Photographs that cast a light on the devastating effects of rising sea levels, deforestation and pollution took out the winning prizes at the 2019 CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year awards.
Winners from the 2019 competition were announced at the UN climate summit in New York in September. The annual awards aim to encourage climate change action from political leaders and the general public, through exposing the serve impact of the environmental crisis across the globe. It supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal’s urgent calls to action and acknowledges the connection between development, poverty and climate issues.
“Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the time to act. We need to see action from all sectors of society. This competition showcases the reality of how people are being impacted by the climate all around the world and aims to spread an important message worldwide to inspire big change,” CIWEM chief executive, Terry Fuller, said.
Here’s FIB’s rundown of the winning shots.
The Environmental Photographer of the Year:
Winner: High Tide Enters Home, by SL Shanth Kumar.
Flood waters swept a 40 year old fisherman out of his home into the streets of Bandra, Mumbai, India. Mumbai has witnessed an increase in costal flooding due to rising sea levels.
“I believe change is a constant phenomenon. Today this change is manifesting in the form of climate change. As a photojournalist, I am seeing it all unfurl before my eyes. I have seen drought, excessive rain, summers getting hotter and winters getting colder. I believe this change is not good and we need to act now otherwise it will impact the generations to come,” photographer, SL Shanth Kumar, said to the CIWEM.
Changing Environments Prize:
Winner: Tuvalu beneath the rising tide, by Sean Gallagher.
Fallen trees lying on the shore of the Funafuti lagoon in the Polynesian island country, Tuvalu (the fourth smallest country in the world). Current data suggests that small islands in the South Pacific are at risk of being fully submerged underwater as early as 2030 unless global emissions are drastically cut.
Sustainable Cities Prize:
Winner: Polluted New Year, by Eliud Gil Samaniego.
The dangerous air pollution in Mexicali, Mexico. According to the Baja California authorities, poor air quality causes an estimated 300 premature deaths in the Mexicali region annually.
Water, Equality and Sustainability Prize:
Winner: Water Scarcity, by Frederick Dharshie Wissah.
A young boy drinking dirty water from the mud due to the lack of fresh water points in the area caused by deforestation.
Climate Action and Energy Prize:
Winner: Remains of the Forest, by Henry Fair.
Hambach is 12,000 year old forest near Colgne, Germany. It was cleared in 2018 to expand a pit coal mine, and is one of the three coal pits and five power plants in the Rhineland area that produce one third of Germany’s carbon emissions.
Young Environmental Photographer of the Year:
Winner: Desperate Measures, by Neville Ngomane.
Two men de-horning a rhino to save the animal from being killed by poachers. According to Save The Rhino, 8,889 African Rhinos have died due to poaching in the past decade. Thanks to animal protection groups, the number of Rhino’s poached each year in South African decreased by 259 from 1,028 in 2017 to 769 in 2018.
Check out other images from the awards that made the short list here, and let us know which winning photo is your favourite in the comments below!