World

These photos show what sea level is really like now


Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR:

Norberto Hernandez and his wife Olga were exiled to Sukunguadup Island, where they were raised using coral. Panama’s Kuna Yala (San Blas) is a long, narrow strip of և 365 archipelago of islands, 36 of which are inhabited. Due to rising sea levels, the Kunas have been forced to evacuate to the mainland.

For most of the last decade Kadir van Lohuize He used photography to try to document the climate crisis, to study what it means for the future. The Dutch photojournalist has been documenting the effects of rising sea levels around the world since having a chance meeting in Panama during a reporting trip. Working closely with scientists and learning a great deal about both human migration and waves, van Lohuizen was able to visually prove what so many experts have been warning about for years. Our coastlines are endangered.

His work, which covers 11 countries, has been used in UN presentations, at the Paris Climate Summit, and has been converted into a series of television and book exhibitions. One currently on display at the New York City Museum, Rising wave, how the island city will affect future changes.

His book, Del after the flood, offers a comprehensive overview of the slow-moving climate change that occurs on each continent, and how it affects the people living there. Although some countries have proven adept at pursuing promising policies, including resettlement strategies, many refuse to consider sea level rise a regional issue. Van Lohuizen’s work clearly points to the intimate connection between the sea of ​​civilization and the viewer, challenging the viewer to think more critically about the future.

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR:

New York, from the swamps near the Hackensack River in New Ersey, New York, 2018

Did you know that this project would take so many lives?

I started it back in 2011-2012 as a short story. I watched modern migration in America, a year-long land journey from the tip of Chile to the tip of northern Alaska, looking at why people are migrating.

When I was interviewing people in the San Blas Islands of Panama, they told me: «“We are being evacuated because the sea level is rising.” I was a little confused because, you know, I talk to them from the bottom of the sea, like six feet below the sea level. This was 10 years ago և I knew sea level rise was a problem that was going to arise, but I did not realize it was a problem. I began to explore different parts of the world if there was an urgency elsewhere. The big challenge was how do you imagine something that is not yet visible?

So how do you do all this cool stuff and get people to understand you?

It was a lot of research, because I wanted to find areas where people could already realize it was a problem, like in the Pacific or Bangladesh. I really wanted to talk about this globally.

I actually thought I was closing the project back in 2015 because it seemed like I was starting to repeat myself. How many islands or dilapidated coastal areas can you show? It was a collaboration with the New York Times at first, then it became an exhibition that traveled, went to the Paris Climate Summit, and finally turned to me on Dutch public television. It allowed me to go back to some of the places I visited, երբեմն I sometimes found the same people.

I have worked a lot with scientists. I definitely had to adapt my methods very early in history, as you know, usually as a photographer you work with light. I quickly discovered that if I wanted to imagine I had to work with the tide. If you see that the waters of the atmospheric zone are already flooded, it is a little harder to imagine what it would mean if the sea were constantly rising three feet or six feet. That’s not much. And it does not matter if the sea level rises. The question is when?

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR:

The Kingdom Wave rises on Miami Beach, where water flows down the street over the poorly preserved sea wall of the Indian Creek, with a drainage system.

When do people decide to move?

You assume that the problem becomes really urgent when the water is always in your house, but it starts much earlier. If seawater floods the land, it does not retreat often, people can no longer grow crops because the soil is salty and drinking water is salty. That’s enough reason to move. Often it is not coordinated by the government, but the people who make this decision are themselves.

And where do people move? Do they go to cities? They go to other countries.

It depends on your location, right? If you are in a Pacific island nation like the Marshall Islands or Kiribati, there is nowhere else to go as it is no more than three or five feet above sea level. Not only do people not know where to move but they also do not know where to move.

If you have to relocate, in fact, you become a climate refugee, especially if you have to cross the border. And it’s not just internationally addressed, which is kind of crazy. If you are trying to get asylum somewhere for climatic reasons, there is a zero chance that it will be granted to you. This is usually considered a national or local issue. So Bangladesh has a problem and the Netherlands has a problem, but it is not solved internationally.

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR:

The Edge of Ice in Kangerlussuak, Greenland ալ Melted Water Rivers, July 2018

Sea level rise is part of the climate crisis, but obviously it is much broader. I do not know how much is being discussed in the United States, but many people are fleeing Central America because they have no water or can no longer grow crops, they are losing their land.

