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Songs and Pictures For Climate Change: A Playlist for the Planet

<strong>San Jose de Gracia, Mexico — July 30, 2021:</strong> San Jose de Gracia is nestled in the middle of the Pacific coast of Baja California, Mexico. The community claims that it was founded 200 years ago but today only 12 members are living there. While water first brought the settlement, the rainy season has shifted. This left the community without a waterfall going into the canyon.
<strong>San Jose de Gracia, Mexico — July 30, 2021:</strong> San Jose de Gracia is nestled in the middle of the Pacific coast of Baja California, Mexico. The community claims that it was founded 200 years ago but today only 12 members are living there. While water first brought the settlement, the rainy season has shifted. This left the community without a waterfall going into the canyon.

Editor's note: As the 2021 U.N. Climate Change Summit convenes, NPR's Picture Show is taking a look at work by photographers from around the world that highlight climate change.

Songs for Climate Change: A COP26 Playlist

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, took place in the City of Glasgow, Scotland from November 1st to 12th.

Fiona Ritchie, who grew up near Glasgow, is the host and producer of NPR's The Thistle & Shamrock®. She is also is a director of the social enterprise Climate Café®, founded in Scotland in 2015.

According to Fiona: "Music has a role to play in creating a sense of solidarity, delivering a message of conviction, and contributing its own energy to the global collaboration that we need to tackle the challenges presented by the climate crisis. May the city motto "Let Glasgow Flourish" take on a universal significance as the world moves on with hope from COP26."

Let's take a look at the photographers' work:

Evgenia Arbugaeva

<strong>Chukotka, Russian Arctic. Oct., 2019:</strong> Walruses are outside Russian marine biologist Maxim Chakilev's hut where he lives during the summer season. It is located in the middle of the haul out. An estimated 100,000 Pacific walruses came out of the water to spend time on land.
/ Evgenia Arbugaeva
<strong>Chukotka, Russian Arctic. Oct., 2019:</strong> Walruses are outside Russian marine biologist Maxim Chakilev's hut where he lives during the summer season. It is located in the middle of the haul out. An estimated 100,000 Pacific walruses came out of the water to spend time on land.

The biggest walrus haul out on the planet is located on the shore of Chukchi Sea in Chukotka region in the Russian Arctic. The enormous scale of this gathering is a result of climate change.

By definition a haul out is a behavior when animals such as walruses move from water to land.

Walruses rely on sea ice to rest on during their migration and feeding.

In the absence of the Arctic ice they are forced to haul out on a beach, where there is not enough space for all of them and they are at risk of stampedes and trampling, especially the cubs.

For two weeks Arbugaeva stayed with the Russian marine biologist Maxim Chakilev in the hut right in the middle of the haul out.

"Our hut was shaking from the movements of walruses. Watching them from the door, I felt the climate change crises in a most visceral way, I felt terrified and helpless."

Mette Lampcov

<strong>Salton City, near California's Salton Sea:</strong> Lizette plays on her bicycle as strong winds are blowing across her neighborhood. Little water enters the area and the water that does enter is all agricultural run off laced with pesticides and fertilizers. As the lake shrinks it exposes sand and dust that blows into the air exposing people living nearby to PM10 particulate dust.
/ Mette Lampcov
<strong>Salton City, near California's Salton Sea:</strong> Lizette plays on her bicycle as strong winds are blowing across her neighborhood. Little water enters the area and the water that does enter is all agricultural run off laced with pesticides and fertilizers. As the lake shrinks it exposes sand and dust that blows into the air exposing people living nearby to PM10 particulate dust.

For the past 7 years Lampcov has worked on a project called Water to Dust, a story of climate change in California.

The Salton Sea is a looming environmental and public health disaster. As the sea shrinks its shorelines are reduced, exposing large areas of dusty lakebed known as 'playa.'

During frequent storms the dust blows into the air polluting the mostly Latino farm working communities around Salton Sea.

The playas contain centuries worth of agricultural runoff including DDT, ammonia, possibly carcinogenic herbicides like trifluralin, and other chemicals.

Scientists are starting to understand that particulate dust (PM10) is so fine that it can clog the human airways, penetrate the lungs and cause heart and lung diseases such as asthma.

The area around the Salton sea has some of the highest cases of asthma in the United States.

