Climate Change by NOOR is a long term group project that focuses on two issues.
The first, Consequences by NOOR is a showcase for creativity in photography and an eyewitness record of the devastating effects of climate change around the globe. Produced in the autumn of 2009, these visual reportages show not what might happen in the future but what is happening today, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the issues at stake.
NOOR continued the project in autumn 2010 with an encompassing visual project investigating what is and can be done to slow down or reverse climate change: Solutions by NOOR. This focuses on human stories about alternative power sources, renewable energies, and attempts to alleviate, adjust or cope with the rise of global temperatures; the biggest challenge our world has ever faced.
Both projects have been funded with a generous grant from Nikon Europe BV.
NOOR is a photographic agency and a foundation based in Amsterdam and New York. The agency combines the talents and perspectives of eleven photographers hailing from seven different countries. Its members are some of the most highly recognized and experienced photojournalists working today. NOOR produces cutting edge, visually distinctive and up-to-date photographic and multimedia reportage on news and culture. NOOR’s images are published in the world’s top magazines, compiled as books, exhibited in art galleries and collected by museums.
NOOR photographers have made – and are committed to continue making – impact on views and public opinion through photography.
Nina Berman (USA, 1960)’s long-term projects have focused primarily on the American political and social landscape. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including World Press Photo, the Open Society Institute and the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2010 Nina was selected for the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial. Nina lives in New York.
Francesco Zizola (Italy, 1962) has photographed the world’s major conflicts and its hidden crises. Francesco has received numerous international awards and prizes, eight World Press Photo awards and four Pictures of the Year Awards. Francesco lives in Rome.
Alixandra Fazzina (UK, 1974)’s photography focuses on under-reported conflicts and the often forgotten humanitarian consequences of war. Studying Fine Art, she began her career as a war artist in Bosnia. Since then, she has worked independently as a photojournalist throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Alixandra is based in Pakistan.
Kadir van Lohuizen (The Netherlands, 1963) has covered conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, but is probably best known for his projects on seven rivers of the world and the diamond industry. He has received numerous prizes, including two World Press Photo awards. He is on the supervisory board of World Press Photo and has published four photo books. Kadir is based in Amsterdam.
Pep Bonet (Mallorca, 1974)’s work focuses on African issues and long-term projects. His work on social issues such as Hiv/Aids has led to several photography books and many exhibitions worldwide. Pep is a recipient of the Kodak Young Photographer of the Year Award, the Eugene Smith Humanistic Grant in Photography and World Press Photo Awards. Pep lives in Mallorca.
Stanley Greene (USA, 1949) has worked extensively all over the world. His most well known body of work is his coverage of the war in Chechnya, from which he released Open Wound in 2003. He is a recipient of the Eugene Smith Humanistic Grant and numerous other awards. Stanley is based in New York.
Jon Lowenstein (USA, 1970). Over the last 10 years, Jon has specialized in long-term, in-depth documentary photographic projects that question the status quo. His recent work includes stories from Central America and South Africa. Jon was recently named a 2008 Alicia Patterson Fellow and garnered the 2007 Getty Award for Editorial Images. Jon resides in Chicago.
Yuri Kozyrev (Russia, 1963). A native of Russia, Yuri has covered every major conflict in the former Soviet Union – including two Chechen wars – since becoming a professional photojournalist twenty years ago. He has spent much of the past eight years in Baghdad, working for Time Magazine. Yuri has received numerous honors for his photography and several World Press Photo awards. Yuri is based in Moscow.
CONSEQUENCES by NOOR
Mountain pine beetle by Nina Berman | British Columbia, Canada | August 2009
Mountain pine beetles have decimated more than 150,000 m² of pine forests in British Columbia. Experts predict that by 2014 al least 80 percent of the mature pines in the region will be dead. No larger than a grain of rice, the pine beetle is endemic in the Rocky Mountains of western North America. Winter temperatures below 0 degree Celsius once kept the beetle in check. Warming trends, however, have permitted the beetle larvae to survive the winter and proliferate at an astounding rate. Dead trees are fodder for wild fires. In 2009, British Columbia recorded more fires than any previous year in its history. The consequences of this unprecedented infestation are enormous and only just beginning to unfold. The beetle kill has wreaked havoc on the economy of regions dependent upon logging and tourism. The path of destruction caused by this infestation can be seen as a catastrophic shift in the colour and shape of the landscape. The beetle will eat until it runs out of food or until deeply cold winter temperatures return to kill its larvae.
