The historic arrival of the UN climate negotiations to Glasgow in November 2021 is an opportunity to raise awareness in Scotland and beyond of how climate crises are affecting people across the world.
That’s why as part of the runup to COP26, Scotland’s International Development Alliance are hosting an innovative digital exhibition, Facing the Crisis, sharing personal stories, highlighting challenges and celebrating responses to the climate crisis in communities at the sharp end of the climate crisis.
What is Facing the Crisis all about?
Every year, the Alliance runs a photo and film competition, which is an opportunity for people in Scotland and beyond to showcase sustainable development projects across the world. This year, with the most important climate talks since the Paris Agreement coming up in Glasgow, we focused in on the human impacts of the climate crisis.
Choosing photos and films based on the strength of their stories, the quality of the image making and the degree to which the image-maker has approached the subject thoughtfully, empathetically and ethically, we’ve collated a growing collection of fantastic visual stories from around the world. They show how the climate crisis has changed people’s lives and the changes they’ve made to meet it.
Among those most at risk from the climate crisis, we’ve seen some hugely moving experiences of loss and hope, and the phenomenal innovations, resilience and adaptations with which communities are meeting seemingly insurmountable challenges. We wanted to share these stories and help audiences in Scotland and beyond understand the human experiences behind the apocalyptic headlines.
Why is it important to meet the people most affected by the climate crisis?
Here in Scotland, we’re often insulated from the true face of the climate crisis. But in much of the world, the changing climates and its wider effects have already had a massive impact on many, many people’s lives for decades; from drought and flooding to disease and loss of livelihood, the challenges of the climate crisis require ever increasing resilience and adaptation, and frequently costs people their stability, their homes and even their lives.
Climate change has the largest impact on those that have done least to cause it; often people in low-income countries, with the lowest carbon footprint, bear the brunt of its damage. It is almost always the poorest communities with the lowest carbon footprint around the world that are most vulnerable to the devastating impacts of changing weather patterns, floods, droughts and storms. For these poorer communities, there is very little safety net when crops fail or homes are destroyed.
As Facing the Crisis shows, communities at the sharp end of the climate crisis are fighting to survive a situation that is not of their own making, through adapting to new normals and mitigating against the causes of the issue. But the responsibility can’t fall on them alone.
Richer countries like Scotland, which are major (per capita) contributors to global climate change, must take responsibility both for reducing our outsize emissions contributions, and for providing support and resources to help those most affected build resilience and adaptability to survive the crisis.
If rich countries are willing to step up their game and commit to meaningful change, being led by the needs of communities at the sharp end of the crisis, then COP26 in Glasgow could be a tipping point.
However, right now, rich countries’ actions are wholly inadequate to compensate for the amount we continue to contribute to global emissions. Urgent action is needed to provide funding and resources to affected communities to adapt and thrive in the crisis we created. Learn more here.
How can you get involved?
Facing the Crisis is now open at www.facingthecrisis.scot. In this custom digital exhibition space, you can not only view and share images from many countries across three continents, but also find information and ideas for engaging with the campaign for climate justice and global responsibility.
You can also submit your own content ideas if you have a story to tell. We’ve included an easy-to-use online submission form, so everyone has the chance to be part of this exciting exhibition. Perhaps you live or work in a country not yet represented in the exhibition or perhaps you know someone else who does?!
You don’t have to be a professional photographer or filmographer either. All that’s important is that your photo or short film tells a story of climate impacts or responses across the world.