SDG13: Climate Action

SDG13: Climate Action
A child sits on a newly felled tree trunk on the edge of the Kahuzi Biega National Park near Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (Photo: Kate Holt)

Every year global greenhouse emissions continue to rise, which is why Sustainable Development Goal 13 is centred on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. According to the Global Forest Watch the world’s tropical forests are shrinking at a staggering rate, the equivalent of 30 football pitches per minute. In 2018 alone, over 12 million hectares of tree cover (an area nearly the size of England) were lost as a result of human causes.

NASA reports, there are many more indicators that climate change is taking place including a rise in global temperatures, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, retreating glaciers, decreased snow cover, and rising sea levels. The effect of this climate change is catastrophic for both animal and human life, particularly in coastal settlements below sea level, such as Jakarta, which could be flooded by rising sea levels.

Climate change is now so widespread that it is has become a relevant factor in many of the stories we document. In an article, we recently prepared for The Guardian, Arete photographer Kate Holt covers the multi-faceted problems with protecting the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These forests take up to 120 years to mature and a matter of days to destroy. But the people destroying them are only doing so to earn a living.


SDG13: Climate Action
“Bonne Annee”, an Eastern Lowland Gorilla, sits and eats vegetation in the Kahuzi Biega National Park, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (Photo: Kate Holt)

There is a careful balance to be struck between the people of the land, the animals that reside there, and the preservation of the rainforest. Although combating climate change is of the utmost importance in developed countries, to the people of many of the worlds lesser developed countries, it is seen as a luxury they cannot afford or do not understand. This is why as photojournalists we must take a nuanced approach when reporting these stories, taking the time to understand the situation and motivation of all parties involved.

In the run up to the first UN summit on the SDGs on 24th and 25th September, we have been publishing a daily blog on how we help organisations to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Check out our blogs here.