Karabash by Yuri Kozyrev | Karabash, Russia | October 2009
The project focuses on Karabash and other poisoned cities of the Soviet-era industrial belt located on the Chelyabinskaya region of the southern Ural Mountains, Russia. A legacy of chemical and heavy metal emissions and radiation leaks, including one worse that Chernobyl, earned Karabash region a reputation as the most polluted spot on Earth in the 1990s. During many years, the exploitation of old technologies for treatment of raw materials, produced about 30 million tons of waste that have been dumped in the city. The dumps contain considerable amounts of valuable substances, including copper, zinc, gold, silver, platinoids, rare-earth elements and a trace of rare metals. The log dwellings and small apartment buildings of Karabash’s residents are literally surrounded by black heaps of industrial waste 14 meters/45 feet high. The looming smokestack of Karabash’s blister-copper smelter has been venting as much as 180 tons of sulfur dioxide and metal particulates into the air every year since 1910, before the Bolsheviks came to power. The Karabash Copper Smelting Works was closed in 1990 when Soviet officials called it an “environmental disaster zone”. The loss of jobs caused the town to fall into poverty, so the century-old plant was reopened in 1998 without a safety or environmental assessment. When the plant reopened in 1998 under private management, hardly anyone objected.
Horn of Africa: climate refugees by Jan Grarup | Horn of Africa | November 2009
The world’s largest refugee camp is in Dadaab, in Kenya. The camp is bursting at the seams with more than 300.000 occupants, and more coming everyday. Many of the refugees have left the southern part of Somalia due to the ongoing war in their country. Others are so called “climate refugees”, people who were forced to leave their homes following several months of severe drought. The precarious situation created by the drought in their homelands was worsened by heavy rainfall. With the arid land too dry to absorb the rain, floodwaters rose, destroying shelters and contaminating sanitation facilities. As a result, waterborne diseases are thriving and rapidly infecting the thousands forced to drink from the polluted water. In the central part of Somalia, refugees from the South are mixed with refugees arriving from Ethiopia: people who have been forced to leave due to the severe drought and lack of water and food. Many people try to leave the Horn of Africa to get to Yemen – a country facing challenges related to the arrival of thousands of refugees – hoping for a better life, only to find that the situation is hardly any better. The United Nations estimated that by 2012 there could be more than 50 million climate refugees, many on the African continent alone.
Yamal Peninsula by Yuri Kozyrev | Yamal, Russia | October 2009
In the language of the indigenous Nenet, Yamal means “world’s end”. This more than 700 kilometre long peninsula in North Western Siberia, Russia, is home to more than 40.000 Nenet and the largest natural gas reserve in the world. For a thousand years, the Nenet have herded their domesticated reindeer to summer pastures above the Arctic Circle. The Nenet’s traditional way of life is threatened by warming temperatures and by the world’s rapacious appetite for natural gas. Traditionally, the Nenet travel across the frozen Ob’ River in November and set up camp in the forests. These days, this annual winter pilgrimage is delayed. The Nenet, together with many thousands of reindeer, have to wait until late December when the ice is finally thick enough to cross. And with the gas wells have come railroad tracks and natural gas pipelines that bisect herding routes and cause reindeers to break legs. Fish, once an abundant dietary staple, have also diminished: the Nenet blame offshore drilling.
Blackfields: Poland’s coal industry by Pep Bonet | Coal Mines, Poland | September 2009
Poland is one of the largest producers of coal in Europe. The Upper Silesian Coal Basin in Poland, where coal has been mined for more than 150 years, is thick with mines, steel mills, coke ovens and chemical plants. Waste from these industries fills hundreds of dumps across the region. From all fossil fuels brown coal is the one that has the biggest impact on climate change: producing one third of the worlds CO₂ emissions. Smoke from coal-fired plants pollutes the air and runoff from the mines contaminates the groundwater, streams and lakes. In Poland, more than ninety percent of the energy comes from burning coal, a major producer of greenhouse gases. Despite the reforms of the last decade, researchers believe that the impact of new mining operations will affect not only surrounding areas but also regions hundreds of kilometres away. Coal mining remains a dangerous and dirty business and, if mining companies continue to refuse considering these facts and re-evaluate their plans, the damage caused by opencast mining in Poland might have only begun.
