On the occasion of the global celebration of Earth Day on Wednesday 22nd of April, photography app Agora reveals the 50 finalists from its latest photo contest, #ClimateChange2020 to shed a light on the damages of the climate emergency on our planet that causes devastating disruptions for the fauna, flora, ecosystems, and humans.
Each #ClimateChange2020 finalist picture is a cry of pain from Mother Nature. The photographers' points of view remind us that each one of us is responsible for what happens on planet Earth, our forever home.
Octavi Royo, Agora's Co-founder and CEO
Discover the 50 finalists below:
Polar bear in an iceless land' by @uglefisk (Norway)
Location: Svalbard, Norway
The spot where the polar bear is sleeping used to be a glacier. The ice has now disappeared completely, leaving the rocks uncovered.
'2 farmer-ladies grapple with the effect of drought on their farmlands' by @teochinleong78 (Singapore)
Climate change has resulted in more severe and volatile weather globally. This has led to more intense droughts, which in turn affects countries dependent on agriculture. This photo is meant to convey farmers' sense of helplessness and mutual solidarity when droughts hit their farmlands. Through this photo, I hope there can be more political commitment by more governments to slow climate change.
'Righty' by @reiko.t (Japan)
Location: Ishigaki Island, Japan
I was lucky to catch this one-flipper green turtle enjoying its jellyfish breakfast. Green turtles used to be hunted for ornaments, they are now are listed as a threatened species. The plastic trash and fishing nets are a threat to their survival, as they frequently get caught in it.
'Bau Ca Cai mangroves' by @alexcao (Vietnam)
Location: Quang Ngai province, Vietnam
Impoverished coastal communities in Vietnam are impacted by frequent flooding and storms. Through the Green Climate Fund and United Nations Development Program in Quang Ngai, more than 4,000 hectares of mangroves will be planted and rehabilitated, creating sustainable ecosystem resources to support coastal livelihoods.
'Briksdal glacier' by @zwemarntun (Norway)
Location: Briksdalbreen, Norway
My brother-in-law had to go through the cold water to get on the rock he's standing on. I went back there during the summer, one year after taking this picture. I couldn't believe how melted the glacier was.
'Solar power' by @hoacarol (Vietnam)
Location: Tp. Pleiku, Vietnam
'Looking for the right way' by @superiaia (Italy)
Location: Viareggio Carnival Festival, Italy
The photo shows one of the huge allegorical floats made of papier-mache, which competed this year during the carnival in Viareggio. Actually my favorite one! That's also the one who finally won the contest, ranking first in the main category. I was there with some friends and we sneaked into an apartment building, up to the second floor, from which we were able to attend the parade. None of us knew the hosts, but they were really hospitable. It was really impressive to see such big animated papier mache carnival carts! Some of them were even higher than the balcony in which we stood. Along the way, a crowd of thousands of masked people attended the parade. I like this picture cause it encloses the allegory of the crowd who helplessly witnesses the Earth heading towards the point of no return. Fortunately, few little heroes like Greta Thunberg, our Dorothy, are following the brain, the courage and the heart, just like new scarecrows, lions and tin men, on this journey towards a new awareness.
'Help me, I'm trapped' by @yogayogreat (Indonesia)
Location: Wonosobo, Central Java, Indonesia
I was walking by the river when I saw a fish pond full of plastic debris, where a little fish had been trapped inside a plastic bag. I took a few shots with my underwater camera before releasing the fish in the river. The chemical structure of most plastics renders them resistant to many natural processes of degradation and as a result, they are slow to degrade.
'Deforestation' by @thaibana.vn (Vietnam)
Location: Kon Tum, Việt Nam
This picture is my small contribution to raise awareness about the starving people who are eating away the forests day by day... The generations who follow will suffer from natural disasters. This is what climate change looks like.
'Endangered Glacier' by @syode (France)
Location: Mont-Blanc glacier, France
Because of global warming, the Mont-Blanc glacier is melting more and more, losing several meters of thickness every year.
