Since 2010, artist and photographer Carolyn Monastra has traveled throughout the United States and around the world to document the global impact of climate change. She has met with scientists, activists, and ordinary people, visiting every continent to witness the effects of the crisis from various vantage points and perspectives.
“From the melting ice of Antarctica to the wildfires of Australia to the encroaching deserts of Inner Mongolia, I am drawn to precious and precarious places that mark the shifting boundaries between nature and the effects of our not-so-natural disasters,” she says. “I want to capture this life before it goes away.”
Monastra describes her work as driven by the emerging dialogue among people who are rooted to their lands and sometimes uprooted from them. In the course of her travels, she has heard tales of lives and homes being lost, of natural resources vanishing. “I believe we have a moral responsibility to address the climate crisis,” she says. “I also believe our collective environmental efforts can help in creating healthier more sustainable communities. With a U.S. presidential administration that seems openly hostile to mitigating, let alone acknowledging, anthropogenic-induced climate change, I feel even more committed to my work.”
The images here are from Monastra’s documentary photography project, The Witness Tree, which also involves presentations, exhibitions, and audience-engagement events. You can see and learn more about The Witness Tree here.
- The Editors