Earlier today, we heard that Greenpeace-commissioned photographer Lu Guang has received 3rd place for “spot news stories” at the prestigious World Press Photo for his portrayal of last July’s Dalian oil spill in northeastern China. While we are in many ways delighted – as far as we can tell, this is the first time in the competition’s history that an award for spot news (breaking, or unexpected news) was given to a non-governmental organisation – we are also deeply saddened by what those photos portray.
The harrowing death of Zhang Liang, a 25-year-old fire fighter who was working to clear a pump during the clean up the Dalian oil spill, is the worst possible reminder of the devastating costs of oil addiction. Thanks to this award, these photos will continue on travelling and remind people everywhere that more than ever, it is time to go beyond oil.
Lu Guang’s photographs are an example of what bearing witness, one of Greenpeace’s core values, is all about. They prove how important it is to show the true cost of environmental destruction; if we know what's happening, then we can change it.