'Black smoke' by @momin21a (Bangladesh)
Location: Narayanganj, Bangladesh
Brick kilns are polluting the environment, pouring harmful black smoke into Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The authorities are unable to efficiently prevent the kilns from emitting black smoke and violating other environmental rules. Despite the existing environmental laws, many of the 11,100 brick plants across the country are still operating with unconventional methods. In 2019, Dhaka has been ranked the worst in the world by the Air Quality Index (AQI).
'The melting Jökulsárlón glacier' by @michaelfoote (UK)
Location: Jökulsárlón, Iceland
This aerial perspective captures the colossal floating bergs of Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull, that constantly break off and drift into the North Atlantic as a result of the ever-warming climate. Never would you imagine such a contrasting scene would belong in amongst such a landscape, and yet, here it was! Miles and miles of glistening white walls of ice stretching back as far as the eye can see. It wasn't until I decided to take to the skies, sending my drone up to escape the rushing crowds of tourists all around us, that I really appreciated the full scale and weight of what I was actually witnessing. This was not just some other tourist attraction to view through the screen of your phone and take for granted. This was climate change, in its purest and rawest form. For our entire lives, we have been warned of melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and warming climates yet how many of us have ever actually experienced this with their own eyes. The higher I flew, the more this sunk in as the icebergs slowly disappeared from view, engulfed by the growing expanse of meltwater that now takes the place of the retreating glacier. At 250 meters, it is Iceland's deepest lake. The icebergs in Jökulsárlón are composed of ice that is over 1,000 years old. The lagoon has increased fourfold in size since the early 1970s.
'Dust caused by desertification' by @fatemebiglary (Iran)
Location: Kermanshah, Iran
'Plastic bag on a coral colony' by @ashwaag2233 (Maldives)
The Maldives are renowned for the pristine marine environment and abundance of wildlife, but also for its vulnerability to plastic pollution, coral bleaching and climate change.
'Summer storms are the new normal these days due to climate change' by @bachir01 (USA)
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
I was extremely lucky to be at the right time in the right place when this supercell storm suddenly formed. The rotation of the storm and the way it was totally lit at sunset was breathtaking. Luckily, the storm did not touch down and no one got hurt. Over the past few years, California has experienced severe droughts, intense wildfires and storms, all due to climate change. It was a challenge for me to photograph it using the long exposure while holding down the tripod due to high wind but it was all worth the effort to capture a rare moment. Mother nature is always unpredictable.
'Stair of drying River' by @photosajid (Bangladesh)
Location: Kushtia Haripur Bridge, Bangladesh
Climate change is causing many disasters around the world. Millions of people are living on the banks of the Gorai river, which is becoming drier and drier by year, threatening to eliminate all wildlife.
'Climate change in Svalbard' by @thibaultdullin (France)
Location: Svalbard, Norway
'A crowd of demonstrators protesting the government’s inaction with regard to climate change' by @josephrrouse (USA)
Location: Denver, United States
'Sun power' by @wunderbuilder (Germany)
Location: Hof, Bavaria, Germany
I had to climb on top of straw bales to take this shot! I really liked the mood: the solar system blends harmoniously into the landscape, and the sunrise light reflection made this moment very special.
'Effect of climate change in Bangladesh' by @kazijewel (Bangladesh)
Location: Chittagong, Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable continental countries to climate change. The consequences of this global crisis are disastrous for the country: tropical cyclones, river erosion, floods, landslides, and severe droughts. Having a clear picture of future risks is essential to spur action on a scale that matches the problem. Bangladesh already has a hot climate, with summer temperatures that can hit 45°C. Heat waves will break new records in a 4°C hotter world, with 7 out of 10 summers being abnormally hot. Northern Bangladesh will shift to a new climatic regime, with temperatures above any levels seen during the past 100 years.
'Cloudy Day?' by @jackyy_wch (Hong Kong)
Location: Hong Kong
'Ice and fire' by @globetrottingtimo (Germany)
The main subject is a huge iceberg that has broken off from the surrounding Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, part of larger Vatnajökull Glacier. Next to the Iceberg, you can spot a couple of Kyaks for scale. I wanted to show the size of the Icebergs that break off every day due to climate change.
