Striking Photos Show The People vs. Climate Change

The Your Shot community shared their best photos in response to our #MyClimateAction challenge—see editors' weekly top picks here.

An incredibly complex web of cause and effect that’s global in scope, climate change is like light itself: enormously present, yet difficult to directly perceive. It’s just as likely to make its presence known in overly tough goat meat in Kenya as it is in a terrifying “gateway to hell” in Siberia.

But where do we, as individuals, come across the effects of climate change? What does it actually look like to us? And what are we doing about it?

Photographers of the National Geographic Your Shot community responded to our #MyClimateAction challenge, sharing stunning photos in answer to these very questions. Scroll through this gallery of editors’ picks to see how people around the world are taking a stand against climate change.\

Greenpeace’s “Save the Arctic” campaign submerged a replica of the Statue of Liberty north-west of Svalbard, Norway, in advance of the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. Climate change accelerates the melting of Arctic ice at the fastest rate in the world, directly impacting global sea level rise.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTIAN ASLUND, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

A man collects non-biodegradable waste, including polyethene bags, from the Yamuna River in Delhi, India. The Yamuna, which is of great religious significance to Hindus and provides water to 57 million people, is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, containing toxins that damage liver, respiratory, and cellular functions. Yet those who live along its banks still use it for bathing and drinking water, and even make a living collecting waste to sell for recycling.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RAJAT SWAMI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Evan is one of a handful of year-round inhabitants of Ilimanaq, Greenland, a settlement whose name means “Place of Expectations.” Evan, who has lived here for several decades, recalls that twenty years ago people would “run ice” as a source of winter income, cutting and hauling slabs of coastal ice to inland communities for use preserving food in the summer. Now, he says, there is no ice to run.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NANCY FORDE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

An old turf house overlooks a field in Iceland. Turf provides better insulation than wood or stone and is a more readily available renewable resource, calling to mind the contemporary urban green roof revolution.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ARMANDO FROIO, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Wind turbines and solar panels in the Mojave Desert, California, provide renewable clean energy. By 2050, 50% of California’s energy could be produced by solar plants and onshore wind.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JASSEN T, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Reddish bacteria and algae thrive in the high salinity of the Great Salt Lake, Utah, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. Severe drought has exposed over half of the lake bed and impacted neighbouring wetlands.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BACHIR BADAOUI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

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The Kapitan Dranitsyn, an icebreaking research vessel operated by Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, nears a jagged outcrop in Franz Josef Land. The world’s northernmost island chain, Franz Josef Land is a biodiversity hotspot that was made part of a Russian national park in 2016. As climate change drastically affects sea ice levels in the Arctic, this area is becoming more open to vessel traffic.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARION MCMURDO, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

A man climbs a tree to rescue the queen of a swarming bee hive in Nepal. Hives swarm when a queen sets off with the majority of her worker bees in town to establish a new colony, posing logistical difficulties for beekeepers. Honeybees, many species of which have seen dramatic decline in recent years, pollinate at least 33% of the world’s food supply.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LYNN C., NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

The Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise cruises past the eastern coast of Greenland. Greenpeace is working to bring attention to oil companies' exploration of the area. Temperatures rise more quickly in the Arctic than in any other region, and while scientists are concerned by the mounting risks of climate change, the oil industry regards the decline of sea ice as a new business opportunity.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTIAN ASLUND, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Spread over 400 acres, Nevada Solar One is a massive project built in the hot, dry desert just south of Las Vegas. The plant uses 760 parabolic trough concentrators with more than 182,000 mirrors that concentrate the sun’s rays onto more than 18,240 receiver tubes. Every year, the projected amount of CO2 emissions this plant avoids putting into the atmosphere is equivalent to taking approximately 20,000 cars off the road. It is a refreshing site to look at—I can't wait to fly a solar-powered aircraft one day.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JASSEN T., NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

A man in Jakarta, Indonesia, works to clear the plastic waste from a polluted drainage canal. Droughts, flooding, and rising sea levels caused by climate change increasingly threaten global water security, compounding the harmful effects of pollution.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PRADEEP RAJA, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

A man in South Texas checks a water gauge: it was not very much rain, yet enough to please the plants. South Texas has suffered several years of drought, calling to mind the people in this region and around the world whose water security is put at greater risk by the effects of climate change.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DORIS ENDERS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Citizen scientist Wilmer Sánchez Rodríguez collects snow and ice samples to measure the impact of black carbon deposits on at-risk tropical glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca range of the Peruvian Andes. Black carbon particles absorb more light and drastically increase the rate at which glacial ice melts, disappearing a critical water source for Andean people who are also in the midst of drought.
PHOTOGRAPH BY COURTNEY CECALE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Life on board the research vessel Investigator, five weeks into a voyage in the Southern Ocean. A place that most people will never visit, it's an extreme environment on every level—a realm of cold grey skies, raging winds, and immense storms. Australian scientists on board the Investigator collect information about carbon dioxide cycles, atmospheric composition, and eddy patterns to better understand the impact of climate change.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GLORIA SALGADO GISPERT, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

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A scientist aboard the research vessel Investigator supervises the checking of equipment used to study eddy patterns in the Southern Ocean. More than just a research platform, the vessel was also a home for a community of scientists, support staff and a marine crew, all working together. As part of the support staff, my job was to help the scientists and why not capture them all with my camera?
PHOTOGRAPH BY GLORIA SALGADO GISPERT, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Working nine to five? Not on this ship! It’s 24/7 science when you step aboard the Investigator vessel. I found myself trying to find new angles and frames, when trying to shoot from the distance in the non-accessible areas or when shooting the same scene day after day.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GLORIA SALGADO GISPERT, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

A balloon is launched aboard the Investigator vessel during its month-long research voyage in April 2016. Covering around 3,800 nautical miles, the researchers collected information about carbon dioxide cycles, atmospheric composition, and eddy patterns in the Southern Ocean.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GLORIA SALGADO GISPERT, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Members of the Quark Expeditions team inspect an ice floe in Greenland, where melting creates unusual shapes, including this one that looks like a rooster. Unusually warm weather in 2016 broke temperature records in the Arctic region, resulting in the lowest sea ice levels ever recorded.
PHOTOGRAPH BY H. AKAY, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

Header Image: Greenpeace activists dressed in polar bear suits take an elevator during the 2013 Oslo Energy Forum, an invitation-only conference first convened in 1973 during the Norwegian oil and gas boom. The activists planned to confront oil industry representatives as part of Greenpeace’s “Save the Arctic” campaign. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTIAN ASLUND, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT

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