Thank you to our own Roger Doudna, who is also featured in the portrait project, for sharing this post. Roger is a long term resident of the Findhorn Community, an ecovillage in the north of Scotland. He lives in a self-built house made from a whiskey barrel.
“We all know about climate change in a sweeping and abstract way; we understand that sea levels are rising, that coastlines are in danger, that animal populations are dwindling, and that we can no longer tame weather patterns and natural disasters. We recognize where our governments and global communities have failed, but for many of us, suggests photographer Neil Baird, our comprehension of climate change has one gaping blind spot: our own role in the problem. For Footprints, he documents and interviews people living around the United Kingdom about their thoughts on the significance of climate change and our uncertain future, all while calculating their individual carbon footprints.
“It was likely his non-judgmental, open attitude, guesses the photographer, that encouraged people from all lifestyles to participate. He started with friends and friends of friends, expanding his network to include anyone with an interest in being involved. His subjects’ footprints range from four to fifty tons per year, and he too was not exempt from the process; throughout the series, he has continuously recorded his own emissions: “To date, the footprint of this project has been 907.18kg CO2e, mostly spent on travel in my small car, which averages 54.5 mpg,” explains Baird.
“Those with higher footprints, admits the photographer, tended to be more surprised than those with lower rankings, who were generally more conscious about their lifestyles and impact. Although Baird’s subject matter is certainly a heavy one—and some of his subjects remain discouraged about our future—the photographer finds moments of hope, and Footprints is equally a tribute to our potential for change. Some steps towards repairing the earth are small ones, while some are more difficult, but Baird urges us to take some action, whether that be giving up or decreasing the amount of meat consumed, traveling by foot and bike rather than by car or plane, or switching to a 100% renewable energy tariff (Baird recommends Good Energy and Ecotricity).
“Ultimately, Footprints has empowered the photographer to look inwards; “It’s enlightening and liberating when you understand that the way you live impacts your own carbon footprint, and that you can actually make a positive impact,” he says, adding that we “do indeed have choices, not always easy ones, but choices nonetheless.””
Read the full story by Ellyn Kail….