Arctic to Tropic
Climate change commands our attention. Photographs provide evidence and perspective which are crucial to help us understand the consequences of inaction. The threat of rising seas to coastal communities around the world is real and potentially disastrous. The east coast of North America is especially at risk. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City and the New Jersey shore in October of 2012, we had a terrible preview of what can and will happen to our low lying shores.
That event was the catalyst for me to undertake and embark upon a 7,000 mile photographic odyssey and book project – East Coast: Arctic to Tropic. These images place this extraordinary yet fragile coastline in an environmental context with the rising Atlantic Ocean. Many of the images are taken from the air. The view from above truly shows our precarious relationship to the sea yet we observe a stunningly beautiful seacoast with many twists and turns.
The bestselling author Simon Winchester has written a most engaging and informative text that describes all the processes in play and Jenna Butler, a wonderful Canadian author, has written a fine essay that provides a Canadian perspective. The book is published by George F. Thompson, Staunton, VA and will be released in late November, 2016.
East Coast will also be a companion to my first book West Coast: Bering to Baja. There, earthquakes and volcanoes are the ongoing threat as the powerful forces of tectonic plates grinding and crashing into one another create the breathtaking scenery. In contrast, the East Coast, which is geologically stable, faces a formidable Atlantic Ocean that is rapidly encroaching upon our shores. We burn fossil fuels, carbon dioxide levels go up, greenhouse gases are trapped, and temperatures increase. Ice melts; the oceans rise.
It is a straightforward equation and is indicative of the fact that the only climate that really matters is the one in which we live. Our predicament is our own doing, an undoing is a monumental challenge when there is political opposition to nature's reality for purely ideological reasons and when science is purposefully ignored.
Human beings can be clever, resourceful, and ingenious. The challenge is whether or not we can harness and master our skills and use new technologies and policies in a worldwide endeavor to save and protect our future whereabouts. With the presidential election of 2016, it now appears that all worst case scenarios for our coasts may indeed be in our future. The fight for solutions will continue.
These images will no doubt become a reference point for succeeding generations. Many of the areas I photographed will be underwater—only the time frame is in question. This book is meant to heighten awareness by letting people see for themselves – through the arts of photography and writing – our uneasy relationship to the vast oceans and seas that cover 70% of our home planet.