EverydayClimateChange is an ongoing documentary project, a tool for raising awareness, and a moving collection of beautiful photography.
The project, started by photographer James Whitlow Delano, uses a simple Instagram hashtag to connect photos from around the world to a larger discussion about climate change. The account everydayclimatechange curates the most striking and powerful images, along with the stories that accompany them. The project launched in January of this year, and the account currently has over 29,000 followers and over 3,000 images have been tagged with #everydayclimate.
Delano, who is based in Tokyo, filled us in on the details of the project via email from Malaysia, where he is documenting changes in the rainforest.
TreeHugger: Do you have an estimate as to how many photographers have used the hashtag?
James Whitlow Delano: It would be hard to estimate that but I will say this, I have met and invited several talented photographers to join the feed who I met only because they used the hashtag #everydayclimatechange and I was moved by their work.
TH: Are most of the contributors/participants professional photographers?
JDW: Most contributors are professionals but certainly not all. Those of us who earn our living doing photography simply produce a larger volume of work that has more issue focus. That said, there are some very talented people out there who do photography for the love of it. We do publish their work and the feed is a beneficiary of their photographs.
TH: Are there any particular images that were the most moving or had the most impact for you personally?
JDW: There have been so many, it is hard to count but perhaps the image of the Batek Negrito women of the Malaysian rainforest taking a little rest in the last parcel of rainforest they are allowed to enter, sandwiched between 30 km of oil palm and a massive national park from which they are barred from hunting or gathering (both of which are their ancestral homeland). They are sitting in front of surveying stakes because the forest was about to be logged. I have seen snapshots from January 2015 that showed that the last parcel of forest has now been logged. I will go there again tomorrow to see the results of the logging, and the effects on the Batek.
TH: I like that the contributors approach climate change from so many different perspectives (politics, coasts, food, weather). Are there any topics that have surprised you, or that you never thought about in the context climate change?
JDW: I love the fact that people give so many different aspects of the climate change crisis and I have indeed been surprised. Here is the benefit of local knowledge: About a year ago, I did a project for the first time in Ecuador and visited Chimborazo, a 6,200 m high glaciated volcano that sits on the equator. Alex Reshuan, an ECC member photographer, is from Ecuador and what he knew about Chimborazo, that I did not, is that there is only one indigenous Kichwa ice collector who carves ice for refrigeration from the glacier. The glaciers are receding to the point that he has to climb too high to get access to them. That is a beautiful example of the benefit of having local knowledge on the feed.
Images from EverydayClimateChange will be featured at Photoville, a free photography exhibit in Brooklyn from September 10 - 20, 2015. Delano is running an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the costs of production and travel—with perks for contributors that include postcards, prints, and photo books.