Consequences

by NOOR

 


© Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR

© Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR

From the frontiers of climate change comes Consequences by NOOR, featuring the work of nine internationally acclaimed photographers who documented the devastating effects of climate change around the globe.

The project intended to show the humanitarian consequences of climate change; focusing on actual facts that had devastating effects on the lives of millions of people around the world: floods, drought, hunger, disease, animal extinction, conflicts, migration and loss of human rights. Their stories were gathered in the multimedia project "Consequences by NOOR", realized with the support of Nikon Europe BV and funds from a large group of international organizations. From concept to dissemination, NOOR took the project to its widest possible audience.

Collectively, the participating NOOR photographers visited the hunger victims in the deserts of Darfur, the flood victims of Bangladesh, the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, and traveled to the Maldives, Poland and Brazil, amongst other places, to witness the issues at stake. In combination with their encompassing archival work, their stories document the biggest challenges our world faced at the time.

"Consequences by NOOR" premiered at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, in December 2009, catching the attention of thousands of international delegates, scientists, journalists and activists.


Path of Destruction

Path of Destruction: Mountain Pine Beetles in British Columbia, Canada

by Nina Berman

 Dead Ponderosas from 300 - 500 years old on a ranch south of Kamloops. The owners had to cut them down because  they were dying from beetle kill and posed a danger.  The beetles drill a perfectly symmetrical hole in the bark and the openings, kill the trees.  Ponderosa pine trees dying from pine beetle infestation on a ranch south  of Kamloops in British Columbia, Canada.  The pine beetle infestation has affected 34 million acres of trees in British Columbia.  Warmer winters and drier, hotter summers, due to climate change, has allowed weakened trees and allowed beetle larvae to thrive.

Across British Columbia, 36 million acres of pine forests are dead and dying.  The killer is a small beetle the size of a rice kernel. Indigenous to the forests of North America, the mountain pine beetle’s population was kept in check by cold winters.  But global warming in the last two decades has allowed the beetles to thrive.The path of destruction caused by this infestation can be seen in a cataclysmic shift in the color and shape of the landscape. 

To the untrained eye, the attack appears beautiful at first.   Swaths of green trees turn red, like autumn leaves changing.  But these pines are evergreens and a color shift is a sign of inevitable mortality. From red, the leaves turn purple, brown, and finally grey. At this point, they can no longer stand and whither to the ground, their pinecones dried out and scattered across the forest floor, their branches, ready fuel for fires.

By 2014, an estimated 80 percent of the lodge pole pines in BC will be dead. The attack has also affected the giant Ponderosas, some of them three to four hundred years old.

Once carbon sinks, these forests are now emitters. By 2020, the dead trees will add an extra billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere or 5 times what all Canadian transportation emits a year. Nothing can stop the large-scale attacks.  Chemical patches can be placed on individual trees to trick beetles into thinking the trees are full, but this is not a solution for tens of millions of acres.

The beetle invades by drilling perfectly symmetrical holes in the bark of trees to lay their larvae.  The tree emits gooey yellow sap to plug up the holes and protect itself, but to no avail.   In the late spring and summer the beetles emerge and fly to attack new trees.   Having eaten nearly all the mature lodge pole pines in British Columbia, they are chomping through younger ones.   Canadian officials say the beetle has nearly eaten itself out of house and home in British Columbia and so has crossed the provincial line to scout new prey in Alberta where there have been reports of what look like hail clouds but are actually swarms of flying beetles.

 

The consequences of this unprecedented infestation are enormous and just beginning to unfold.

Dead trees crash down on power lines, block watersheds, and fuel fires.

In 2009, British Columbia recorded more fires over more acres than any year in its history.

Dead and dying tress provide no shade so the ground gets warmer.

Dead trees with no leaves can’t hold snowpack required for proper run off.  

This is not just a Canadian problem.  The beetle has crossed the border and is forging a path of destruction south through the American Rockies and over the Continental divide.  Some researchers predict that the rampage will stretch east to New Jersey and south to Georgia. Billions of dead trees, once carbon sinks, now emitters, a consequence of climate change.

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 Pine beetle kill in British Columbia, Canada

Blackfields: Poland’s Coal Industry

by Pep Bonet

 

Poland is the second largest coal producer and consumer in all of Europe and consequently one of the most polluted and polluting countries.