By the way, these people in these islands of Panama are still there. It was a government relocation plan, and that money suddenly disappeared. They are indigenous and do not have the highest authority in the Panamanian government. So it was interesting to see.

I noticed that from the beginning, when I was there, people told me that they were relocating, that they were reluctant to do so, which is obviously true. It is a very difficult message to anyone if you are told that you must leave the land of your ancestors. Give up your life, go to higher places where you have to learn to become a farmer, where you are always a fisherman. When I came back [later], it seemed very difficult. People were kind of worried about leaving because they thought it was going to be too dangerous.

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR:

Mother և his daughter in their former village of Baynpara in Bainladesh. Some houses remain, but most were swallowed by Cyclone Ali in 2009.

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR:

Children play on a beach with sandbags trying to cross the ocean in the village of Khotseli in the southern Tarawa province of Kiribati.

Over the years, you have worked hard on conflicts, migrations, these really complex social issues. Is it very different from covering the climate crisis?

I think they become the same. We know that one of the main causes of the Syrian conflict was the scarcity of water in the beginning. If you see what is happening in the Sahel և elsewhere, it is often related to the climate crisis. And then if Al Qaeda or ISIS or whoever enters, it kind of changes the story, but they are so often intertwined.

Did you see during this project that solutions or strategies were adopted where you thought, well, maybe we have passed this turning point, but maybe everything is not lost?

I hope I was able to give some kind of balanced view. Many ask me if it must have been very oppressive in Bangladesh, you know it really is not because people take decisions into their own hands. They have lived with water all their lives. They know what’s going on, they adapt. I have met many people who have already moved five or nine times. And then, if others are not stable where they are, they will move to big cities. There is stability.

There is nothing new about Sea level raising. The big difference is that it used to take hundreds, if not thousands, of years, but now it takes two generations. That makes it very different.

Before the Dutch were so well protected by slopes, people just built hills in the country to make sure their house was dry or they would move to another area. Especially in Western countries we have lost the ability to adapt. We think of a city like New York or Miami or Amsterdam that it should stay where it is. And it is clear that we are now dealing with a much larger population.

In the Netherlands, the Delta Commissioner asked one of the largest engineering companies to study the worst case scenario in 2018. And the worst-case scenario, in fact, is that nothing will be done – if we do not achieve a global warming in the Paris Agreement, sea levels in the Netherlands could rise by as much as three to nine feet. century

That is 80 years. If you were born today, this is something you will probably see. We can deal with three feet in the Netherlands, but we can not deal with six or nine feet. So there are many wild plans for what the Netherlands should do in self-defense, but it often seems that the most recent realistic plan is resettlement.

To imagine cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, could be abandoned is a very difficult concept.

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR:

Seagate, New York, near Coney Island, is very vulnerable to sea level rise.

I think it is also very problematic in New York. In fact, it was only from Hurricane Sandy that people even began to take sea level into account, to take it seriously, and to invest very slowly. Eight years have passed since Sandy, nine years later, there is almost nothing real about what happened physically.

Obviously, a lot can be done. The Dutch have proven that you can live in a country below sea level, but it was a huge investment, it was created centuries ago, which is still a very small country.

Most of the US East Coast is unprotected. Even worse, the people who live on the barrier islands. There is a lot of valuable real estate on the barrier island, but you should not live in a barrier, because the barrier is supposed to move, it is moved by storms, it protects the soil to create a buffer.

The time factor is a huge problem. Bangladesh is one of the few countries that has embarked on a huge master plan to protect its coastal areas called Delta Plan 2100. This is an interesting project because it is not only about building wells, protecting the land, but also looking at people who may have to relocate, if they have to relocate, you will have to provide them with new livelihoods. Very interesting:

I did not initially include the Netherlands in the project, as I was looking for regions or countries in the world where there was urgency, փողոց The streets of Amsterdam do not flood. In times of climate crisis, we always think that it will not be as bad as predicted, but there is no reason why this is true, because every scientific report that comes out actually paints a darker picture. :

I often ask myself, how is this possible? And the answer may be that we are in our comfort zone, right? We grew up with the fact that the economy is growing, that your children will probably have a better life than us. We have to make some sacrifices, which none of us likes. So, you know, take a step or two և compromise to make sure the next generations are still good, which is a very different concept for us.

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR:

Wierschuur, east of Terschelling in the Netherlands, is inaccessible due to floods in 2019.



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