapped up a few days ago and it was an amazing success.  Over 118 people came together to raise $7547 online with $225 offline. Amazing! I am so touched by the amazing support and community that has built around this project. I look forward to keeping everyone up to date on the project as it develops. Please feel free to follow along through TwitterInstagramFacebook or at AlongthePipeline.com

While you are at it, take a moment to read up on the project from these great media outlets, Desmogblog, TckTckTck, and Forget the Box

If you missed the crowdfunder and you would still like to donate to Along the Pipeline then you can do so below.


 

Along the Pipeline featured on DeSmogBlog

My upcoming project Along the Pipeline has just been featured on the popular Desmogblog. Check it out. 

I will be following the line of the proposed Energy East pipeline in Canada to take portraits and tell the stories of those along the route. TransCanada, the same company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, is proposing another pipeline but this time across Canada. If approved, Energy East would transport 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen a day from the oil sands of Alberta to St. John. It would cross hundreds of waterways and drinking water supplies and would be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that would equal 7 million new cars on the road.

This photography project gives me a chance to contribute to a larger conversation in Canada about climate change, oil and the future of this land. I am currently in the throes of a crowd funder for this project so please visit and support. 

 

Along the Pipeline Crowdfunder Launched

A few hours ago I launched my first crowdfunding campaign. Although crowd funding has been an innovative way for photographers and creatives to fund their projects for several years, I have been waiting for the right project. Finally, I believe I have a project that warrants reaching out and asking for the support of all of you in my community. I am looking for supporters that believe that culture and art have an important role to play in building a better world. If that sounds like you and you know already that you want to join me on this journey, then please visit the campaign at igg.me/at/climate to donate or continue reading below.

Image: Map
Courtesy of Environmental Defence

The Impact

The proposed Energy East pipeline would transport 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen a day from the oil sands of Alberta to St. John. It would cross hundreds of waterways and drinking water supplies and would be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that would equal 7 million new cars on the road.

Along the Pipeline is a journey along the route to share the untold story of what the pipeline will really mean for Canadians and First Nations. How will they be impacted, what do they value, what does the future of Canada look like to them? When finished, the resulting exhibit will allow people to recognize themselves and their communities in the faces of others and realize that they are not alone in desiring a better future.

How You Can Help

I have partnered with a few NGOs in Canada and they are providing some seed funding but not enough. That is why I am launching this campaign to try and raise $10,000. I need funding for basic items like transportation, fuel, food, and critically an assistant. I want to hire an assistant to help with the social media, documentation, the logistics and of course the driving so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel.

If you want join me on this journey than please visit igg.me/at/climate to donate to this project. After donating please take one minute to share this project on FacebookTwitter and forward this email to your friends and challenge them to match you.

I understand if you can’t donate. You can still help out by sharing this project on FacebookTwitter or forwarding this email to people you think might be interested.

What You Get

Besides my eternal gratitude and that fuzzy feeling that comes with supporting a project, I have compiled some really exciting (I think) perks for your support. Visit igg.me/at/climate to find out more about prints or mystery postcards.

Thanks once again for reading and I hope to hear from you on the route.

 (Robert van Waarden)

Near the route on the Ontario/Quebec border

Corsica | Hiking the Mare a Mare Nord

I was going through the photography archive the last few days picking out images to send to my image partner Aurora Photos. I came across these images from a wonderful hiking trip to Corsica from a couple of years ago.

We were eager to not fly and put more carbon than necessary into the atmosphere so we caught the train from Amsterdam to Nice, the overnight ferry to Bastia and then the amazing little train to Corte. From Corte we joined the Mare a Mare Nord. The trail was surprisingly difficult, it goes over many different mountain ranges and in November is incredibly empty. It rained, snowed, blew and shone and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to Corsica immediately.

Photographs below.

A portrait, CBC and copyright

 

Every photographer at some point deals with copyright infringement. It is an unpleasant reality of putting your images on the web. That said, it will never cease to surprise me as I scan through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to find one of my images staring back at me with no clue how it got there.

It happened today.  Scanning my social media I came across this image of Lionel Lepine, an amazing AFCN activist and friend, headlining an article on Neil Young’s upcoming benefit tour on the CBC News site. The CBC is a respected outlet in Canada and I was especially surprised to see that they had credited the image to one ‘Richard van Waarden’.

After allowing myself sufficient time to process the annoyance, it was a question of finding a solution. This time it was easy. I called another photographer credited in the article and got the email of the producer. I sent an email highlighting my concerns and my fee and within minutes, yes minutes, the producer was on the phone. They apologized, admitted they had screwed up, changed the credit immediately and asked for an invoice.

It is never pleasant to have to deal with copyright infringement, either from a photographer side or from a producer side. However in my experience if dealt with intelligently a solution can usually be found that is acceptable to both parties. See the updated article here. 

 

 

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Defend Our Climate – Oka

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.


Defend Our Climate – Images by Robert van Waarden

From Beer Coasters to EU Parliament

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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.20130604_rvw_amsterdam_013 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.20130604_rvw_amsterdam_015

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.

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Front Lines – Climate Justice Struggle in Durban

While world leaders discuss solutions to the climate crisis at the United Nations Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, the South Durban community is on the front line of the climate justice struggle.

Front Lines – Climate Justice Struggle in Durban from Robert van Waarden on Vimeo.

