- The photo looks innocent - a child in China running across sand dunes. But desertification has made her family climate refugees.
- Pulitzer Prize winner Josh Haner's images from around the world show the impact of climate change on people and nature
On the surface, the image " of a young girl running across sand dunes near her home in China's Tengger Desert " looks like a snapshot of a carefree, happy child.
Sadly, the story behind the shot is very different. Families like those of three-year-old Liu Jiali are being forced to leave their homes as desertification spreads. In China, they are called "ecological migrants" and the government has relocated around 329,000 of them from lands ruined by climate change, industrialisation and other human activity.
The image, by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Josh Haner, is one of 20 that make up "New York Times: Carbon's Casualties", an exhibition at the recently opened HACC in K11 Atelier in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, that focuses on climate refugees displaced by rising sea levels, flooding and drought. Haner also draws attention to the loss of nature and cultural monuments.
Presented by the K11 Art Foundation, it runs in parallel with "Disruptive Matter", a collection of 12 creative projects on the subject of sustainable design. Both run until February 16.
"In China, thousands have had to leave their homes and move into these," says Haner, pointing to an aerial shot of a hastily built resettlement centre, Miaomiao Lake Village, in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region that is now home to 7,000 people from the Muslim Hui ethnic minority.
The exhibition combines dramatic aerial drone footage with intimate still images taken on the ground to convey a serious message in a creative way.
While recent images of the bush fires raging across Australia have added fuel to conversation about the climate crisis, Haner has spent years documenting the realities of climate change for people and places from around the globe.
For example, he has photographed people in Bolivia, South America, who lost their homes " and cultural identity " after the country's second-largest lake, Lake PoopO, dried up, and in the Republic of Kiribati, a nation of islands and atolls in the central Pacific Ocean that is often hit with powerful tidal surges as a result of rising sea levels.
"This woman's story in Kiribati was particularly moving: When the tide is low, she plants mangrove trees in a bid to slow erosion that affects her island," Haner says of one image in the exhibition.
Other aerial shots show the Yellowstone National Park in the US northwest, where warming temperatures have brought rapid changes to the land and wildlife, and a mobile-home park in Santa Rosa, California, that was reduced to ashes in 2017 after wildfires devastated the northern part of the US state.
There's no doubting the images are impressive, but viewed collectively they could trigger a bout of anxiety about the state of planet Earth. That's why "Disruptive Matter" is on show in the same space " it highlights how creative people are finding solutions to the environmental crisis, and perfectly complements Haner's work.
Among the people featured are Chinese designer Deng Qiyun, who is showing "Graft", a collection of biodegradable tableware inspired by the textured skins of fruit and vegetables, while "Future Sea Craft", from Studio Florian and Christine Lew, turns marine waste into modern furnishings.
One of the most impressive exhibits is "Wreck" by Bentu Design, based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, which shows a mass of broken plates and cups to draw attention to waste in the ceramics industry on which the Chinese city of Chaozhou was built.
"The Ocean Cleanup", by Dutch inventor and entrepreneur Boyan Slat, and "Don't Follow the Wind", a project focusing on the radioactive exclusion zone around the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan, are also worth a look.
Disruptive Matter & The New York Times " Carbon's Casualties. HACC " L2, K11 Atelier King's Road, 728 King's Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong. Until February 16. For tickets visit: http://www.k11artfoundation.org/en/admission-tickets/
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