From all fossil fuels, brown coal is the one that has the biggest impact on climate change, producing 1/3 of the worlds CO2 emissions. Pep Bonet visited the region of Upper Silesia - one of the most heavily industrialised and polluted areas in the continent - to document the environmental and humanitarian impact of coal mining.

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During his trip to Poland Pep visited “Adamow”, a coal mine that pumps 80 to 120 million-m3 of water out of the ground every year. Dry grounds enable the extraction of brown coal but the lack of water makes the land infertile affecting the life of local inhabitants.

Pep: “the surrounding burnt-out landscape is littered with heaps of coal waste, trucks and excavators. Deep in the mine, conveyor belts slither along, laden with earth and rock. On the observation deck built around the hole, people fall silent; the view has a sobering effect”.

Poland has one of the highest numbers of lakes in the world and the current developments of expanding mining throughout the country will have a serious impact on these natural resources. Devastating effects can occur on the fragile ecosystem endangering several species. Marshes and peat bogs can also dry up, causing irreversible destruction.

Researchers believe that the impact of these new mining operations will affect not only surrounding areas but also regions hundreds of kilometers away. If mining companies continue to refuse considering these facts and reevaluate their plans, the damage caused by opencast mining in Poland might have only just begun.

Based on a story by Marta Kazmierska | Greenpeace

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Shadows of Change

by Stanley greene

 We have called them Eskimos, but they are Inuit, and they have always named themselves as such. The  name eskimos comes from the word "Eskimautik", which means "Those who eat raw meat", the people of the North. Traditional dress of Polar bear, seal skin, boots and fur-lined coverings have help Inuit people to survive some of Earths coldest weather for centuries.

With out sea ice, seals cannot build ledges, on which to rest, eat and bear their pups, walruses cannot find refuge on drift ice to rest, and digest their meals, of clams and other shell fish, polar bear cannot catch seals, if there is no ice hunters cannot travel in dog sled in search of game, for food and skins. Arctic biologists say that the entire eco system is in collapse. Because of the disappearing cold ice, hunters have to shoot their dogs, because there is not enough food to feed them, without sea ice without, sled dogs, with out Polar bears, marine mammals and birds, traditional life in the arctic could crumble pretty quickly, and with out the skins of polar bears and seals the Inuit culture will die out.

Greenland's ice caps are melting at an alarming rate, raising global sea levels and threatening the local way of life. 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.

 The abandoned village of Uummamannatsiaq

Juucirisi says " I hear the rumors about people wanting to close our village, and on the radio I hear people talking about Global warming, but I will not leave. I will die here. This is my home, this is all I know. I am a hunter, I have hunted polar bears, killed whales and seals for food and skins We are people of the land, we are the "kings of the Ice". There are things that scientist do not understand, and can never know that, for example, whales are returning in large numbers, and disturbing the fishing. Fishing is a major export of North Greenland. Because of the lack of good ice, I am forced to fish for halibut". Juucirisi fishes because of need, but would prefer to hunt. He has become a legend, because he is a great hunter.
 Graves covered by snow along the coast line of Illusissat.
 Dead white fox hanging on a hook.

Yamal Peninsula

by Yuri kozyrev

 Yamal peninsula,�north-west Siberia, Russia:Three �Nenet �families�live on the tundra in a reindeer-skin tents or chums (ital); the group has around 600 reindeer.

Yamal Peninsula: home to the Nenet population and the largest natural gas reserve in the world.

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.

 Yamal peninsula,�north-west Siberia, Russia: Aerial �view of Yamal peninsula. It�is one of the world's last great wildernesses, a 435-mile long peninsula of lakes and squelching tundra stretching deep into the Arctic Ocean.
 Vasilyi Ivanovich, the elder �of the tribe.

In The Oil Sands

by Jon Lowenstein

 The oil sands of Alberta, Canada, one of the world's second largest reserve of crude oil and a major source of greenhouse gases.

 

 Ed Cooper is a member of the First Nations Community in Fort McKay about an hour north of Fort McMurray. The First Nations people are the original indigenous tribes native to the Alberta area. Fort McKay is the closest community to the original Oil Sands developments of Suncor and Syncrude so it has been one of the most impacted both economically, socially and environmentally by the oil industry. This is complex and although the community has suffered a loss of land it has also gained a large amount of economic support from the oil companies and many of the First Nations residents of Fort McKay, work for the industry. Ed Cooper said he worked for Syncrude, Suncor and Bechtel when they were in the area. 

