Uniting leaders in photography, politics, research and activism, the event will center around two series, 40 single images and one moving image. In the Series Competition, Vijay Jodha’s First Witnesses tells the poignant story of Indian farmers who commit suicide after erratic climate-induced weather patterns render their farms unviable, thus destroying their livelihoods. “Globally, we are more alive to the common challenges, be it climate change or a pandemic,” says Jodha on what the award means to him. “The involvement of everyone – from the arts community to the scientists and political leaders – offers the possibility of tackling this issue even if some others are laggards.”
Evangelos Daskalakis’ Kawsak Sacha, meanwhile, ruminates on humankind’s capacity to co-exist with the natural world, set amongst an indigenous Kichwa community in the Ecuadorian Amazonia. “The struggle of the natives in Ecuador is nothing more than a small piece in the [broader] mosaic of the destruction of our natural world,” says Daskalakis. “We have to learn from these communities, and realise that the capitalist vision of endless growth has driven us into deadlock.”
Inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Single Image Competition covers the categories ‘People’, ‘Urban’, ‘Nature’ and ‘Futures’. Amongst the winners, Lena C Emery highlights the little-understood importance of fungi, namely as a vital agent in relieving the pressures we put on the natural world and its resources. Raquel Rivas Navas considers the impending wave of ‘climate migration’ as certain regions are rendered uninhabitable due to climate change, and Slater King muses on the human cost of plastic pollution.
In its entirety, the inaugural Decade of Change award unites artistic voices from around the world in an urgent and masterful exploration of the climate crisis — celebrating all that we have to protect, cautioning all that we have to lose, and capturing the weight of the problem in a language that’s accessible to all. “Scientists provide data that warns us of the unfolding tragedy. But the human cost is real, and terrible,” muses Paul Dickinson, Founder and Executive Chairman of CDP and part of the inaugural Decade of Change judging panel. “Great art can make us feel this dreadful truth — and, perhaps, drive us to action.”