Paradise in peril by Francesco Zizola | Maldives | October 2009
The Maldives is the lowest lying country in the world. As the world’s oceans fill with water from melting glaciers, caused by temperature rises, this tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean will be the first country on the planet to slip below the waves. Experts predict that within the next 15 years, rising sea levels will force the nearly 400.000 residents of the Maldives to migrate elsewhere. Other islands and coastal regions around the world face similar threats. Migrations forced by rising sea levels will disproportionately affect poor nations and the developing world as climate refugees overwhelm neighbouring countries. In October 2009, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives and his cabinet held an underwater meeting to publicize the island’s plight and call on developed nations to reduce carbon emissions. In President Nasheed’s opinion, the Maldives need to lead the way towards a sustainable future. This is why he announced the intention of becoming a carbon neutral country by 2020. However, the road ahead is a difficult one from every angle. Besides its dependency on the energy consuming tourism and fishery industries, the Maldives has a highly polluting power generating system and this, combined with the absence of an effective waste management system, means many steps still need to be taken.
In the oil sands by Jon Lowenstein | Yamal, Russia | October 2009
The oil sands of Alberta, Canada, represent the second largest source of crude oil in the world, behind Saudi Arabia. Unlike conventional crude oil, which is pumped from deep within the earth, oil sands are a mixture of sand, clay, water and bitumen, found near the surface. Oil sand mining degrades the landscape, pollutes the water and with its associated refining industries accounts for five percent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. In our interconnected global world, the story of these oil sands is as much about polluted water as it is about polluted dreams: it exposes the degraded terrain of the mining site while it reveals the decayed terrain of human avarice. Mining and refining the oil sands is an expensive process, but with the rise in the price of oil, it has become very profitable. The small town of Fort McMurray, where many people live that work in the oil sands, is known to its residents as Fort McMoney. The town has exploded with the influx of oil patch workers from around the globe, and Canada’s coffers have swelled with billions in royalties.
Brazil’s range war: assault on the Amazon by Kadir van Lohuizen | Pará State, Brazil | October 2009
The rainforests of the Brazilian Amazon, the most biologically diverse place on Earth, are shrinking by tens of thousands of square kilometres a year. About 60 to 70 percent of that deforestation occurs as ranchers cut, burn and bull-doze trees, to create pastures for the country’s burgeoning cattle industry. In recent years, Brazil has become the largest exporter of beef and, not coincidentally, the third largest polluter in the world, after China and the United States. Every eight seconds the size of a football field disappears in the Brazilian Amazon. Fires from the burning forests and the ovens that heat the wood into charcoal fill the skies. The cattle, too, are responsible for methane gases. Methane has a global warming potential more than twenty times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Most of the deforestation for pastures is illegal, however the cattle farmers are a powerful force in Brazil where 75 percent of the land is owned by three percent of the people. Even nature preserves, such as Terra do Meio, are not safe from the illegal deforestation.
Shadows of change by Stanley Greene | Uummannaq, Greenland | October 2009
Nowhere on Earth, perhaps, is the evidence of climate change more apparent. The ice that covers 80 percent of the world’s largest island is disappearing at the rate of 7 percent a year, a rate that has accelerated substantially in recent years. In some places, the ice shelf is already too thin to permit the Inuit to travel to traditional hunting grounds. The permafrost is also melting, producing a land that is boggy, unstable for buildings and difficult to cross by the traditional sleds. Worst-case scenarios predict that the carbon released by the melting permafrost could equal all the carbon already in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Inuit, who survived for centuries by hunting seals and whales, are watching their way of life disappear before their very eyes. “This weather does not belong to us. It belongs to someone else. If we don’t have ice, we are going to die”. With this prediction, an Inuit hunter sums up the dire situation for the indigenous peoples who live in northern and eastern Greenland.
Partying till the last drop by Nina Berman | Las Vegas, USA | June 2010
Lake Mead is the main water resource of Las Vegas and millions of people across the Southwest. The water level has recently reached its lowest point and is steadily dropping. Scientists predict the lake will disappear completely by 2021. At the moment a third pump is being put in place to bring water from the lake to Las Vegas residents. Even though some efforts are made to create garden with cactus and not grass, artificial lakes made out of drinking water and golf courses are still very common in the region, like in Coyote Spring, a new project community that is hoping to bring 200,000 people in the desert. 36 millions visitors visit every year the city of Las Vegas.
