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Visualizing climate change: 100 freely accessible photos from around the world to inspire climate action

By Toby Smith on September 29, 2021

In the Fulani village of Hore Mondji, in southern Mauritania, a women's cooperative uses solar energy to operate the borehole that supplies water to the market garden. A project piloted by UNICEF in partnership with local authorities.

Together, our Climate Visuals programme and TED Countdown have released 100 photographs that showcase climate solutions alongside the global impact of climate change. The images are freely available to key groups communicating on climate – namely the editorial media, educators, campaigners and non-for-profit groups – to tell impactful and diverse stories of climate change leading up to the UN climate conference (COP26) and beyond.

This collection is the result of our recent open call for photography in partnership with TED Countdown, which attracted 5,500 submissions from photographers in 150 countries from all backgrounds, including indigenous communities. Photographers received $1,000 for each image selected by our independent jury.

The collection will be showcased at both the TED Countdown Summit in Edinburgh on 12-15 October, and at the UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow on 1-12 November.

Please do share examples with us of how and where you are using these images to tell powerful climate stories!

Register (for free) to our Climate Visuals library to download images

Visit Climate Visuals

The collection has been featured in the Guardian and in Positive News,

We’re so incredibly grateful, proud, and excited about the submissions received and embodied in our judge’s final selections”, said Toby Smith, Climate Visuals Programme Lead. “The images portray diverse climate solutions, new narratives and voices, and impactful photography—all direct from communities around the world. We reached over 5.2 million individuals in our Open Call in June. However, the real impact starts now as the entire collection becomes accessible to climate communicators.”

Toby Smith, Senior Programme Lead for Visuals and Media, Climate Outreach

The initiative was catalysed by a $100,000 creative fund, with $1,000 per image selected – used to build a new robust, accessible collection of evidence-based photos that document the reality of climate change around the world. Images were selected that communicate positive climate solutions in five key areas, whilst ensuring they are both illustrative and impactful.

The visual narratives in circulation must move from illustrating climate causes and impacts to climate justice, solutions and positive change. Our online submission and licensing process considered a broad range of diversity, equity and inclusion factors to ensure that this opportunity was global, accessible, fair, representative, illustrative and impactful. The collection provides both a platform, voice and now visual tools to people and communities not yet represented in the mainstream climate change narrative.

Communication is one of the key pillars in the fight against climate change. How we articulate the impact of climate can make or break public opinion, and the ripple effect is seen throughout culture, business, education, media, and more. Together with Fine Acts, we’re pleased to be able to provide climate communicators with free resources to illustrate both the global impact of climate change and the solutions that make us hopeful.”

Logan McClure Davda, Head of Impact at TED

By Toby Smith

Toby is the Visuals and Media Programme Lead, with a strategic goal of expanding our presence, influence and impact in the visual and media sectors. He joins us with over 12 years experience as an award-winning environmental photographer who focuses on building innovative and global stories through collaboration and publication in leading editorial outlets.  

Toby graduated with a Masters in Photography from London College of Communication in 2008 after spending 2 years working across Africa utilising his bachelors degree in Zoology and Environmental Science. He is an Associate Scholar of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute and lives near Stroud with his wife and son.

2 responses to Visualizing climate change: 100 freely accessible photos from around the world to inspire climate action

  1. Katherine Phillips says:

    September 30, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Great photos! Are we ok to use them as a local authority?

  2. Léane de Laigue says:

    October 5, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    Hi Katherine, thanks! The photos are freely available to editorial media, educators, campaigners and non-for-profit groups – I’m afraid government is not included on the list, sorry!

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