From Climate Refugees to Footprint
The human element is always at the heart of reportages produced by the photography collective Argos. This is why, in 2001, on discovering IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) second assessment report, we wanted to put a human face to this issue. At the time it was presented in graph form and we looked to personify this phenomenon.
How ? By telling people’s stories. Those of the first victims of climate change who went from putting down roots to exile, from poverty to destitution. One figure in particular caught our attention : according to UN forecasts, « roughly 150 million climate refugees could be displaced by 2050 ».
Climate refugees : from Alaska to Chad, via the Maldives
Our journey started in November 2004 in Alaska, with the issue of Arctic permafrost melt, followed by Tuvalu, the Maldives and Halligen (Germany) to bear witness to rising sea levels ; via Chad and China where desertification was spreading ; Bangladesh experiencing delta flooding ; Nepal, victim of accelerating glacier melt ; and finally, in 2009, the United States where cyclones were becoming more and more intense. Nine states throughout the world to show that climate change is a reality and already underway. To also raise awareness of the risk of cultural diversity loss.
Argos’ first group documentary series, entitled Réfugiés Climatiques appeared many times in the French and foreign media and was published in book form (Editions Carré, 2010). The English version, Climate Refugees, was published by MIT Press and an exhibition was held during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP15, in Copenhagen in 2009.