16 Inspirational Winning Photos Of Environmental Photographer Of The Year 2021 – Forbes


Environment Confined in Plastic: a plastic-recycling factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Now in its 14th year, the Environmental Photographer of the Year competition showcasing the most inspirational environmental photography from around the world, has announced the 2021 winners.
The award celebrates humanity’s ability to survive and innovate through thought-provoking images that call attention to our impact in the planet and inspire us to live sustainably.
“The Environmental Photographer of the Year supports the urgent calls to action of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, recognising the intricate interconnected nature of development, poverty reduction, equality, security and climate action and the unprecedented effort from all sectors of society required to address the defining issues of our time,” the organizers explain.
Spanish photographer Antonio Aragón Renuncio was named Environmental Photographer of the Year for the photo (below) of a child sleeping inside a house destroyed by coastal erosion on Afiadenyigba Beach in Ghana.
Entitled The Rising Tide Sons, the image highlights the increasing sea levels in West African countries forcing thousands of people from their homes.
The competition features eight categories: Environmental Photographer of the Year, Young Environmental Photographer of the Year, Environments of the Future, Sustainable Cities, Climate Action, Water and Security, The Resilient Award and People’s Choice.
The contest is open to professional and amateur photographers of all ages and is free to enter. The overall winner receives a £10,000 prize.
This year’s competition was sponsored by environmental and water management charity CIWEM and the free streaming platform WaterBear dedicated to the sustainable future of our planet.
These are the winning photos, with descriptions by the photographers:
The-Rising-Tide-Sons, Overall winner Environmental Photographer of the year 2021
A child sleeps on the floor of his house about to collapse, destroyed by coastal erosion on Ghana’s Afiadenyigba Beach.
Sea levels off the coast of Togo and other West African countries continue to rise and swallow everything in their path — homes, crops, roads, trees, schools, jobs, resources and lives.
However, the shore of this small country in the Gulf of Guinea is only one victim of the massive problem affecting more than 8,000 kilometers of seacoast in 13 West African countries. Pushed by global warming, rising sea levels are forcing the ocean floor to readjust by removing sediment from the coast and washing it away from the shore.
This causes marine erosion capable of devouring dozens of meters of land each year.
As a result of this global environmental problem, thousands of people (mainly women and children) have already been forced to leave their homes and migrate inland in search of food, shelter and to avoid death.
Many more must worry over the rising tide that takes everything.
Inferno, Winner, Young Environmental Photographer Of The Year. Yamuna Ghat, New Delhi
A boy bravely and vainly fights fires in a forest near his home in Yamuna Ghat, New Delhi, India.
Survive for Alive, Winner of The Resilient Award, Noakhali, Bangladesh.
“Extreme droughts in Bangladesh have created hardships for all living beings. Here, flocks of sheep run from field to field looking for grass in the cracked soil.”
Net-Zero Transition, Photobioreactor, Winner, Sustainable Cities, Reykjanesbær, Iceland
“This Net-zero Transition photobioreactor at Algalif’s facilities in Reykjanesbaer, Iceland, produces sustainable astaxanthin using clean geothermal energy.
Iceland has successfully transformed its economy. In a span of a few decades, the country moved away from fossil fuels and shifted to 100% electricity production from renewable sources.
This transition nurtured an ecosystem of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship that generated new ways to make business with minimal impact on the environment.”
The Last Breath, Climate Action winner, Nairobi, Kenya
“Nature-based solutions to climate change: A boy takes in air from a plant, with a sand storm brewing in the background, in an artistic impression of the changes to come.
The young boy has a tree seedling with a leaf wrapped in a polythene bag, a straw seemingly coming from his nostrils to the bag as though giving it air.
This is a drastic implication of what is to come if we continue cutting down trees without replacing them. Trees are one of nature’s solutions to climate change and with deforestation we are getting closer to our last breath.
The image illustrate the fact that human beings are the only force of nature left to salvage the earth from drastic climate change and save the ozone layer from being totally destroyed.”
Green Barrier, Winner, Climate Action, Damodar River, West Bengal, India
“Irregular monsoon seasons and droughts cause algal bloom on the Damodar river, India.
Algal blooms prevent light from penetrating the surface and oxygen absorption by the organisms beneath, impacting human health and habitats in the area. Many boatmen depend on fishing here.”
Flood, Winner, Environment Of The Future, River Panaro, Nonantola, Modena, Italy.
The shot is an aerial view of the Panaro River flooding near Modena, Italy.
“A house is submerged by the flooding of the River Panaro in the Po Valley due to heavy rainfall and melting snow.”
Polluted Buriganga River, Finalist, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
“A busy, dirty waterway is filled with boats and their passengers in the morning commute as they attempt to cross the river to get to their workplace in the city of Dhaka in Bangladesh.”
Seeking pure drinking water, Shora-9 of Gabura union in Satkhira, Bangladesh
“A few physically-challenged women collect water from a ditch in Shora-9 of Gabura union in Satkhira, Khulna, Bangladesh. Salinity has reached so deep underground that neither shallow nor deep tube-wells can extract drinking water anymore.
They used to get freshwater from four big ponds. But the ponds have become sources of saline water only. In the dry season and summer time all the ponds remain water-less and dry. People collect water in the rainy season and save it for drinking for the whole year.”
Death of hope, Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh
“This photo was taken on Kutubdia Island in Bangladesh the day after Cyclone Yaas. The cyclone broke the embankment and flooded the entire area, destroying a local fish-farming operation due to the intrusion of salt and pollution.”
Working-mother, Finalist
“Working Mother means working for her family for food and other basic necessities. She has to manage her child while she is on duty in a dry fish zone. The small kid hangs inside a net on open air, although the whole place is filled with toxic air of rotten and dry fish.”
The Nemo’s Garden, Finalist, Noli, Italy
“The Nemo’s Garden represents an alternative system of agriculture for areas where environmental conditions make plant growth extremely difficult.
This self-sustainable project aims at making underwater farming a viable eco-friendly solution to counteract the increasing climate-change pressures on our future.”
Risky Journey, in pursuit of livelihood, Chittagong City, Bangladesh.
“In pursuit of livelihood, this man collects plastic items from different parts of the city and takes them to a factory for sale. The photo was taken in Chittagong City, Bangladesh.
Many people work collecting rubbish for resale at the Matuail sanitary landfill, the largest waste disposal site in Dhaka, Bangladesh. At the end of the day, they earn an average $2. Currently, according to a UNFA report, Dhaka is one of the most polluted cities in the world.”
Fishing in River, Finalist, Sirajgong, Bangladesh
“In Sirajgong, Bangladesh, algae accumulates and fills the river that is the livelihood of many boatmen who come here to fish.”
Clean Energy, Serra de São Macário, Portugal
Wind-energy turbines at work just as the sun is about to set over the mountains on a cloudy day.


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