And The Waters Increased

And The Waters Increased is the Final Major Project of my MA Photography at the University of Falmouth.

My work is informed by my concerns about the environment and I wanted to create something that encouraged people to talk about the climate crisis. The eminent climate scientist Dr Katherine Heyhoe, when asked what people could do about the crisis, her was response was “talk about it”. This may seem a flippant response from a scientist but on consideration, it makes a lot of sense.

The idea of a climate emergency has been in the public domain since around 1992. Lofty pledges were made at the Rio Earth Summit and at many similar gatherings since. But despite all this rhetoric, carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase, sea levels continue to rise and biodiversity continues to diminish.

We know what the solutions to the climate crisis are: reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regenerate the land and restore forest to enable carbon drawdown, set aside areas for nature to recover. Yet very little changes.

Heyhoe understands why this is. The forces destroying the earth are greater than those trying to save it. The destructive forces are big businesses who see short-term profit as more important than long-term sustainability. Minimising waste, preventing pollution, treating workers fairly and developing sustainable business models are seen as a brake on profits, so these businesses engage in relentless advertising to promote the desirability of their products and spend heavily on public relations to cover up their egregious practices. Most prominent in this field are the fossil fuel companies whose whole business model is built on extracting and selling a polluting product. These companies are few, but they have enormous financial power to buy influence at all levels of society. Everything from neutering politicians and regulators to making their products seem essential.

Aside from these businesses are people, pretty much all the people. When people agree with each other, come together and take action, great things happen. This is why Heyhoe asks us to talk about the climate crisis and make it an acceptable topic of conversation. Talk at dinner parties should be of what we doing to make ourselves greener, we should talk ourselves out of consumption, stop electing politicians who do nothing about the crisis and stop buying the products and bullshit of climate-damaging businesses.

Talking is how we come together, start agreeing, begin to take action and put life, not profit, first.

Stories are a great conversation starter, so in And The Waters Increased I have created four stories about the climate crisis. Please read, enjoy and interact with the pictures. Then talk about it!

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