Compelling photography can open our eyes and hearts in ways we never expected. Highlighting this visual power is the 2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year competition, an international showcase open to all professional and amateur creatives. They’ve recently selected their shortlist of environmentally-focused images that inspire people around the world to take better care of our planet.
The chosen submissions are a fascinating look at the natural landscape and how humans interact with it. Whether this is braving a flood in West Yorkshire, farming seaweed in Borneo, or playing basketball on a Tibetan mountainside, the photographs are a reminder of just how connected we are with the Earth—it’s our home and vital to our livelihood. We can act carelessly towards it, but ultimately we need to find ways that preserve the environment rather than destroy it.
The Environmental Photographer of the Year shortlist features 60 photographs and will be exhibited at the Royal Geographical in London from June 29 to August 21. The winners will be announced on June 28, 2016.
Above: Transhumance in Spain by Susana Girón
Transhumance is a centuries old tradition of moving livestock many miles in search of better pasture in winter and summer. Above, the Alarcon family are taking their sheep from their home in Fatima (Granada) to Las Navas de San Juan (Jaen), a 124-mile journey on foot. More than 100 Spanish families continue the transhumance tradition every year.
Photograph: Susana Giron/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
Seaweed Farming in Malaysian Borneo by Eric Madeja
Seaweed farming has been heavily promoted to be an alternative, stable and sustainable income for fisherman in the Semporna region, taking pressure off the overfished reefs.
Photograph: Eric Madeja/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
Gravel Workmen of Chittagong, Bangladesh, by Faisal Azim
Gravel workmen look through a glass window at a gravel-crushing yard in Chittagong. Full of dust and sand, it is an extremely unhealthy environment for working, but still hundreds of people work here for their livelihoods.
Photograph: Faisal Azim/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
Behind the Taj Mahal, India, by Mustafa AbdulHadi
The early morning silhouette of Taj forms a backdrop to a garbage-strewn bank of the Yamuna river in Agra where a man scans the rubbish for valuables.
Photograph: 2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
Life in Boiler, West Bengal, India, by Sudipta Dutta Chowdhury
Unloading finished product in the morning. These units burn and boil shaving dust (a by-product of finished leather products), flesh linings and trimmings to make fertilizer and fish feed in Kolkata. The furnaces belch out thick smoke continuously, contributing to Kolkata’s poor air quality.
Photograph: Sudipta Dutta Chowdhury/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
The Plateau, Tibet by Luc Forsyth
Buddhist monks play basketball on a court in their mountainside monastery in Zado, Tibet. Despite the light covering of snow, the monks report increasingly warmer winter temperatures each year and a reduction in quantities of fresh water on the Tibetan plateau.
Photograph: Luc Forsyth/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
Floods in West Yorkshire, UK, by Steve Morgan
On Boxing Day 2015, a thriving former mill town in the Calder valley, Hebden Bridge, was flooded. Sirens echoed around the valley at 7.30am alerting sleeping residents to the rising waters about to engulf the town.
Photograph: Steve Morgan/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
Geothermal Energy, Iceland, by Larry Louie
Over 90% of the homes in Iceland are heated by geothermal energy and powered by hydro electricity. With the effects of global warming, rapidly melting glaciers in Iceland are providing an incredible amount of hydro energy. But harvesting power from nature is not without environmental consequences.
Photograph: Larry Louie/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
Hydroponics at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, UK, by Guy Bell
The future of food? Hydroponic plants on the Rocket Science stand are being developed for use in space and as one of the many ways to feed an ever-expanding population on Earth.
Photograph: Guy Bell/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year
Solar Portraits, India, by Ruben Salgado Escudero
Villagers trap fish using cone-shaped baskets and solar light in Odisha. Fewer than half of the state’s 42 million residents use grid electricity. Roughly 1.1 billion people in the world live without access to electricity, and close to a quarter of them are in India. The portrait was set up using solar lights as the only source of illumination.
Photograph: Ruben Salgado Escudero/2016 Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year