Climate hero of the week

Climate Heroes of the Week: The young photographers of COP22

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This week’s heroes are the young and talented contestants of the International Youth Photo Competition, which reflected a theme of climate change as part of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Marrakech this November. The photos were displayed in two exhibits and chosen from among the submissions of 33 countries worldwide. The competition, held by Addressing Climate Change in cooperation with The Lucie Foundation (a nonprofit charitable organization to honor master photographers, discover and cultivate emerging talent, and promote the appreciation of photography worldwide. which displayed 75 chosen images) and National Geographic’s online photo community (which mounted 25 images), were selected as part of the Climate Change – In Focus project. The work was placed on exhibit in the Blue Zone at COP22, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, which took place this year from November 7- 18. The Addressing Climate Change: In Focus project is a global photography competition which was created to increase awareness of and encourage a voice about climate change among the world’s youth, and was open to children ages 7 to 18.

The Creator’s Project describes this year’s selection highlights as exemplifying the “experiences of and modes of adaptation within rapidly changing climate conditions and showcases (of) the very tangible effects of climate change to an audience of highly powerful groups and individuals at COP22.” The competition this year was created by the founder of Addressing Climate Change, photographer Henry Dallal, and later endorsed by the UNFCCC’s Secretariat. World leaders and top global negotiators were able to enjoy the contestants’ images which were mounted in the Blue Zone, where they were most easily observed during the conference. According to the United Nations Development Programme and Reducing Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation representative Jyoti Mathur-Fillip, the Blue Zone is an area accessible to a “select set of people” who are mostly governmentally-involved and thus possibly quite influential on areas concerning climate policy.

To prepare for the competition, contestants were asked to submit images they felt exemplified “how their communities have been affected by climate change and how they are adapting, and of ways to reduce greenhouse gases, for example through eco-housing, public transport, solar panels or wind turbines,” according to the UN Climate Change Newsroom. Nick Nuttall, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change spokesperson, explained that, “Photography and art can play a key role in visually highlighting the impacts of climate change and the many possibilities of effective climate action, thereby inspiring governments, along with cities, investors, businesses and all of civil society to do their utmost to reduce emissions and build resilience.”

Hossein Farmani, the founder of the Lucie Foundation was pleased with the event, and stated that, “We managed to see the changes in the world through the eyes of the children and teenagers, who are very sensitive in their reflections of such changes. How has your community been affected and how have you adapted? was one of the questions we asked them and received some very compelling answers.” The top 100 images showcased the most striking of climate impact and eighteen of them can be viewed in a CNN online exhibition. Let’s hope they inspire the necessary action on the part of those who enjoyed them in the Blue Zone.

Kristen lives in the Michiana area, where she enjoys lake-effect weather, apple orchards and occasional South Shore rides into Chicago. She can probably tell you more about apple cider vinegar than you'd ever want to know. You can reach her at: http://lakesedge.wix.com/lakesidewriting