She's hoping that these visuals will serve as both proof of climate change and a catalyst for change.
Poverty, and a lack of it, both causes and is caused by a number of factors that have led to global crises; the problem is that the world’s most powerful nations are causing the crises caused by climate change and those living in extreme poverty in developing nations and the ones that are suffering. According to recent research, it’s often difficult for people to wrap their heads around climate change because the effects of it that are seen today are in remote areas and it seems as though any actual change is in the distant future. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and one photographer, Lisa Murray, is using stunning images to prove it and inspire change.
Murray said that growing up in England, she lived the privileged life in a Western nation, but that she also traveled often to Ghana as a teenager and was able to witness the effects on poverty and the different way of life in the country. It’s primarily why she set out to be a field researcher that traveled to foreign countries wrought with poverty to document the effects of climate change, but on one trip she had an epiphany.
“I was doing research in South Sudan and realized only five people will read the report [I was working on],” Murray told Global Citizen. “Whereas images, they just grab people’s attention so much more.”
She realized that the photographs she was taking would have a stronger impact and reach more people, so she decided to focus on that and made it a goal of hers to also include an excerpt from an interview that she has with the people shown. The results are breathtaking.
From people to goats to hands carefully clasping new growth, her photographs capture everything about the places she’s visiting and documents what they’re facing everyday as a result of climate change. Many countries, like Indonesia and South Sudan, experience coastal erosion, land subsidence, drought and extreme downpours because of the rising temperature on Earth’s surface. The unstable climate has led to deaths, famine, starvation, poverty, and more, and that’s what Murray wants to show people who don’t see that everyday.
“Close-up portraits, where you really see the emotions of a person, makes it feel very real,” she said.
Murray’s goal is to use the stories and photos from these people suffering and barely surviving to raise awareness and to inspire others to make changes not only in those specific countries but also nationwide. She said that it’s not just about personally reducing your carbon footprint, although that helps, but it’s about governments collaborating to combat this very real and very deadly crisis.
“The important thing about addressing climate change is getting every sector working together and mainstreaming the policies, and that’s ultimately what needs to happen. Climate change is complex and there’s no magic bullet. It has to be a holistic approach,” she told the Independent UK.
The photographer is currently based out of Kenya, where she hopes to get tons of positive work done and effect change through raising awareness and fundraisers. She intends to use her photos to take to local and federal governments and use ethos as a way to show them what’s happening around the world. Take a look at more of her photos below.