'Save the planet, we've created our own disaster' by @eriyulianto (Indonesia)
Location: Bojonegoro, Indonesia
Every day, this dump worker has to climb mountains of waste to collect plastic from among domestic waste. On a good day, she can collect up to 50kg of plastic which she'll sell for $3. Indonesia is home to some of the world's largest dumps
'Is this our future?' by @leemumford8 (UK)
Is this our future? As the Earth continues to heat up, this could be a common sight?
'Melting' by @pherrography (Italy)
Location: San Bernardino, Switzerland
We stopped on the side of the road because our car broke down. In order to kill time before the tow truck arrives, I flew my drone around the lake for 10 minutes and captured this scene, which made me think of Earth's melting poles.
'Mighty Irrawaddy river' by @minzaw (Myanmar)
Location: Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
During winter, the fisherman throws his fishing nets in the shallow waters surrounding the sandbanks of the mighty Irrawaddy River.
'Arid land' by @tuan1368 (Vietnam)
Location: Bao Loc, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam
The monk was praying for the rain to come and revitalize this arid land.
'Wind turbines' by @a.rosenthal (Germany)
Location: Erkelenz, Germany
Wind turbines convert the energy of the wind into electrical energy. They are a way to tackle climate change. This topic is very important to me and I would like to draw attention to it with my photo. Like so many people, I am worried about our climate and it scares me what will happen if we continue to deal with our earth. I sincerely hope that systems such as wind turbines will continue to spread and expand.
'Waste boat garbage' by @sultan_ahmed007 (Bangladesh)
Location: Old Dhaka, Bangladesh
These ships are waiting to get repaired before heading back to the river. In the mid-90s, this area got heavily industrialized because of waste management and raw material factories. The river became drier and drier, with high levels of contamination. Day by day, the available drinking water levels in Bangladesh are decreasing.
'Plant' by @murvel48 (Sweden)
Location: Jönköping, Sweden
This paper plant was once located on the outskirts of Jönköping. Now that the city has expanded, the factory is located in the middle of it, polluting the air and affecting the global climate. The citizens' efforts to get the plant moved have been unsuccessful so far. I took this sunset photo on a semi-cloudy evening. I wanted to create a dystopic mood with the threat of climate change.
'Climbing disappearing glaciers in Iceland - shot from the mountains pouring the glacier' by @vasadivisuals (UK)
'The first rains of the year' by @joao.galamba (Portugal)
Location: Dili, Timor-Leste,
We can see the muddy river on the left side of the photo, and the ocean on the right side. Though the division line is still clear, some river sediments started already to mix with the ocean water. The first rains of the year have recently joined the Comoro River taking with them all sorts of trash, dirt, and debris. The trash coming with the river is an enemy to the corals and other marine life forms that live on the Timorese coast. Though Timor-Leste's waters are still part of the Coral Triangle, Timor is still an (almost) tourist-free country. This won't last long if people realize that Timorese waters have the most biodiverse waters anywhere in the world (surpassing the previous record of Papua New Guinea).
'Save the world' by @rozelkazi (Bangladesh)
'Condensation trails' by @pollyscholl (Germany)
Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Lately, you don't see so many planes in the sky anymore. The coronavirus crisis has changed the world and it seems like nature is getting a well-deserved break. However, a crisis of this amplitude won't make the climate change disappear. We need to be aware of Earth as a whole and look outside our comfort zone.
'Brick kilns' by @azimronnie (Bangladesh)
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Here's the breathtaking scale of Bangladesh's brick-making industry, which represents one million workers who, every year, churn out ten billions of bricks in the 7,000 kilns of Dhaka. Brick kilns are the top air polluter in our country, particularly during the dry season when most bricks are made, turning the air quality of this metropolis “severely unhealthy”.
'Recycling' by @trungbui (Vietnam)
Location: Hoa Binh Village, Quang Ngai, Vietnam
When looking at the picture, anyone will immediately recognize that it is the image of a working person. But the difference is that he's working not only to make a living but also to protect the environment by reusing waste and creating useful products. I was deeply moved when I saw the sweat rolling down his cheeks, to me he looked like a hero fighting against climate change. This job may be considered trivial, but is very noble in Vietnam.
