Climate change is happening. I have seen it with my own eyes, and I see it right now. I have stood in the empty rookeries of displaced Adelie penguins, and felt a chill from the receding ice of the Antarctic Peninsula. I saw young black spruces growing higher than ever before on boreal hillsides in Alaska, and subtle changes transform the tundra. Near my home in the Pacific Northwest, I watch the slowly melting glaciers, and in the Andes, have rephotographed 65-year-old images of great glaciers to show them wasting away. Along the coasts, I have seen rising tides and heavy storms erode beaches. In the woods of eastern North America, I walked through spring wildflowers and spotted incoming migrant songbirds, knowing them to be arriving disconcertingly early.
I made these and other observations as part of a personal photographic project, “World View of Global Warming.” I wanted to venture beyond the raw statistics, the charts and the predictions. I wanted to create an alternative to the numbers, the arguments over “who's to blame, ” and what palliative measures governments and corporations might be willing to take. I looked instead at the earth itself, with the eyes of a natural history photographer. Global warming and climate change have been set in motion. Ecosystems and species are already reacting. In both remote locations and familiar gardens and parks, scientists are devoting their careers to documenting the effects. This evidence, however, is largely dismissed by the Bush administration and is just beginning to be debated in Congress and by politicians. The visi-