Sharjah: The second edition of the Xposure International Photography Festival’s Conservation Summit in Sharjah brought together three renowned photographers to shine light on the pressing environmental issues affecting our world.
Through seminars, Robbie Shone, Carsten Egevang, and Esther Horvath used their lenses to showcase the beauty and stark fragility of the European Alps glacier caves, Greenland, and the Arctic respectively.
Each photographer spoke about their personal journeys, the impact of climate change, and the need for immediate action to preserve these unique environments for future generations. Their imagery serves as a reminder of the critical importance of protecting our planet and the role visual communicators play in raising awareness.
Alps heating fast
In the seminar titled ‘The Loss of the Hidden World’, environmental advocate and photographer, Shone turned attention to the crisis of the European Alps glacier caves, once stunning natural wonders that are now facing the threat of extinction due to rising temperatures in the region.
For centuries, these ice caves and glacier caves have been a source of both tourism and scientific exploration. However, in recent years, they have been particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with temperatures in the Alps rising twice as fast as the global average.
“The ice caves and glacier caves of the Alps are not just beautiful landscapes, they are a symbol of the delicate balance between our planet and the impact of human activities on the environment”, said Shone.
“We must act to protect these wonders and ensure their preservation for future generations.”
Greenland’s ice melting
Egevang led a talk titled ‘Greenland – Lands of Contrasts’ to highlight the pressing reality of climate change and the role of visual communicators in raising awareness about the devastating effects of climate change in the Arctic region and Greenland. He shared the importance of telling stories of what’s happening to our planet in a way that more people can understand.
“Climate change is real; climate change is happening now. If you don’t believe me, go to Greenland to see for yourself,” said Egevang.
He shared the challenges of working in the Arctic, including the use of outdated technology and the reliance on traditional hunting methods by the Inuit people. He emphasised that the Arctic is warming four times faster than anywhere else around the world and that if all the inland ice in Greenland were to melt, the world’s sea levels would rise by at least 7 metres.
Protect the Arctic
Hovarth juxtaposed the breathtaking beauty of the Arctic with the fragility of the invaluable ecosystem during a talk titled ‘Arctic - Through the Eyes of Explorers’. The photographer explained the impact of the rapidly changing climate on the region, and highlighted the efforts of those working to understand its effects. Through her photography, she showcased the critical role the Arctic plays in maintaining the health of our world and the urgent need to protect it.
“The Arctic is not just a place, it is a symbol of the health of our planet,” she said. “As a photographer, I feel it is my duty to use my art to tell the story of this magical world and inspire action to preserve it for future generations.”