Internationally celebrated conservation photographer Art Wolfe loves nature. In our Impact Series: Game Changers in Sustainability interview with him yesterday (which will be available for viewing next week in our archives , Wolfe spoke about his passion for life—of all kinds. His adoration and respect for wildlife, landscapes, native cultures, ecosystems, and communities around the planet is unmistakable.
In his lifetime of travels, Wolfe has seen the creep of human development overtake habitat. He has photographed failing ecosystems. He has watched helplessly as indigenous cultures have been decimated by Western illness.
Despite those alarming experiences, Wolfe’s greatest gift, besides his photographic mastery, is his optimism. Wolfe affirms that for every failing ecosystem, there are countless organizations counterbalancing negative human impact with positive work focused on protection, restoration, and education.
When asked if native cultures will be absorbed by Western civilization, he asserts his belief that the strongest cultures, such as the Shambhala nation of Bhutan, will be able to adopt 21st century technology while firmly maintaining traditional customs.
Wolfe has documented changes in the planet with his photographs. He laments disappearing glaciers and other significant environmental changes due to climate change. But, if nothing else, his travels have helped him develop an unyielding faith in nature’s perseverance and humans’ ability to adapt to changing environments.
Not all of the environmental changes that Wolfe observes are negative. He remarks that even the most remote communities around the world have built sturdy structures with local natural resources, and have also developed simple, cost-effective solutions for accessing clean water. He sees solar panels in the most unlikely places.
Whether in an adobe hut in the Mali desert, a thatched shelter in the Dogon mountains, or the floating of villages in rural Vietnam, Wolfe is a keen observer of the connectivity between the cultures of our very small world. He is convinced that nature is resilient if given a fighting chance, and that what we need more than anything is for charismatic leaders in communities across the planet to stand up and show the way towards a more sustainable future.
In the artistry of his images, Wolfe delivers an intimate portrait of nature to inspire stewardship. What can you do in your community to deliver the message of sustainability in a powerful, meaningful way?
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Posted: 8/9/2012 11:10:38 AM by
Mary Kestner | with 0 comments