The Everyday of Climate Change: A Series Introduction
This Earth Day I’m launching a series on the small environmental changes that surround my life. Over the past 20 years I’ve traveled far distances to see the effects of climate change and have seen my share of the catastrophic destruction that it’s caused. Recently, however, I’ve begun witnessing small incremental changes when I least expected to find them and introduce this series as a kind of visual literacy project so that these small changes can be better understood by all who visit this page. During a series of recent travels I began to notice a pattern: wherever I went climate events were affecting my trips in subtle ways. While traveling in Japan, or in in my local park and on a trip to Washington DC, the everydayness climate change transformed my experiences.
From left: Prospect Park, Kyoto, Japan, Washington, DC
One morning last October after a drenching evening rain I woke early to take a walk through Prospect Park to see the changing leaves. The park was beautiful as I had hoped full of crimson, orange and bright yellow leaves. A much anticipated autumnal landscape. But the landscape was also changed as it had never been seen before: much of the central lawn, the dog run, was under water, the result of month-long drenching rains that left the soil saturated and unable to absorb any more moisture. I didn’t hear anyone really talking about the water in terms of the changing climate and I assumed that for those taking in the leaves and playing with their dogs regarded the water was just a passing event, but to me it was an example of how climate change is slowly transforming our landscapes in the most subtle of ways.
Since my visit to the park I’ve seen America’s cultural heritage slowly being submerged in Washington, DC and before that, in Kyoto, Japan entire mountainsides shorn off, its precious evergreens strewn down like matchsticks next to temples that have existed for thousands of years.
The rule for this series is that I am not actively seeking to document these events. (As opposed to my other climate work which is sought out.) No prior research is done to take these photographs, nor any travel initiated to bring me to these locations. These photos will be taken as I walk to see the autumn leaves, the blooms of spring or to visit sites that I’ve always wanted to see. Owing to the sporadic nature of these experiences this series will be posted as they occur, with the first today, followed by two others in the next couple of days.
For today’s post please visit the Kyoto page.
Note: This series was inspired by my work for the Instagram feed Everyday Climate Change as this truly is the most everyday of climate experiences.