Climate change is real. Climate change is being substantially increased by humans and the carbon we put into the atmosphere. And it appears to be speeding up. If science has made any mistakes, science has been underestimating it.
We still carry this old caveman-imprint idea that we're small, nature's big, and it's everything we can manage to hang on and survive. When big geophysical events happen - a huge earthquake, tsunami, or volcanic eruption - we're reminded of that.
The 'New Yorker' asked me to shoot a story on climate change in 2005, and I wound up going to Iceland to shoot a glacier. The real story wasn't the beautiful white top. It ended up being at the terminus of the glacier where it's dying.
We are now beyond nature's normal variation in terms of how the atmosphere is composed. Nature did something for a million years. It actually goes back a lot further than that, but the ice core records show a million years. So, nature has this normal oscillation within this zone, and all of a sudden, we're forty percent outside that zone.
There is a glacier in Iceland, Solheimar, which has retreated a great deal, and every time I go back there and see what's not there any more, it does something to the heart. It makes you realise it's possible for a gigantic natural element to just disappear.
When you put the subjectivity of the art together with the context of the science, you have this very powerful conjunction of opposites and together they are greater than either one could ever be.
You know, we humans are programmed to think that big changes on the Earth happened a long time ago, or will happen a long time in the future. What we don't realize is that they actually can happen right now. Right here, right now, while we're alive, in our own hours and days and months and years.
Climate change should not fundamentally be seen as a political or partisan issue, but it has been turned into a political football primarily by the climate deniers who have a vested interested in maintaining the status quo. That includes certain industrial interests, financial interests and political interests.
The scientist-community guy may get a $500,000 grant, and if his equipment works or doesn't work, he still gets a gold star for doing the science experiment. For me, there is no merit in anything for doing an experiment; I have to go home with pictures.
When I worked with wildlife a lot in the Eighties and Nineties, I learnt the meaning of patience. And when I worked with trees, I learned the meaning of humility.