Photographers' Blog

Living on climate change

Huaraz, Peru

By Mariana Bazo

Climate change now has a historic route in the Andean cordillera. The gradual melting of tropical glaciers (glaciers located within the tropical latitudes) in one town has led to a decline in tourism that has made villagers look for alternatives to continue attracting tourists.

Peru is a country of multiple ecosystems. To travel from the seaside capital of Lima to 5,000 meters (3,107 feet) above sea level requires just a few hours driving uphill. One of the most important cities in the altitude, Huaraz, is famous for its nearby snow-capped mountains and glaciers. Huaraz is also frequented by mountain climbers, many of whom aim to reach Huascaran, Peru’s tallest mountain and the highest point in the world’s tropics at 6,768 meters (22,205 feet) high.

Huaraz is separated from Lima by about 500 kms (310 miles) of road, but it is much more distant in customs and economic development. One of the biggest attractions near the city is the Pastoruri glacier, on top of which visitors used to hike and play in the snow and ice.

In recent years the glacier began noticeably disappearing, and the shrinking has become so severe that the community had to bar direct access to the ice mass, thinking that the tourist activity was also contributing to the glacier’s crisis. Apart from the impact on tourism, there is also a serious lack of water for farming that used to come from the glacier’s normal melting, and that has a big social impact.

Today there is a new path which tourists can take to approach the glacier, without touching it. The creators call it the Climate Change Route. At around 5,000 meters above sea level, you can clearly see and feel the change; below the layers of ice there is brown and black rock which appears to be growing in relation to the glacier.

A global view of Earth Hour

The world turned off its lights on March 26 for an hour from 8.30 p.m. local time as a show of support for tougher action to confront climate change.

A global celebration of Earth Hour 2011 from Nicky Loh on Vimeo.

I was given the assignment to not only photograph the event from Taipei, Taiwan, but to produce a multimedia video that showcased the world’s landmarks without lights as part of the fifth annual Earth Hour.

The Taipei 101 building is seen before Earth Hour in Taipei March 26, 2011.  REUTERS/Nicky Loh

The Taipei 101 building is seen during Earth Hour in Taipei March 26, 2011. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

The Reuters online team in Toronto and I had decided to produce a video to illustrate the event with pictures by our photographers around the world. The idea was to fade before pictures with the lights turned on into the exact same image without the lights on.

Earth Hour: The world unplugged

CLIMATE-EARTHHOUR/
A combination picture shows Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate before (top) and during Earth Hour March 27, 2010. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Reuters’ photographers around the world were out in full force on Saturday to capture their city’s landmarks as the lights went out for Earth Hour.

From Beijing to Berlin, before and after photographs were taken and combined into this short video to illustrate the symbolic one-hour switch-off.

On top of the world with a sinking heart

NEPAL

Nepal’s cabinet meets at the Gorakshep base camp region of Mount Everest December 4, 2009. The cabinet began a meeting close to the base camp to send a message on the impact of global warming on the Himalayas, days before global climate talks start in Copenhagen. REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar

Covering a Nepalese cabinet meeting at 17,000 ft was an exciting assignment, but challenging as well. Mountaineering teams, expeditions and trekkers normally take 10 days to reach that height to avoid altitude sickness. I was given just two days to achieve it, carrying oxygen bottles along with appropriate shoes and warm clothes!

From Kathmandu I flew in a small twin otter aircraft to Lukla,  gateway to Mt. Everest, the landing a challenge for even experienced pilots as it’s a tiny airstrip. After a night in Lukla, it was a short helicopter ride the next day to Shyamgboche, situated at some 14,000 ft. A night at a luxurious hilltop tourist hotel there provided the chance to shoot some beautiful moonlit pictures of the Everest region.

Close quarters with a cannibal

Iain Williams is a freelance Wildlife and Nature Photographer based out of Hobart, Australia.  His exclusive photos of a polar bear eating a cub were published as a slideshow on www.reuters.com. Below, Iain recounts how he came to take the photographs. The opinions expressed are his own.

Michael Perry, our chief correspondent in Australia, added a caption that referenced a vast global study in 2008. That study, published here, said that human-generated climate  change had  turned some polar bears into cannibals

CANADA/

A male polar bear carries the head of a polar bear cub it killed and cannibalized in an area about 300 km (186 miles) north of the Canadian town of Churchill November 20, 2009.

Exclusive photos: Polar bear turns cannibal

(Updated at 9.30 ET on Dec 9, 2009)

Some pictures need little introduction. They stop you in your tracks. These are exclusive pictures to Reuters of a Canadian polar bear eating a cub that it killed and cannibalized.

A global study released in 2008 suggests that climate change has turned some polar bears into cannibals. However, a local Inuit leader told journalists that a male polar bear eating a cub is a normal occurrence.

CANADA/

CANADA/

Green Down Under

Distance is a bit of an issue in Australia and every year we shoot a number of drought-related features that require us to drive 8, 10 or even 12 hours inland. Out there is where it’s really dry, where some farms haven’t seen rain for five years.
 
Climate change is a big issue in our patch of the planet, which covers Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent, and some South Pacific nations that are at risk of vanishing because of rising sea levels. Droughts are getting longer and the cyclones that form in the Indian and Pacific Oceans each year keep getting bigger. Reporting on these subjects makes us ever more aware of the damaging effects humans can have on the environment.

DRY 1
 
So we got to thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice to convert our workplace to a warm, fuzzy, green operation and help save the globe? If only we had the money for that…
 
Well, it’s 2008 and things have changed. Reuters Pictures Down Under has charged head first into the Green Era, working hard to save the planet and harder to save money!
 
Of course, we did all the usual things like using less paper, not printing emails unless absolutely necessary and increasing our reliance on digital communication because it means less paper, less ink and less time. The office has also removed nearly all rubbish bins, replacing them with a range of recycling boxes for paper, plastic and so on. Reuters also removed the need for bottled water (which accounts for thousands of tons of plastic and greenhouse gases from transportation, production, etc) by installing chilled water filter outlets in the kitchen.

Hybrid
 
However, our biggest change so far has been road transport. In November one of our car leases came due. We dumped our 6 cylinder gas guzzler for a neat hybrid, which by the way has more cargo space than the previous road warrior. It’s pretty zippy, feels like driving a spaceship and since we took delivery in mid November have used a little over 6 tanks of fuel…
 
It’s warm, it’s fuzzy, but it also makes economic sense. Our annual lease is A$1,000/year less than the larger car and our fuel saving is expected to be around A$1,600/year. Oh, and as a sweetener, pretty much the whole of the first year’s fuel is covered by the manufacturer’s gift of $1000 of worth of free petrol. We have two pix cars in Sydney so as the price of fuel keeps heading up we expect to be saving about A$5,500 a year on cars alone. Think of the extra feature jobs you can do with a saving like that!
 
Get out there. Go Green. Save dough and save the planet!

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