© 2022 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Meet 5 women documenting the effects of climate change around the world

Baarud, a 5-month-old camel, playfully pulls at Aadar Mohamed's hijab in the village of Hiijinle, outside of Lughaya in northwest Somaliland on Dec. 10, 2019.
Nichole Sobecki
Baarud, a 5-month-old camel, playfully pulls at Aadar Mohamed's hijab in the village of Hiijinle, outside of Lughaya in northwest Somaliland on Dec. 10, 2019.

Editor's note: In honor of Women's History Month, NPR's Picture Show is taking a look at five women photographers and their photographs that highlight climate change.

Nichole Sobecki

"Today, the greatest driving force in my work is humanity's fraught, intimate and ultimately unbreakable connection to the natural world," photographer Nichole Sobecki tells NPR. She says that, too often, coverage of climate change is politicized or it's portrayed as something happening to the planet, polar bears or glaciers — neglecting that we're all a part of the same ecosphere. We don't exist apart from our environment, nor will we survive its destruction, Sobecki says, and she believes that storytelling has a role to play in cultivating the new ideas that are necessary to building a more sustainable future for the human race on Earth.

A camel touches noses with her 10-day-old infant beside Nimao Jaama and her family's goats in the Hiijinle village outside Lughaya in northwest Somaliland on Dec. 11, 2019.
/ Nichole Sobecki
/
Nichole Sobecki
A camel touches noses with her 10-day-old infant beside Nimao Jaama and her family's goats in the Hiijinle village outside Lughaya in northwest Somaliland on Dec. 11, 2019.

'A Climate for Conflict' is a project Nichole Sobecki undertook with her reporting partner, Laura Heaton, that explores the relationship between the environment and security in Somalia, one of the countries that's been hardest hit by climate change. Sobecki says she feels a sense of responsibility to highlight one of the places that has contributed the least to global carbon dioxide emissions, and yet its environment is among the most severely impacted, in irreversible ways.

A swarm of locusts fly across the Burao Airport's Camp for Internally Displaced People outside Burao, Somaliland, on Dec. 15, 2019.
/ Nichole Sobecki
/
Nichole Sobecki
A swarm of locusts fly across the Burao Airport's Camp for Internally Displaced People outside Burao, Somaliland, on Dec. 15, 2019.

After years of covering conflicts and terrorism in the Middle East and Africa, Sobecki began to worry that she was focusing on the most dramatic — but perhaps least vital — element of these clashes. The contact — but not the connection. What was happening below the surface of these crises, and how would those currents shape the future?

Matilde Gattoni

A passenger boat crosses a lagoon near Cotonou, Benin, on Feb. 23, 2016. Sea levels along the West African coast are expected to rise faster than the global average.
/ Matilde Gattoni
/
Matilde Gattoni
A passenger boat crosses a lagoon near Cotonou, Benin, on Feb. 23, 2016. Sea levels along the West African coast are expected to rise faster than the global average.

Matilde Gattoni has worked extensively in the Middle East, South and Central Asia and Africa, covering droughts, refugee crises, illegal mining operations, mass migrations, large-scale land grabs and climate change for more than 100 newspapers and magazines around the world.

Two schoolgirls stand on the ruins of their school on Feb. 12, 2016, in Dzita, Ghana. One of the Dzita EP Basic School's four compounds was destroyed by coastal erosion during the region's rainy season.
/ Matilde Gattoni
/
Matilde Gattoni
Two schoolgirls stand on the ruins of their school on Feb. 12, 2016, in Dzita, Ghana. One of the Dzita EP Basic School's four compounds was destroyed by coastal erosion during the region's rainy season.

Matilde's project titled "Ocean Rage," was shot along the coastlines of Ghana, Togo and Benin and documents the devastating natural and social effects that climate change is having on the coastal communities across West Africa.

Children from Blekusu, Ghana, learn traditional fishing techniques on Feb. 12, 2016.
/ Matilde Gattoni
/
Matilde Gattoni
Children from Blekusu, Ghana, learn traditional fishing techniques on Feb. 12, 2016.

Esther Horvath

Sandra Graßl, an observatory engineer at the AWIPEV Atmospheric Observatory in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, poses for a portrait on March 26, 2021.
/ Esther Horvath
/
Esther Horvath
Sandra Graßl, an observatory engineer at the AWIPEV Atmospheric Observatory in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, poses for a portrait on March 26, 2021.

Esther Horvath has dedicated her photography to the globe's polar regions. Horvath hopes to help make a difference in how people understand what is actually occurring near the poles and, in collaboration with scientists, to help raise the public's awareness regarding these fragile environments.

Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, seen here on March 26, 2021, is the northernmost community of the world and home to research stations belonging to 10 countries and multiple science groups that are working to better understand the changing polar regions.
/ Esther Horvath
/
Esther Horvath
Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, seen here on March 26, 2021, is the northernmost community of the world and home to research stations belonging to 10 countries and multiple science groups that are working to better understand the changing polar regions.

"Women of Arctic Science" is an ongoing series of portraits of women in expeditions to Ny-Ålesund, the northernmost scientific community in the world on Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between Norway and the North Pole.

No roads reach Ny-Ålesund, seen here on March 26, 2021. It's a community on Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between Norway and the North Pole, and can only be reached by plane or boat.
/ Esther Horvath
/
Esther Horvath
No roads reach Ny-Ålesund, seen here on March 26, 2021. It's a community on Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between Norway and the North Pole, and can only be reached by plane or boat.

Yadira Hernández-Picó

After Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, Glenda Bonilla, 27, tries to hold back tears as she surveys the damage to her home, where she — as well as her two daughters — were born, in Maricao.
/ Yadira Hernández-Picó
/
Yadira Hernández-Picó
After Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, Glenda Bonilla, 27, tries to hold back tears as she surveys the damage to her home, where she — as well as her two daughters — were born, in Maricao.

'Volver a casa' [Returning Home] is an intimate chronicle of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017 from an insider's point of view. Yadira Hernández-Picó kept reporting on the unprecedented catastrophe caused by the storm while helping others and seeing to her own damages and losses, as her own mother's home in Maricao, Puerto Rico — the house where Hernández-Picó grew up in and where her mother lived for more than 40 years — was completely destroyed.

'Volver a casa' highlights how underrepresented communities, in particular, are disproportionately affected due to the increased exposure and vulnerability that comes with changes in extreme weather and climate events.

Yolanda Picó, 75, stands with her pets on what used to be the porch of her home of the last 40 years — destroyed by Hurricane Maria on the morning of Sept. 20, 2017, in Maricao, Puerto Rico.
/ Yadira Hernández-Picó
/
Yadira Hernández-Picó
Yolanda Picó, 75, stands with her pets on what used to be the porch of her home of the last 40 years — destroyed by Hurricane Maria on the morning of Sept. 20, 2017, in Maricao, Puerto Rico.

Glenda Bonilla, a resident of Maricao, told Hernández-Picó, "I was born in this house. I grew up here. I got married here. My two daughters were also born here." Her story speaks to the global and urgent nature of climate change, Hernández-Picó said.

In 'Volver a casa', Yadira Hernández-Picó also returns home. The image above is her childhood home, her mother's home, which was completely destroyed in the storm. "As we were doing our best to recover as many possessions as was feasible under layers of debris, my mother told me, crying, 'Perdí mi lugar en el mundo' [I lost my place in the world].

"This project certainly changed me."

Mette Lampcov

Mike stands in what used to be the doorway of his and his wife Cathy's home, which was destroyed by California's Woosley fire, in December 2018.
/ Mette Lampcov
/
Mette Lampcov
Mike stands in what used to be the doorway of his and his wife Cathy's home, which was destroyed by California's Woosley fire, in December 2018.

Mette Lampcov's work focuses on how climate change is affecting people and the environment around them in California. Her work focuses on water issues in California — drought, wildfire, loss of biodiversity and tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada forests. She is interested in showing the domino effects of rising temperatures from man-made climate change and its wide-reaching implications on us and our environment.

Mette Lampcov is a Los Angeles based documentry photographer. Her work focuses on how climate change is effecting people and the environment around them in California.

She has documented and worked on water issues in California, drought, wildfire, loss of biodiversity and tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada forests. She is interested in showing the domino effects of rising temperatures from man made climate change and it's wide reaching implications on us and our environment.

Latigo Canyon in Malibu, California, 10 days after the Woolsey, in December 2018.
/ Mette Lampcov
/
Mette Lampcov
Latigo Canyon in Malibu, California, 10 days after the Woolsey, in December 2018.
Latigo Canyon in Malibu, California, 4 months after the Woolsey fire, in March 2019.
/ Mette Lampcov
/
Mette Lampcov
Latigo Canyon in Malibu, California, 4 months after the Woolsey fire, in March 2019.

"Water to Dust" is a project Lampcov worked on about 8 years ago, when California was in the midst of the 2011-2017 drought.

Lampcov hopes to provide more nuanced and in-depth stories of how climate change is affecting people directly and in-directly — to dispel people of the image of climate change stereotypes.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.