Portrait of a Climate Change Activist – Anna Keenan

I find Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to be an ideal base; it is a central point for international work, it is a hot bed of photography (the World Press, FOAM etc.), it is on the right track for a sustainable lifestyle, and last but not least, the friends and community are amazing.

One of these dear persons is Anna Keenan, an Australian climate activist whose work within the International Youth Climate Movement has been invaluable to the explosion of climate movements across the globe. She is a uber passionate individual who holds the need for climate justice and stopping the impacts of climate change dear to her heart (and on her neck). Without her skills in organizing, her intelligence and her drive, the climate change movement would be a step back. I recently got the opportunity to photograph Anna here in her adopted town of Amsterdam. Enjoy

Project Survival Media launches Solutions for Survival

Planet not profit image Copenhagen COP 15A unique and important media project, Project Survival Media, has just launched their newest plan, Solutions for Survival (S4S). This new program, is about challenging the industry-sponsored myth that we just can’t meet our energy needs without investing in dirty energy. S4S will do this by creating a documentary series in the United States on current clean energy potential and current dirty energy subsidies

How can you help?

  • You can support PSM, all donations go to supporting young journalists to gain experience and focus on the most important issue today.
  • Join the Facebook group
  • Come to the Launch Party in San Fransisco on May 20th.

My experience with PSM….

I got involved with PSM back in 2009 as the European Team leader. The initial project for PSM was to set up a team of youth journalists around the world to focus on climate change reporting. Within a short time span of a few weeks, PSM had engaged over 100 youth journalists around the world, raised over $40,000 and produced an incredible array of reporting around the climate issue leading up to COP 15. PSM also financed several southern youth representatives to join the team in Copenhagen and report on the summit. It was a wide success and I am excited about working with PSM throughout the foreseeable future to continue to focus on climate change reporting.

To that end, I will be heading to Arizona in a couple of weeks to focus on indigenous energy projects with PSM director Shadia Fayne.  Stay tuned for more.

Youth Climate Report details COP 15 Participation

youngo reportFor several years the international youth climate movement (IYCM) has been growing exponentially. Focused around the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, youth from all over the world have come together, organized, shared ideas, influenced change and returned to their home countries to implement solutions.

I have been photographing this movement for a couple of years and I can safely say that these are the most inspiring group of people that I have ever worked with. They are changing global politics, organizing global days of action and through grassroots campaigns and new media are the leaders of today and tomorrow. Many of the youth that cut their teeth in the IYCM have moved on to policy development, grassroots activism for major NGO’s, or have started organisations that now influence national and global policy, (think 350.org, Energy Action Coalition, GetUP).

In 2009, the youth climate movement exploded, and the youth presence at COP 15 was unprecedented. A new report produced and written by Anna Keenan for the IYCM includes several of my images. It comprehensively details the influence and actions of the IYCM at COP 15 and how these incredible young people are changing the world.

Take a moment to read it and become inspired by the incredible young people that are leading the way towards a sustainable future. Click here to see the report

Cape Farewell – Youth and Climate Change in the Arctic

In September of 2008 I joined the British Council of Canada as their photographer on the Cape Farewell Expedition 2008. Our goal was to take an international group of 20+ students into the Arctic to teach them about Climate Change and how to use Art to communicate the message effectively.

“The expedition sailed around the southern tip of Greenland to Iqaluit on Canada’s Baffin Island. As ambassadors of their schools and communities, the student voyagers observed and interpreted the effects of climate change in the Arctic. What they saw and experienced inspired them, their fellow students and communities to seek social and technological solutions to this huge global problem.” British Council Website

The images have been exhibited in a variety of countries world wide, including the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and 9 other provincial governments, the Canadian Embassy in Trafalgar Square, the British Embassy in Washington, in Cairo, Mexico, India, the list goes on. They have also been published in CNN, Canadian Geographic and numerous publications and outlets across the globe. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.


Cape Farewell 2008 – Images of the Voyage – Images by Robert vanWaarden

Photographs of the Barcelona Climate Talks – UNFCCC Negotiations


Photographing live from the Barcelona Climate Talks……

I am here in Barcelona for two reasons:
  1. An exhibit of my images of youth action around the world for climate change is displayed on the wall here at the center.

