Chapter 7: When Photos Are Not Enough
In the preceding chapter, I demonstrated how contemporary photographers take advantage of innovative ways to tell stories, alert the public about environmental issues and spark engagement. This chapter furthers the discussion by exploring current trends in environmental activism, ranging from the modest to extreme opportunities for engagement beyond traditional media. Nowadays, photographers, environmental advocates, and NGOs reorient public perceptions about environmental issues through unique and creative experiences that have expanded to the web, and lately to social media and emerging digital platforms. In the first part of the chapter, I focus on coordinated efforts of photographers and environmentalists working to resolve problems affecting the global community. The next section considers voices outside the mainstream working to make known the overwhelming issues facing planet Earth. Following this, I turn to partnerships between environmentalists, NGOs, and celebrities that drive the media’s and the public’s attention to environmental causes. The last part of the chapter considers a new trend of environmental activism through art.
Environmentalism in some form goes back decades, consisting of a variety of activities that led to policies for preservation and protection of open places and spaces (see Ch. 3). Past conservation groups appealed directly to the public and decision makers, especially youth and counterculture, and encouraged passive support for conservation through the purchase of books, calendars, posters, and high-quality magazines. Today’s environmentalism is not new, but in the last decade or so, photographers and activists have experimented with digital media and technology-driven tools...
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