Portraits of the men and women who work in the Oil Sands Industry in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. The portraits are aimed at showing the connection between the people who come from all over Canada and the world to work in the area. By pairing each person�s images with a portrait of a tree I hope to bring attention to both the global nature of the oil industry and the destruction of the boreal forest that exists above the bitumen reserves in Alberta, Canada. Each person who comes to work in the area contributes in different ways to the destruction of the forest. Not everyone photographed works directly for the oil companies, but nearly everyone has migrated to the Fort McMurray area to  find work in the city of Fort McMurray, nicknamed Fort McMoney.

The Oil Sands or Tar Sands region in Alberta, Canada is now one of the largest producers of petroleum in the world. The Athabasca Oil Sands (also known colloquially as the Athabasca Tar Sands although there is no actual tar) are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centered around the boomtown of Fort McMurray. These oil sands, hosted in the McMurray Formation, consist of a mixture of crude bitumen (a semi-solid form of crude oil), silica sand, clay

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.

 Images from the Oil Sands Discovery Centre is located in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada and is supported by the government of Alberta. The centre is an educational facility designed to raise awareness about the Oil Sands region. 

In 1936, the Alberta Social Credit Party-led government of the Province of Alberta, Canada, introduced prosperity certificates in an attempt to alleviate the effects of the Great Depression. Social Credit Premier William Aberhart's government had won power in the 1935 provincial election partly on the scheme.

Although not technically money, each certificate was intended to circulate with a value of one dollar. Every week the holder of a note had to affix a one-cent stamp to the back to maintain its validity. The intended effect was to increase the velocity of circulation and discourage hoarding. As the end of each interval approached, the note holders spent their prosperity certificates in order to avoid having to purchase and affix the stamps. This obligation consequently often fell on the merchants.

The government injected the prosperity certificates into circulation by using them to pay part of the salaries of the provincial civil servants. The original intention was that the notes would be redeemed by the provincial treasurer after two years, by which time 104 stamps would have been attached, yielding the government a small profit on the issue.

However the prosperity certificate experiment lasted for only about one year. The necessity for affixing one-cent stamps was not popular, and to make matters worse the stamps kept falling off. The newspapers spearheaded a campaign to boycott the notes. Of the 357,680 prosperity certificates issued, all but 19,639 were redeemed.

Aberhart's successor as Social Credit leader and premier, Ernest Manning, twice honoured the 1935 promise to issue dividends to Albertans. In 1957, his government announced a $20 Alberta Oil Royalty Dividend and issued a $17 dividend the next year. The policy was wide
 Images from the Oil Sands Discovery Centre is located in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada and is supported by the government of Alberta. The centre is an educational facility designed to raise awareness about the Oil Sands region. 

A composite of four images of a heavy hauler truck.  The heavy hauler trucks are built by Caterpillar in the United States and are so large that they have to be brought to the sites in parts and assembled there in Canada. The trucks carry about 400 tons of earth per ton and are designed for high production mining and construction. The are 7.6 meters high and empty weight over 1.2 million pounds. Each machine costs between $5-6 million dollars. 

The Oil Sands or Tar Sands region in Alberta, Canada is now one of the largest producers of petroleum in the world. The Athabasca Oil Sands (also known colloquially as the Athabasca Tar Sands although there is no actual tar) are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centered around the boomtown of Fort McMurray. These oil sands, hosted in the McMurray Formation, consist of a mixture of crude bitumen (a semi-solid form of crude oil), silica sand, clay minerals, and water. The Athabasca deposit is the largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world and the largest of three major oil sands deposits in Alberta, along with the nearby Peace River and Cold Lake deposits. Together, these oil sand deposits lie under 141,000 square kilometres (54,000 sq mi) of sparsely populated boreal forest and muskeg (peat bogs) and contain about 1.7 trillion barrels (270?10^9 m3) of bitumen in-place, comparable in magnitude to the world's total proven reserves of conventional petroleum.

With modern unconventional oil production technology, at least 10% of these deposits, or about 170 billion barrels (27?10^9 m3) were considered to be economically recoverable at 2006 prices, making Canada's total oil reserves the second largest in the world, after Saudi

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

Brazil’s Range War: Assault on the Amazon

by Kadir van Lohuizen

Brazil climate change

Cattle ranching in the Amazon is a major driver of deforestation and contributor to increased greenhouse gas emissions.

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 bulldoze 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.

Brazil climate change
Brazil climate change

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.