'King River' by @simonpastor (France)
Location: King River, Western Australia
Combating desertification and drylands development is one of the biggest challenges we have to face in the climate change crisis.
'Namib Desert' by @marcotagliarino (Italy)
Location: Namib Desert, Namibia
In order to take this photo, I had to climb a dune of 150 meters high! I wanted to show the end of the cycle of life in a desertified area. Only the beautiful colors of the surroundings make this photo a little bit less sad.
'Water scarcity' by @renebernal (Philippines)
Location: Paranaque, Philippines
Because of climate change, this poor urban area has experienced serious water scarcity and severe droughts in the past few years. Innocent children are more vulnerable in these extreme conditions.
'Boundary' by @tuantvt (Vietnam)
Location: H. Yên Dũng, Việt Nam
The drought caused many forest fires: thousands of hectares just burnt down.
'Abandoned' by @leowillgo (Venezuela)
Location: Badalona, Spain
I think is impressive how this abandoned factory can catch your attention rising up in the skyline of Barcelona.
'Land of Death' by @sagorphotos (Bangladesh)
Location: Rajshahi, Bangladesh
This Black Kite sitting on a cow skull is a symbol of the climate change crisis in Bangladesh. With the increasing desertification in the northern regions, the rivers and other water sources have completely dried up. Hundreds of animals die due to the lack of water and end up being eaten by vultures.
'The land of fire and ice' by @joncleave (UK)
It's not often you see get to capture two polarising worlds and extremes come together in a single moment, but if we don't act now, there'll only be fire – leaving views like this to be a thing of the past.
'Low tide in Bretagne' by @kkoresh (Russia)
Location: Côtes-d'Armor, France
'A big change in nature' by @asimijaz (Pakistan)
Location: Gujrat, Pakistan
I was brought up here. My house was surrounded by huge, beautiful fields where I spent my childhood observing the flourishing fauna and flora. A few years ago, they dug the ground and took all the trees down to build a brick factory. The scent of fresh nature has now disappeared; all I can smell is the burning bricks and black smoke. Since then, the land was declared unfit for cultivation. The beauty has been turned into ugliness. It seems like I've lost my childhood and its beautiful memories.
'Impact of the dry season' by @cymot (Indonesia)
Location: Karanganyar, Indonesia
When the weather gets very hot and dry, the large garbage disposal areas burn due to the methane gas stocked underneath.
'Stop polluting our air' by @creative_kayes (Bangladesh)
Location: Rajshahi, Bangladesh
As an enthusiastic wildlife photographer, I've been observing these rare birds (the Glossy Ibises) since 2016. They used to visit the swamps of Rajshahi every year, from December to March. They came to Bangladesh to spend the winter and eat the snails and plants submerged under the freezing water. From 2016 to 2019, a dozen brick farms have been constructed around the swamps. They've burnt down the vegetation to make more space for the brick farms. Eventually, pollution started to damage the air, the water, and the soil, but also the sound levels of the area that was usually so quiet. I decided to focus on photographing these rare birds to grow awareness and protect the wildlife in the swamps. A week after I took this picture, the glossy Ibises had disappeared. They didn't come back this year. I hope that one day these birds will return. This particular picture holds a special place in my heart. It shows that not all animals can cope with pollution: if the climate changes, they will go away.
'One of the trees was meant to this earth' by @adingkuswara (Indonesia)
Location: Praya, Indonesia
'We have created a false illusion of separation from Nature' by @fernandoflorit (Spain)
Location: Barcelona, Spain
We, humans, have created the false illusion that we do not depend on nature, that we can exploit its resources in an unlimited way and that we can live and survive by turning our backs on it and exploiting it indiscriminately. The current situation we are experiencing is an example that there is no force greater than nature and that we must respect all living beings on the planet and coexist in a respectful manner with them.
'Historic floods' by @trantuanviet (Vietnam)
Location: Nam Phuong Tien, Hanoi, Vietnam
A road flooded in Nam Phuong Tien, a commune near Hanoi, Vietnam. This was taken in the middle of the historic flood in 2018, which isolated this commune for more than three weeks. You can see that people are having a swim: although in a difficult opportunity, they've still found a way to have a bit of fun.
PR & Content Manager at Agora