In 2012 I had the great privilege of shooting for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when Doha, Qatar hosted the UN’s COP18/CMP8. COP is the Conference of Parties, basically when the world comes together to figure out how to save the human race from man-made climate change. The other side of the curtain gave me incredible insight into the process, protocol and perils of the climate change debate.
As a photographer, but also as a human concerned with the state of the planet we call home, to see how our collective future is debated over and quantified in geopolitical and economic terms is most definitely sobering and enlightening. It both demystified the workings of geopolitics and compounded the importance of vision, action and compassion when tackling issues of global consequence.
With the recent successes scored at COP21 Paris, I cannot help but look back to my experiences during COP18 and remember just how hard ministers, delegates and activists had to fight for such even the smallest concessions from industrialized nations.
My own country of Canada was actively acting against the interests of low-lying and at-risk nations through climate change policy and took home several “fossil of the day” awards for being environmentally backwards, often touting previous achievements instead of committing to the necessary action in the present.
With cautious optimism, I am pleased that our new government takes such a more proactive stance on climate change and took power just in time to be a positive voice for much of the Paris convention. Stay tuned for Part II.