Hotter days, record flooding, extreme hurricanes and severe droughts—climate change is a global issue that can no longer be ignored. So, when Portland-based photographer Greta Rybus arrived in Northern Senegal and saw that climate change was not only an issue but a very visible one, she knew that she wanted to document its effects in the area.
The project looks specifically at the impacts of climate change and how it is already impacting the lives of people who rely directly on natural resources for their livelihood. Crafted from interviews and photographs of fisherman, herders, farmers and scientists in Senegal, Greta shows us both the beauty and struggle of those whose lives are spent connecting to the environment. This series of images showcases the disastrous effects that result from policies that do not take in to account the planet’s well-being. Fisherman who once dragged their boats for an hour across sand to reach the sea are now greeted by it at their front door. Inland, herders and farmers who relied upon the rains to sustain their crops and cattle can hardly grow enough food for their families. They are now forced to supplement their work with odd jobs in the city to stay afloat. And while the project is about the unfolding struggle with climate change it is also a celebration of the resilient spirit of the local community.
Throughout her month-long stay Greta learned, with the help of interpreters and community liaisons, that the discussion in Senegal surrounding the topic of climate change varies greatly from that which she would have had with an American audience.
When I was in Senegal, most of the people I met were not only very well informed about climate change, but they also were enthusiastic about discussing it. Returning back to the states, I had to remind myself that there are people and communities who are resistant or unwilling to discuss climate change as a real, human-caused issue.
Greta is currently working on a print version of the story to send back to those in Senegal who helped make the project possible.
You can see more of Greta’s work and the full project at gretarybus.com