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photo contest slideshow
Down by the Ocean, Senegal
Follow the Leader, Senegal
Dakar Beach Wrestling
Ali, musician.
Broom seller.
A businessman assesses the damage from extreme erosion from a particularly high tide.
Idda Ka, a herder, says it has become difficult to feed his herds due to lack of rain. His sons are the first generation to seek work in neighboring towns, as herding is no longer sustainable.
Men inspect a well that has become too salinated for farming use.
Women gather the day's catch. In the Guet Ndar fishing community, families are coping with rising seas and overpopulation.
Baye Sarr, a fishing captain, heading out to sea. Many fisherman in Senegal say the winds and storms are stronger and more unpredictable.
Boly Sarr, a retired fisherman in his home. He says they once had to drag their boats very far to reach the sea, and due to rising seas now store the boats in the streets of the community.
A Man Looks Out the Door
A young boy plays with a toy boat in the boatbuilding center of the fishing community, Guet Ndar.
A man tries to tame his sheeps
Silhouettes from Gorée
The Last Campaign of Abdoulaye Wade
Mosque Building
Gorée Island Art and Cattle
Eating at a restaurant in Senegal
Abene, Senegal
child by a ree
Abene, Senegal
14th Annual Photo Contest
A Man Looks Out the Door

This photo won the Sustainable Travel category of our 14th Annual Photo Contest. See all of the winners and finalists here.

To me, sustainable travel means making connections with individuals, communities and landscapes. I usually hope to spend a month in one place, allowing me to get to know local people, from shopkeepers to scientists. I try to find ways to understand and document the issues that have the most impact on their daily lives. In this image, a man is looking out a door that just hours before led to his family's bedroom. The tide was particularly high that day, and because of rising sea levels, the sea had risen high enough to chew away at the home. The back rooms crumbled into the sea while his family carried their belongings out the front door. Several homes fell into the sea that morning. In an overpopulated community like Guet Ndar, the fishing village in Saint Louis, Senegal, many families may live in one home. So the loss of a home is particularly impactful.

When I first arrived in Senegal, I spent my first few days asking people about what matters most to them, what changes they had seen in the community, what worried them, etc. Many people were worried about the increasing impacts of climate change. Herders living inland said there was so little rain, they couldn't feed their herds and had become the first generation in their lineage to look for supplementary work outside of herding. Fishermen described their homes becoming inundated with water and the seas becoming more volatile.

I spent a month in Senegal documenting climate change as a human rights issue. I started photographing the issue through human relationships to the environment and to one another. The morning I photographed the high tides and the loss of homes was part of a personal realization that climate change isn't just an environmental issue, it's a human one. And I realized that the people who contributed very little to the problem―those living in poverty or directly dependent on natural resources―will be the first to feel the impacts of climate change. And they are already beginning to deeply feel the effects. It sparked my interest in learning about an environmental issues through conversation and photography. A year later, I spent a month in Panama's Guna Yala region, an archipelago of tribally held islands in which communities are facing relocation (or already relocating) due to rising seas, lack of water and other climate-related changes and challenges. I plan to spend a month in four more locations around the world for a total of six "chapters" in the project.

TAGS: Senegal

photographer avatar
Portland, Maine, United States of America
Member since 2016
Photo of the Day: 03.23.17 Editors' Pick Finalist Sustainable Travel Winner
Photo Information
© Greta Rybus.
All rights reserved.
Image Source: digital
Date Taken: 03.2015
Total Views: 8457
Filed Under: Sustainable Travel
Camera Information
Date Uploaded: Nov. 28, 2016, 7:20 p.m.
Camera Make: Canon
Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Focal Length: 31mm
Shutter Speed: 1/400
Aperture: f4
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PHOTO LOCATION Guet Ndar, Saint-Louis, Senegal