Child Survival in a Changing Climate
Project location: WORLDWIDE, Various Countries
Project start date: August 2010 - Project end date: August 2012
Project number: 2010-24
Beneficiary: Associazione Witness Image
The non-profit association Witness Image was created on June 16, 2010 by photographer Luca Catalano Gonzaga, in order to promote cultural and social issues such as respect for human rights. The Association, in particular, aims to communicate, through the simple and universal language of photography, serious human rights discriminations, in order to raise public awareness, in the hope of contributing to the protection of human rights worldwide.
The Witness Image Project, supported by the Nando Peretti Foundation, will be carried out by photographer Luca Catalano Gonzaga. Luca Catalano Gonzaga was born in Rome in 1965, where he now lives. After graduating in Economics, he began a career in communications, in collaboration with Mondadori, Publikompass, Mediaset and NBC Universal. During these years he developed his passion for photography. In 2004 he received from the Sovereign Military Order of Malta an assignment to create a communication project with the aim of witnessing, through the language of photography, humanitarian work done by the Knights. Between 2004 and 2005 he has produced several photo reports for the SMOM, traveling through Cambodia, Italy, Laos, Lebanon, Palestine, Poland and Romania. In May 2006, he made a solo exhibition sponsored by the SMOM and the City of Rome at the Galleria Valentina Moncada, Rome.
After his experience of humanitarian reporting around the world, in 2007 he started to develop a photographic project called "Worldless Children", on the rights of children worldwide. Since 2008 he has worked full time in the reports on violations of human rights and in 2009 he received the "Grand Prix Care du Reportage Humanitarie 2009" thanks to a photo report on child labor in Nepal, presented at the Festival International du Photojournalisme Visa Pour l'Image in Perpignan.
The two-year project "Climate Change and Child Rights", aims to show the consequences of climate change on the environment and living conditions of populations, especially children, through a photo essay and a brief media report.
Climate changes are one of the biggest challenges humanity will face in the coming years. Global warming, ice melting, the frequency of droughts and floods are all symptoms of the ongoing climate change. There are huge risks for the planet and for future generations and 175 million children are in danger because of these changes, 40% more than in the past decade. Global warming is seriously changing the everyday lives of the population. The expansion of the desert area and rising sea levels, are throwing families who depend on agriculture into poverty.
Although climate change is a global phenomenon, the effects of global warming mainly concern the underdeveloped nations, and particularly children, increasing the already high causes of infant mortality. For example, every year malaria kills about 800,000 children under 5 years of age and this number is expected to increase with increasing temperatures.
Climate change will have devastating effects also on malnutrition. According to UNICEF, in the year 2050 there will be 25 million malnourished children. The correlation between climate change and social, economic and political problems may force migration of children (eco-refugees), causing their separation from families and exposure to any kind of exploitation. The frequency and violence of natural disasters in the last twenty years have shown how necessary it is to try to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by using alternative energy, and plan investments to avoid that climate change have devastating consequences in areas where there is no civil protection.
The realization of this project involves two stages:
1. The production of more than 500 images, covering a variety of topics:
- Desertification and child malnutrition in Burkina Faso (the Sahel);
- Malaria and the impact of climate change in Zambia (Lusaka);
- Rising sea levels and floods in Bangladesh (Bengal Bay);
- The effect of climate on eco-refugees in Kenya (on the border with Somalia);
- The impact of climate change on glaciers in the Himalayas of Nepal (Tsho Rolpa glacial lake);
- The development of renewable energy in India (Dhule) and China (Jiangsu Province).
2. The presentation of a multimedia project.
The multimedia projects consist of ten videos composed of a sequence of slides (one video for each country visited). The development of these projects is preceded by the creation of a storyboard (drawing of the shots of the work), which is useful to define the sequence of photographs through a narrative and aesthetic criteria to present the report with a new multimedia language. This is a new form of photographic development which uses the integration of cinematographic techniques and voice-overs, to best narrate the story and gives new sensory dimensions to the classic sequence of images.
In September 2012, the Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia in partnership with UNICEF supported the exibition of the project of Witness Image in Milan. The event was a great success, covered by several media and followed by the invitation for a new exibition to be held in Rome and sponsored by the Rome Province.
In order to promote the issue raised by the project and raise awareness on the issue of climate change and how it can affect especially the lives of children around the world, the Association believed it important to take this opportunity to show the exhibition in Rome.
The exibition was held in Rome, Palazzo Valentini, from 23 to 31 of October 2012, under the auspices of Provincia di Roma. Approximately 60 photographs were exhibited and a video of the project was shown . The opening ceremony was attended by the President of Provincia di Roma and other insitutional representatives.
The exibition is expected to raise public awareness on the risks that children are exposed to because of global warming. The expected success of the initiative will also help to disseminate information about the project and will attract interest for further exhibitions in Italy and Europe.