    One of the greatest challenges of communicating climate change is putting a human face on an intangible issue. This photography exhibit re-examines the methods of communication by highlighting the inspirational work that young people are undertaking across the globe in the face of the growing climate crisis. 

  2. To cover the amazing youth that are here once again. The story continues and we will be pushing for an agreement in Copenhagen that pushes for the Survival of All Nations and Peoples.
Prior to this conference the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, has “accused countries of pushing science aside in favour of self-serving “political myopia” ahead of the vital Copenhagen summit”. I wonder if his words will help move the governments of the world away from their political posturing and into a world of negotiations that reflect the scientific demands of our need to cut Carbon? I hope so.

Photography of PowerShift UK – Reporting by Project Survival Media


Crossposted from Itsgettinghotinhere
More Photography and Gallery Here.

By: Adaeze Umolu

Young men and women at the reception and registration desk are in high spirits as UK Powershift 09 has brought hundreds together to tackle our climate future here in London. Irrespective of physical, cultural or social differences, the determination of these young men and woman begs one to wonder if United Kingdom or world leaders can ignore such a movement.

Powershift UK is not just another campaign event to gather young people. It is a conference where workshops have been organized to teach skills to the young people in attendance with the end result of taking a meaningful action. It is “not just swapping to low energy light bulbs, but how to campaign and communicate effectively within their local communities.” It aims to inspire and educate drawing from the vast experience of the speakers lined up for the conference such as Ian Katz, Deputy editor of The Guardian and Emily Cummings, a 22 year old inventor using her designs to tackle climate change issues within Southern African countries.

Organized by the UKYCC, and modeled after the Powershift conferences held in the USA and Australia. The passion and focus of this conference is a serious one. It is about climate change, our planet and our future. Yet, these young people have set out to tell a more positive story and get people involved. The future and our planet’s future looks bright here today and I am more optimistic as the events of the day continue that our voice will be heard. I intend to remain here for the full duration of the conference and more articles are on the way.

Writer Adaeze Umolu reports for the Project Survival Media team in Europe.

Announcing Project Survival Media

Imagine on all seven continents, there are young people equipped to globally broadcast pivotal stories on impacts, struggles, and solutions. Imagine that you had one minute to tell negotiators how you wanted them to represent you. What would you say?

Announcing PROJECT SURVIVAL MEDIA. The brainchild of Journalist and Activist Shadia Fayne Wood, Project Survival Media is a project of Fired UP! Media and launched on August 11th in San Fransisco, California (read the launch update)

‘We are a global network of youth journalists reporting from the frontlines of the climate crisis in the lead up to COP 15. Our seven new media teams, one for each continent, will report on the most compelling climate stories from around the world, amplify voices underrepresented by traditional media, and launch “Survival” to the forefront of the political debate.’

This is an incredible project that has the potential to help shift our world. It has great leadership, great ideas and a youth network second to none behind it. Expect to hear more from it in the future.

Rainy March in March for TVA

The water pours off my hood and dribbles onto the lens of my camera, frustrating my attempts to clear the drops of Tennessee rain. However, drops of rain, otter hair and the condensation in my rain cover are minor issues compared to the issue that I have been photographing today.

This afternoon, the March in March, an action organized by Mountain Justice took place in front of the TVA headquarters here in Knoxville. Activists gathered from all over the USA to protest against Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining, ‘Clean Coal’, and the recent TVA coal ash spill in Harriman.

On Dec. 22, 2008 a coal ash spill estimated at 5.4 million cubic yards, enough to cover 3,000 acres of property and houses with a one-foot layer of ash, swamped the town of Harriman in Tennessee.

In response, today, over 100 people braved the rain and the cold, marching around the TVA headquarters and participated in a Die In in front of the building. Those that participated in the Die In were led away and charged by Knoxville police.

The rain goes away, the clothing dries and the cameras survive to shoot another day. What won’t be the same in the future is the current coal industry.