Images of snow and ice have long captivated photographers. When melting, this, too, has a surreal, abstract beauty. In this film, National Geographic photographer Carsten Peter captures not only the striking imagery of remnants of ancient glaciers, but also the alarming changes — caused by global warming — they are undergoing.
Through her large-scale graphite drawings, Zoe Keller creates intricately detailed tableaus of nature, weaving complex and arresting visual narratives about species and wild places that are at risk. Guided by the traditions of scientific illustration, she aims to convey both the miracles and threats that exist in the natural world. “I hope that it makes people think about the way that everything is connected ... and why it’s important to protect every little piece, because it’s all so tightly bound,” she says.
Billowing clouds darken the horizon and hail pelts the windshield as Australian photographer Nick Moir speeds through the American Midwest’s Tornado Alley. The impending storm builds to a crescendo as sirens wail and lightning illuminates the prairie. Most flee from the path of destruction, but Moir runs toward the monstrous beauty of a funnel cloud — offering a glimpse into what fuels storm chasers.
Montana musician Jessica Kilroy explores Indian Creek with her recorder and headphones, capturing natural sounds to incorporate into her songs. Utah’s red rock desert may be known for its peace and quiet, but if one listens closely, it comes to life with the sounds of birdsong, crickets chirping and coyotes howling. Kilroy strives to bring the intimate soundscape of this place, which is threatened by oil and gas development, to listeners before it is lost forever.
Normally when we think of refugees, we think of people who have lost their homeland by being forced to leave it. In the case of Vy Phalla, a Cambodian woman who lives by harvesting the aquatic life of her native mangrove forests, it is her land that has been forced away — literally. Singapore, to support its rapid land extension program, imports vast quantities of sand from Cambodia. Gone the sand, gone, too, the crabs and snails, shrimp and clams that Vy and her family depend on for their livelihood. And, gone the culture that she loves.
Southeastern Utah’s canyons are the ancestral home of several Native American tribes. So when the Trump administration slashed the area protected by the designation of Bears Ears National Monument, it wasn’t just a blow to public lands — it was an affront to the tribes’ sacred history. In March 2018, runners from the Hopi, Navajo, Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes ran relay-style on four routes that eventually converged near the rock spine of Comb Ridge. The run was not only a show of support for Bears Ears, but a way to reconnect to the land and heal their relationships with each other.
Women in Fire
The physical challenges and risks associated with certain jobs have, historically, skewed them almost exclusively toward men. Example A: firefighting. As this short film ably shows, however, there is nothing about the job that women can’t handle. And no reason to keep it off little girls’ “when-I-grow-up” wish lists.
Welcome to Gwichyaa Zhee
Just as the Trump Administration drastically reduced the size of the Bears Ears National Monument, the Administration is now working to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. “From growing up with energy development all around me on the Navajo nation, I knew exactly what the impacts would be,” says director and film subject Len Necefer. “I couldn’t watch this happen to another Native community without trying to do something.” Solidarity among Native American tribes is a matter of survival.
On a Wing and a Prayer
Louisiana’s wetlands are disappearing. Perhaps no one who knows that better than Ben Dapp, a photographer who’s completed hundreds of aerial flights in a hand-built flier over the coast documenting the loss of what he calls an “infinitely complex system” of barrier islands, swamps and bayous. The more he studies it, the more he understands its immeasurable worth. “There is so much value in this ecosystem. Hopefully I’m able to capture a little bit of that in my photographs and kind of make people think about this place a little more.