whaleIn a world in which we increasingly rely on technology and expect convenience, we can easily forget our connection with the environmnent. Water is bottled, fruit is chopped and packaged, meat is marinated and vacuum packed. We refill our cars without a thought on where the fuel is coming from. We switch our lights on and power up our computers without a moments thought on where this power is originating. Unwanted electronics are thrown away alongside unwanted food, batteries, plastic and cardboard. Where does this waste go?

If we stop and think about these questions, it will change the way we treat our environment. It deserves respect. We are all responsible for our own impact on it. The pollution from our cities impacts all the inhabitants of that city. Poor air quality, dirty water, litter, adverse light and noise pollution – these are all hazards that as city dwellers we accept and live with. What would life be like if we didn’t have these pollutants in our midst? Have you walked around Central London early on a Sunday morning? Void of traffic and people, the air feels clean. By rush hour on a Friday, you can see and feel the dirt and smog on your face and clothes. Why do we contribute to this? Why do we accept it?

isolated beauty

We can each make changes to improve the environment in which we live – through conscious decisions to make a difference. We can recycle more, use our car less, purchase local produce, focus on foods with less packaging. Our decisions have an impact. And the impact reaches beyond our immediate environment. Air pollution is transported and dropped over fragile ecosystems far from our own. The exhaust fumes from our factories and cars end up somewhere. Our waste is burned or buried somewhere. If we could see the journey a commodity makes (a water bottle for example), from raw material to manufacture, to sale, to its use through to disposal, I think we would consider the value of that bottle differently. It might encourage us to recycle or reuse it. It is not how much it costs in monetary terms (5p perhaps?), but rather the energy that has gone into making it, transporting it, packaging it and disposing of it. In some countries, plastic bottles are valued, recovered and recycled. In the UK, we place less importance on this process. Why?

With an expanding population and a corresponding growth in resource demand, we are asking more and more from our environment, yet thinking less and less about it as a population.

Through my work, I am trying to make a difference. Through my pictures, I hope in a small way to reengage peoples connection with the environment. It is there, it is fragile, it needs protecting.

I sponsor projects that are helping to conserve our environment. The job is seemingly enormous but little changes do make a difference. From individuals such as Jenny Kalmbach in Hawaii who is fighting to educate people about the importance of keeping plastic out of our oceans to multinational companies who are finding innovative ways to deal with our waste problems, we can all contribute and make a difference.