Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 4 December 2020

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – the final video interview for Photojournalism Now: In Conversation 2020 is now live featuring award-winning photojournalist James Whitlow Delano.

James Whitlow Delano is an American photojournalist who has been based in Japan for more than 20 years. Whitlow Delano is known for his work on environmental issues and the human impact of climate change. He is the co-founder of the Instagram feed @everydayclimatechange. When Covid-19 broke, Whitlow Delano was in Antarctica. In this interview for Photojournalism Now: In Conversation he speaks with journalist Alison Stieven-Taylor about how Covid-19 has impacted his work. The pair discuss Whitlow Delano’s longterm project, Drowning in Plastic, and also look at some of his more artistic work made possible by the hiatus caused by the pandemic.

“Looking out over high seas and a gale wind over to the Nelson Ice Dome on Nelson Island in Antarctica from the AP Aquiles, Chilean Navy cargo supply ship. Because of a State of Emergency order by the Chilean government, all civilians were ordered to leave the ship the next day, when the weather improved, due to Coronavirus worries to the ship’s crew, even though, for many of the civilians who had been isolated in Coronavirus-free Antarctica for weeks, the ship’s crew, who came from the mainland where Coronavirus was present, the crew presented a greater threat to the civilians than the other way around,” (C) James Whitlow Delano
“Dr. Bulat Mavlyudov of the Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences looks into a deep crevasse near a “nunatak” (an isolated peak of rock projecting above a surface of inland ice or snow) that emerged this year due to glacial thinning of Bellingshausen Dome. Temperatures along the Antarctic Peninsula have warmed 3C (5.4 F) since 1951. 87% of its glaciers on the east coast have receded with high publicized shattering of Larsen A & B floating ice shelves. Bellingshausen Dome sits on King George Island off the west coast of the peninsula. Since 2000 because strong southeasterly winds from the Weddell Sea, which have pushed ice up against the peninsula’s east coast and cooling the air, summers have been on average cooler – making this region an outlier on a warming continent.Still, the lower part of Bellingshausen Dome continues to thin but the upper part of the dome has shown a modest net accumulation of snow. Glaciologists do not know if this trend is a temporary blip in an overwhelming warming trend but the record high temperature of 20.75C (69.35 F) recorded last summer on an island nearby might suggest that the warming trend is back,” (C) James Whitlow Delano
“A discarded Red Bull drink can with Chinese characters on it found on Bellingshausen Dome, Antarctica Chinese Great Wall Station is 6 km away and Chinese glaciologists do research on the ice dome,” (C) James Whitlow Delano
“Plastic, water hyacinth and garbage completely obscure the Estero de Vitas River carrying all of it down to Manila Bay, a few kilometers away, and then into the South China Sea. Tondo, Manila, Philippines Six of the top 10 contributors to ocean plastic are the nations surrounding the South China Sea. The Philippines is the world’s third largest contributor to ocean plastic behind China and Indonesia. As dramatic as floating plastic is, Erik van Sebille, at Utrecht University in the Netherlands found in 2015 that 95% – 99% of all plastic in the ocean is not on the surface anymore. It is submerged microplastic, the highest concentration between 200m to 600m (650 ft – 1970 ft), and/or eaten by marine life.46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by mass is made up of “ghost” fishing nets. Plastic is literally in every corner of the planet. The majority of large plastic pollution in the ocean, Greenpeace says, are discarded fishing nets and gear, called, “ghost gear”. Marine wildlife become tangled in “ghost” fish nets and filter-feeding whales, like grey, blue and humpback whales’ baleen filters can jammed with fish nets. In 2018, 300 sea turtles, entangle in a “ghost” net were found dead off the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. In 2019, researchers found microplastic in Arctic ice in greater concentration than in the surrounding Arctic Ocean waters. Earlier this year, explorers found plastic in the Marianas Trench in the Pacific, the deepest place on the planet,” (C) James Whitlow Delano

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