Three Mayors, three Communities, one wind

This post originally appeared on the EWEA website. It is a part of my Force series focusing on the stories behind wind energy.

 

Rosu Nuti
Mayor of Progresu and Fácáeni
Romania
Population: 7200

Rosu Nuti was born in Progresu and has been the mayor here for 10 years. Her ambitious spirit is apparent the moment she walks in a room and if you need proof of how hard she works, one glance at her overflowing desk should help.

When Rosu first heard about the plan to construct a 44 turbine wind farm in the community, she immediately saw the benefits. However, as is always the case with something new in a community, there was some confusion and pessimism among the citizens.

Rosu spent a lot of energy organising and convincing the village that this was a good idea. Eventually they came around and ground will be broken on the project this year.

For Progresu and Fácáeni the money injected into the local economy will have a clear benefit. Infrastructure here is underdeveloped: roads are poor and horse-and-cart is still the mode of transport for many. Any local jobs that are created will be welcome in a village with an unemployment rate of 45%.

“The earth won’t be able to give us fossil fuels for eternity, and when we take into account the nuclear plant nearby, we prefer to have a field of turbines,” says Rosu.

Valentin Vrabie
Mayor of Pestera
Romania
Population: 3500

Valentin Vrabie is the most popular mayor in Romania. He was awarded a prize for best mayor in Romania and was re-elected with 95% of the vote. He has achieved this distinction not on his own, but with the help of the wind blowing through Pestera.

When wind energy developers came to Pestera, interested in building a 30 turbine farm, Valentin Vrabie seized the opportunity. He immediately opened the doors and did what he could to streamline the process. He understood that the revenue from this project could turn Pe?tera around.

Valentin didn’t believe that the taxes from the wind farm should go to the county office in Constan?a. He successfully lobbied to have the laws changed and the taxes are now flowing into the Pe?tera commune coffers.

The results of this legislative change are apparent everywhere in Pestera. There is a beautiful new park, a new mosque, a new school complete with fibre optic line and new laptops, and a renovated church. Every year large light shows and celebrations attract tens of thousands of people. All this in a period of global crisis mentions Valentin.

Valentin and the community are excited that there is another wind farm coming to Pestera this year. It will make this commune one of the richest in the country. As for Valentin, when he has finished his term in Pe?tera commune he has his political sights set on the county.

Beiu Ion
Mayor of Saligny
Romania
Population: 2300

Beiu Ion was the vice-mayor of Saligny,when the turbines were built. 19 in total, they stand on unused agricultural ground on a hill above the village, surely a sight prettier then the nuclear reactors over the hill in Cernavoda.

Beiu and the villagers were very supportive of the project to build the turbines when initially proposed. The construction was smooth and although there were a few small disputes, when the money started to come in, those concerns were quickly overcome.

That money, approximately €300,000 a year, goes a long way in this little community. When Beiu was elected mayor last year he inherited a community that is transforming. First on Beiu’s list is to ensure all the houses have running water and to pave the roads in Saligny. With a life span of 25 years on the wind farm, the community is looking forward to a future with the wind.

Wiping the Slate Green

This post originally appeared on the EWEA website. It is a part of my Force series focusing on the stories behind wind energy.

Delabole is famous for its hole in the ground. Well, to be more accurate, it is famous for its slate mine. The hole is visible from the backyard of Peter and Jacqueline Harman’s slate house. For 23 years that hole has had a backdrop, contrasting new and old, of the first commercial wind farm in the UK.

The wind turbines turn lazily in the Atlantic breeze. They don’t bother Peter. “I think that if people could see that they can benefit from it, it might change their opinion,” says Peter.

Peter and Jacqueline are retired pensioners that have just moved to Delabole, a little village in the south west of the United Kingdom. Their home is still in a state of renovation; boxes piled high, furniture covered with sheets and projects visibly underway. Everything in this house runs on electricity, including the heating; and when your walls are 21 inches of slate it can take a while to warm up. Although “once warm, it stays warm” insists Peter.

The Harmans’ electricity bill is significant so Peter spent some time researching the best rates. He noticed an article in the local paper, The Slate, with details about the new Delabole Local Tariff from Good Energy.

The concept is simple. Good Energy owns the aforementioned wind farm and their customers living within two kilometres of the site are eligible for a local tariff. The idea is that those that have it in their backyard should benefit from it. This is something that the developers of Delabole wanted to do at the very beginning but only recently has a change in regulations allowed it to happen.

The tariff gives a 20% discount on standard energy prices and includes an additional ‘windfall’ bonus. If the turbines exceed their expected yearly performance each household gets £50. It is the first scheme of its kind in the UK and puts the community at the centre of renewable energy generation.

After speaking to Good Energy, Peter didn’t even look at other rates. He immediately signed up and as of April they have been receiving their discounted wind energy. He believes that he will save around £70 per year, no small amount for a retired couple.

Peter emphasizes that it wasn’t only the financial reward that affected their decision. He says that Jacqueline is a strong believer in the need for action on global warming, and even if he hasn’t quite made up his mind on the science, he really likes renewable energy and what it represents.

Peter has spread the word and now several of his neighbours have also shown an interest in signing up. He thinks that this idea should be replicated across the UK.

“Wind farms are a good idea, as long as they don’t put hundreds of them everywhere and spoil everything, but if they have a wind farm in a local area, why shouldn’t local people benefit from having it there?”