Marcio Pimenta

<strong>Sao Paulo, Brazil. 2021:</strong> The human relationship with geography modifies the landscape, giving it a social and economic meaning. An important issue in times of climate emergency is the relationship between human beings and geography.
/ Marcio Pimenta
<strong>Sao Paulo, Brazil. 2021:</strong> The human relationship with geography modifies the landscape, giving it a social and economic meaning. An important issue in times of climate emergency is the relationship between human beings and geography.

Marcio Pimenta's Man and Earth is a documentary and artistic exploration.

Pimenta documents the climate crisis from the perspective of history and geography, showing the people who inhabit landscapes and who also live a daily life that has already been shaken by the consequences of climate change.

He asks questions such as, "how do we get water, energy and food in each place and how do these practices connect regionally and globally?" while traveling across Latin America documenting this evolving relationship.

Neeta Satam

<strong>Zanskar, India:</strong> Lobzang Tsamo threshes barley at her family farm in her village in Zanskar, India. Due to water scarcity caused by receding Himalayan glaciers, villagers cannot support a large livestock herd to sustain farming activities. Farmers in the region are abandoning centuries-old sustainable farming practices, adopting fuel-intensive mechanized methods.
/ Neeta Satam
<strong>Zanskar, India:</strong> Lobzang Tsamo threshes barley at her family farm in her village in Zanskar, India. Due to water scarcity caused by receding Himalayan glaciers, villagers cannot support a large livestock herd to sustain farming activities. Farmers in the region are abandoning centuries-old sustainable farming practices, adopting fuel-intensive mechanized methods.

Global warming is changing the Himalayas faster than any other region of the world outside the polar caps.

The Himalayas are a world biodiversity hotspot and contain the largest water store outside the polar ice caps — feeding ten large Asian rivers that support over 1.5 billion people across eight countries.

Data and understanding of the impact of climate change in this region is limited due to restricted research.

Since 2015 Satam has spent time documenting climate change in the Zanskar and Ladakh region, which is on the frontlines of climate change in the Indian Himalayas.

Sofia Aldinio

<strong>San Jose de Gracia, Mexico — January 17, 2021: </strong>Miguel in San Jose de Gracia, Baja California, Mexico. The loss of lives from Hurricane Lester in 1992 coupled with an increase in environmental instability is threatening cultural heritage. Miguel is leading a lost community to revive itself and plot a new course for the families that were once left hungry.
/ Sofia Aldinio
<strong>San Jose de Gracia, Mexico — January 17, 2021: </strong>Miguel in San Jose de Gracia, Baja California, Mexico. The loss of lives from Hurricane Lester in 1992 coupled with an increase in environmental instability is threatening cultural heritage. Miguel is leading a lost community to revive itself and plot a new course for the families that were once left hungry.

Every year, in Baja California, México, the intangible repercussions of climate change become more insidious. Awake in the Desert Land is an ongoing photography project documenting how climate change is threatening cultural heritage by uprooting small, inland and coastal communities that depend directly on natural resources to survive.

The loss of lives from Hurricane Lester in 1992 coupled with an increase in environmental instability is threatening cultural heritage in San Jose de Gracia.

Conservative estimates suggest that by 2050 in Mexico and Central America, 3.9 million people will be forced to leave their homes due to climate change.

Aldinio's work highlights how many communities are already experiencing uncertainty in their lives due to climate change, forcing the younger generation to move away from where their family roots are established and putting at risk their cultural heritage.

Crystal Fang

<strong>Syracuse, New York</strong>: A rusted installation at Onondaga lake. The lake was a dumping ground for soda ash waste and is one of the most polluted lakes in America. After years of dredging, the water quality of the lake is slowly returning to levels.
/ Crystal Fang
<strong>Syracuse, New York</strong>: A rusted installation at Onondaga lake. The lake was a dumping ground for soda ash waste and is one of the most polluted lakes in America. After years of dredging, the water quality of the lake is slowly returning to levels.

In the early 1900s, Syracuse, New York was an industrial city known for soda ash production, a chemical compound mainly used for glass manufacture.

Soda ash production requires extensive mining of limestone and generates a large amount of waste.

Fang's project Beyond the Lake, Beneath the Sky uses an aerial perspective to explore how industrialization of soda ash has permanently shaped or transformed the landscapes of the city and its surrounding area.

Industrialization has made a permanent change on the environment. Some of the spaces are abandoned and some of them are still in use, but they are all testimonies or representation of an era that are no longer present or thriving.

