Visiting the Arctic for 20 years gave photographer Christian Åslund a front-row seat to climate change. In just two decades of working with Greenpeace, he saw drastic declines of sea ice and retreating glaciers. His favorite project during that time, was the glacier comparison at Svalbard. “Interesting on so many levels,” he says in a talk with National Geographic.
For this project, Åslund was granted access to photographic archives from the early 1900s. Together with Greenpeace and the Norwegian Polar Institute, they tracked down where the photographers were when they shot their pictures, and then they went to that exact location, to “sort of follow their footsteps.”
Åslund’s pictures are a painful depiction of the drastic impact climate change has on the Arctic. And given the fact that these pictures were actually taken back in 2003, you can imagine things by now are probably much worse. “What’s happening in the Arctic is spreading around the whole globe,” Åslund notes. “I have also been visiting countries directly affected by climate change—floods, natural disasters, and drought. It is the biggest challenge we face.”
“Everyone’s got to be aware of the problem of climate change before anything can be done. And that is a big step.”