Images from a warming planet

By Ashley Cooper, ISBN 978-1-5262-0592-6

I first learned of this book on Twitter and pledged on Cooper’s Kickstarter page. While the Kickstarter campaign didn’t reach its target, many people – including myself – elected to support him directly and my copy of Images From A Warming Planet arrived this morning.

It wrecked my day’s schedule, as, overwhelmed by Cooper’s photography skills, I looked at over 500 photos, read the illuminating text and wrote this review.

In carefully curated sections, Cooper shares his thirteen-year, round-world odyssey. Each photo is stunning, though occasionally it is easy to forget the premise of the book until you read the, often heartbreaking, words.

A Great Tit (Parus major) nesting in a garden pot in the UK. The UK has the longest nest record scheme in the world run by the British Trust for Ornithology. Their records show that Great Tit now nest up to 14 days earlier in Spring due to climate change.

A male Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) that starved to death as a consequence of climate change. This male Polar Bear was last tracked by the Norwegian Polar Institute in April 2013 in southern Svalbard. Polar bears need sea ice to hunt their main prey, seals. Western fjords of Svalbard, which normally freeze in winter, remained ice free during the winter of 2012 / 13. This bear headed hundreds of miles north, looking for suitable sea ice to hunt on; finding none  it collapsed and died. The future for Polar Bear looks bleak in a climate changing world. Recent scientific studies show that Polar Bear are getting thinner and weighing less due primarily to less time to hunt in the winter and a longer fasting period in summer. Without sea ice, they will no doubt all starve to death.
However, in many cases, we see clear natural devastation: felled trees, desiccated lands, dead animals and polluted waterways.

Further pictures show the impact of climate change and pollution on humanity: destroyed homes, sick and displaced people and the loss (physical not metaphorical) of land.

Expect incredible portraits of the industry that gives so much with one hand while helping us destroy our home with the other.
Emmissions from a Petrochemical works at Seal Sands on Teeside, UK.
Emissions from a Petrochemical works at Seal Sands on Teeside, UK.

Dawn over Whitelee wind farm on Eaglesham Moor just south of Glasgow in Scotland. It is Europe’s largest onshore wind farm with 215 turbines and an installed capacity of 539 MW.
Its hard not to appreciate the beauty shown in cooling towers, processing plants and wind turbines.

In his introduction, Jonathan Porritt entreats us not to flick through the book, but Cooper is cleverer than that. Of course, we will browse this coffee table style book and, in doing so, we will be caught up in incontrovertible evidence that we are changing our planet. Even if these changes are not yet evident from the comfort of our armchairs.

You can buy the book directly from Ashley Cooper at: or from major booksellers from 31 December 2016.


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