James Whitlow Delano

<strong>Antarctica</strong>: Glaciologists climb the Bellingshausen Dome measuring the depth and consistency of the ice of this 450+ foot-deep ice cap (150m) of ancient ice. 98% of Antarctica is covered with ice. The continent occupies 10% of the earth's surface but contains 91% of the world's ice and 70% of its fresh water.
/ James Whitlow Delano
<strong>Antarctica</strong>: Glaciologists climb the Bellingshausen Dome measuring the depth and consistency of the ice of this 450+ foot-deep ice cap (150m) of ancient ice. 98% of Antarctica is covered with ice. The continent occupies 10% of the earth's surface but contains 91% of the world's ice and 70% of its fresh water.

From the 1990's, Delano found himself passing through the greatest environmental degradation in human history in Asia and quickly realized that the true scale of the climate crisis was not being adequately represented.

He could see how it was disrupting families' lives and affecting children's futures.

The climate crisis is already a shadow player triggering wars, migration, famine and the struggle for clean water. There is no more important issue affecting our planet.

Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah

<strong>Punta Arenas, Chile — Dec. 18, 2020:</strong> Ocean scientists Maximiliano Vergara Jara and Marco Pinto clean an oceanographic sensor after retrieving it from the ocean. The sensor was deployed in the Strait of Magellan for 18 months to collect data like salinity, pH, CO2, and oxygen from the ocean water in the context of ocean acidification triggered by global warming.
/ Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah
<strong>Punta Arenas, Chile — Dec. 18, 2020:</strong> Ocean scientists Maximiliano Vergara Jara and Marco Pinto clean an oceanographic sensor after retrieving it from the ocean. The sensor was deployed in the Strait of Magellan for 18 months to collect data like salinity, pH, CO2, and oxygen from the ocean water in the context of ocean acidification triggered by global warming.

Adu-Sanyah's body of work, Behold The Ocean documents two ocean scientists from Chilean Patagonia on their first scientific expedition during the global pandemic in December 2020. Due to the strict COVID-19 measurements, they were denied environmental fieldwork for the majority of 2020.

Macrocystis Pyrifera, also known as giant kelp is an essential part of the blue carbon system that sequestrates half of all carbon circulating through the ocean. It is under the threats of climate change. The climate conditions of Patagonia's unique fjord channel system provide refuge to this vital marine algae.
/ Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah
Macrocystis Pyrifera, also known as giant kelp is an essential part of the blue carbon system that sequestrates half of all carbon circulating through the ocean. It is under the threats of climate change. The climate conditions of Patagonia's unique fjord channel system provide refuge to this vital marine algae.

Southernmost Patagonia acts as an 'open-air laboratory,' as the extreme conditions on the ground already showing us what other parts of the world can expect in the future.

The increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to accelerated ice melting, resulting in increased freshwater flow into the ocean. The biological and chemical consequences for the marine ecosystem are part of the focus of Maximiliano Vergara Jara and Marco Pinto's research.

Ethan Weston

A Haunting in Oklahoma is the story of the town Picher, one of greed and ecological destruction, but also one of community and resilience.

When powerful mining companies pulled every mineral they could out of the ground, they abandoned Picher. In their wake, they left an environmental disaster so destructive that the town was declared uninhabitable.

<strong>Pilcher, Okla.:</strong> Left: Terry Tyree, like many former residents of the town, said Picher was one big family before the buyout. "We lost that community. You know, Friday nights, you knew where everybody was going to be."; Right: Looking north from the ghost town of Douthat, Oklahoma along Tar Creek a chat pile rises like a mountain from the ghost town of Picher, Oklahoma.
/ Ethan Weston
<strong>Pilcher, Okla.:</strong> Left: Terry Tyree, like many former residents of the town, said Picher was one big family before the buyout. "We lost that community. You know, Friday nights, you knew where everybody was going to be."; Right: Looking north from the ghost town of Douthat, Oklahoma along Tar Creek a chat pile rises like a mountain from the ghost town of Picher, Oklahoma.

Picher consists of empty run-down buildings, barren cracked roads and a mountain range of mining waste.

Yet, every November, hundreds of people line the streets to celebrate Christmas together, reunited as a community that once was.

Nearly a decade after leaving, the people of Picher still love their town. Even after the government paid them to leave, they return again and again to the place they called home. Many have fond memories of playing on chat piles or dried slag ponds as children.


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