I have photographed water and climate change in Florida, Bangladesh, Easter Island, the Falklands, Patagonia, and Iceland, as well as across the United States. In October, I will travel to Snow Hill Island to document the plight of Emperor Penguins. George Thompson is publishing my book on Florida’s Changing Waters this fall. Climate change is a worldwide issue that affects all life forms.
My work documents water issues during a period of accelerating climate change. Estuaries and deltas are experiencing saltwater intrusion related to rising sea levels and irregular flow in rivers from early snowmelt or water grabs upstream. The reduction in freshwater is affecting the reproduction of sea creatures and is harming habits for endemic species. Biodiversity is reduced and those downstream are left with parched fields and serious water shortages. Rising sea levels and warming ocean temperatures are causing migrations of humans and animals and threaten the extinction of many birds, creatures, and plants. Food security is also threatened.
In inland Florida, saltwater is seeping up through the porous karst geology while the state sinks. In low-lying coastal areas unfiltered floodwater is directed back into bays and oceans killing coral and other ecosystems. Islands are disappearing in the Sundarbans, the largest natural delta in the world, affecting the livelihood of fisherman and leaving Bangladesh less protected from cyclones. Already 35 percent of the world’s mangroves are gone, yet mangroves protect shorelines and filter water pollution.
A major cause of climate change is fossil fuels. A coal-fired plant is about to be built by power corporations in India and Bangladesh near the Bangladesh section of the Sundarbans that will burn 5 million tons of coal a year, and plants continue to be built in 62 countries. Climate change is causing glaciers to calve and melt, which is a major factor in rising seas. While most of the world is sinking, parts of Iceland are rising as heavy glaciers shed. Though climate change in Iceland is beneficial for agriculture, rapid ice-melt causes flooding and glacial rivers are becoming more silt-laden. Melting sea ice has shifted the Jetstream and may also cause the extinction of puffins.
Documenting climate change and its impact on water quality, biodiversity and culture has become a calling for me in this era of climate deniers. I am seeking grants and mentorships to continue documenting these issues in other locations and to share my work more broadly.