SOLUTIONS by NOOR
Greening the ghetto by Nina Berman | The Bronx, USA | July-October 2010
What was once America’s most famous slum is now at the forefront of a national movement tackling climate change with environmental justice, one street at a time. What’s good for the planet is also good for the ’hood. The South Bronx, immortalized in films with its vast swath of torched tenements, rubble-strewn lots, gangbangers and hip-hop kids, looks quite different now than it did in 1977, when President Jimmy Carter walked through its urban ruin.
Brazil’s sweet solution by Francesco Zizola | Brazil | October 2010
What started as a way to reduce oil dependence in a decade threatened by the first oil crisis and its resulting oil shortages, has brought Brazil to the forefront of the battle against climate change. An agro-industrial giant, Brazil is the world’s second largest producer of ethanol and the world’s largest producer of sugar cane, which is used as feedstock in the production of bio-ethanol. Brazilian ethanol derived from sugar cane is deemed the most successful biofuel to date in terms of energy balance and greenhouse gas emissions and it has slowly been replacing gasoline and diesel in significant sectors. Today, bio-ethanol is not only used to power light vehicles, but is also being tested on power buses in city centers and electric powers plants.
Tupande miti! Sustainable forestry by Alixandra Fazzina | Democratic Republic of Congo | November 2010
Deforestation produces about one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting the world’s remaining tropical forests is a key part of the solution to tackling the climate crisis. In Eastern Congo, the people are already witnessing the effects of deforestation as weather patterns change and rivers begin to dry up. Climate change in this region is not something abstract; when trees are cut, the rains no longer come, altering crop cycles and depleting supplies of water. Over the past decade there has been a cry, “tupande miti”. Plant trees!
Wind energy in China by Kadir van Lohuizen | China | November 2010
With 41.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity, China became the world’s biggest producer of wind energy at the end of 2010, thus surpassing the US. With its large land mass and long coastline, China has exceptional wind resources and growth potential, which the government intends to increasingly exploit. Indeed China aims to “have 100 gigawatts (GW) of on-grid wind power generating capacity by the end of 2015 and to generate 190 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of wind power annually”. Researchers from Harvard and Tsinghua University have found that China could meet all of their electricity demands from wind power through 2030. Big wind farms with thousands of windmills are being constructed in provinces like Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Gansu among others. The current capacity would be enough to serve 55 million Chinese households.
Steamland, geothermal energy by Pep Bonet | Iceland | November 2010
Due to the unique geological location of Iceland, the high concentration of volcanoes in the area is often an advantage for generating geothermal energy, heating and electricity. 100% of Iceland’s electricity comes from clean sources and the government plans within 30 years to become the first country to abandon the use of fossil fuels. Geothermal energy is heat energy that occurs naturally in the earth, and is recovered from the earth’s core. In nature, geothermal heat shows up in the form of volcanoes, hot springs and geysers. When this energy is higher than 150°C/302°F, it is considered hot enough to be used to generate electricity and heat in Iceland.
Hold the sun in your hands by Stanley Greene | Kenya | November 2010
Solar power lamps are practical argument for solution of climate change and can give a positive reason both economically and environmentally potential of solar power in out of reach areas where electricity is expensive and impractical to come by to poor communities. The Community Youth Program in Kibera, Nairobi, gathers youths from the slum who create solar lamps that are being made for the community. They create and sell the lamps and the money that they receive is shared amongst the group. Inside the youth center there is a solar panel, but it is the only one in Kibera. Their hope is to be able to build solar panels for the whole Kibera community.
The Cuban solution by Jon Lowenstein | Cuba | October 2010
In 1991 the Soviet Union pulled out of country and Cuba was left to fend for itself.
The ample and continuous supply of petroleum that the economy ran on ground to a halt. Cuba’s oil imports dropped to 10% of pre-1990 amounts. This had many adverse effects on the economy and caused a sea change in Cuban behavior: the food supply became limited, the cars already old and decrepit versions of the 1950’s were now used as taxis, people car pooled and in a myriad of ways individual Cubans developed innovative ways to survive this change.
Russia’s green exodus by Yuri Kozyrev | Siberia, Russia | November 2010
The back to the land movement, is drawing thousands of professionals weary of the new consumerism, state policy and corruption. They live in tepees, raise horses and identify themselves with Native Americans. They believe in the magic powers of cedar trees and plant them by the thousands. They create hundreds of ecological communes in far corners of Siberia, the Altai Mountains and the Karelian woods in search of happier, alternative forms of living.