I work as a photo editor and often find myself surrounded by images of climate disasters from all over the world. Bearing witness to climate disasters explicitly through photographs can take a toll on mental health.
In the last few months, countries around the world were impacted by extreme weather such as droughts and floods, exacerbated by climate change. The world witnessed the heartbreaking visuals of the floods in Pakistan. A third of the country submerged leaving millions of people homeless when Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the global greenhouse gases.
We also saw Bangalore, the IT capital of India, facing untimely incessant rains that have been labelled “unlike any rains before“. Combined with the city’s dearth of efficient planning, it has led to widespread damage and loss of lives, livelihoods and the economy.
Over 125,000 people have been displaced in recent flooding across 17 countries in west and central Africa. In Nigeria, 300 people died and more than 100,000 were displaced as the floods have been worsening in the region.
At the same time, we saw the worst ever drought in Europe with rivers and lakes drying up for the first time in history. The drought in Chile has been ongoing and made worse by their issues of water privatisation. More than half of the population is currently living in areas experiencing severe water scarcity, with droughts driven by climate change further compounding the problem.
Then came the typhoons, and hurricanes in the Philippines, China, South Korea, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
Photo-editing sessions have become more depressing and frustrating than ever, having to see the natural calamities unfold and innocent people suffer as fossil fuel companies are putting profit before people.
But with the increasing climate emergencies, we also see the youth marching on the streets. Such positive images of collective action and empowerment are a reminder that all is not lost. These marches are beacons of hope that the rising generation is not just going to give up their fight against climate change, and that they are going to force world governments and leadership to change and end fossil fuel dependence for good.