A Climate for Conflict: Nichole Sobecki’s photographs paint a portrait of Somalia’s climate ravaged lands and their inhabitants.
Words by Caitlin Hennessy
The phrase ‘Climate Change’ has been littered throughout the media thousands of times during the past ten years that it has, in a sense, become a buzzword, desensitizing the colossal meaning and impact those two words represent.
Photographer and filmmaker Nichole Sobecki and journalist Laura Heaton set out to create a visual component partnered with personal accounts of the devastation that climate change has had on the people of Somalia, compiling an impactful series that demands the attention of its viewer.
“In the short space of one generation, parts of Somalia have become a bone-dry desert, bringing a wave of complications within the communities that habit the country – including famine, war and an increase in illegal activities.”
‘A Climate for Conflict,’ has become a warning for what could very well be the bleak and haunting future reality facing many continents. In the short space of one generation, parts of Somalia have become a bone-dry desert, bringing a wave of complications within the communities that habit the country – including famine, war and an increase in illegal activities.
Nichole captured moments of the situations while Laura compiled a series of emotive stories, most of which are heart-achingly horrific, as if from the scripts of an over-edited Hollywood movie. A farmer whose crops have been ravaged by draught joins the Al-Qaeda linked extremist group Al-Shabaab, a fisherman with no more fish to catch starts pirating boats at sea, a mother who refused to leave from war flees her draught stricken home. The stories and photographs build and communicate a message that is impossible to ignore.
After finding images taken in the 1970s by English ecologist Murray Watson, Nichole visited the same locations and set about creating a comparison. The result is a mind-blowing contrast – lush green grass and rolling mountains give way to desert and dust. The effect of this comparison, like much of the content in the series, is hard to ignore and harder to deny.
The project has linked issues of climate, peace and war in a series that through the combination of incredible imagery and articulate, approachable and science-backed journalism has become a warning for what could become the future for many of our other continents. ‘A Climate for Conflict,’ is a new format of ecological and environmental photography that can become a driver for impact campaigns, built to inform viewers of how irreversible climate change is leading to instability, conflict and forced migration.
Words by Paris based Gobe writer Caitlin Hennessy.