Water, water everywhere

Arctic Life
Arctic Life. Ragnar Axelsson

Water, water everywhere

With displays along the riverside, the GreenLight series of exhibitions explores humanity’s deep and sometimes damaging relationship with one of our most precious resources, water.

Two of those exhibitions, which open formally this Saturday, on the last night of the Angkor Photo Festival, were submitted by Greenpeace. In The Coalification of Water and Inner Mongolia, the environmental organisation takes a look at the harm caused by the coal industry. “Obviously, Greenpeace demonises coal because of the climate,” said John Novis, head of photography at Greenpeace International.

“But there’s this lesser-known thing about water, and the way the industry consumes vast quantities of it before spewing it out again as pollution, creating a double-whammy for the environment, farming and local communities.”

Stark images of wasted, alien landscapes created by open strip mining, cows scratching for nourishment on degraded grasslands, and filthy water being pumped back into rivers are part of award-winning environmental photographer Lu Guang’s documentation of how the coal industry is destroying a once fertile region in Inner Mongolia.

Also on the riverside, The Last Days of the Arctic by Ragnar Axelsson is a haunting black and white homage to the communities who live and hunt on the dwindling Arctic landscape, their existence and way of life threatened by global warming and the fight over rights to rich resources.

Meanwhile, Lâm Duc Hiên takes us on a 4,200 kilometre journey along the Mekong from Vietnam to Tibet with The Mekong: Stories of Man. The exploration, which takes place over 15 years, looks at how that river shapes the lives of those who live alongside it.

The Greenpeace exhibitions open at 5pm, at the Raffles Riverside Gardens.

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