Visualizing the Climate Crisis: Climate Migration

May 30, 2024
11:00–12:15PM EDT
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A boy holding a child walks near some houses heavily damaged by the sea in Bargny, Senegal on December 16, 2023. The coastal erosion began in the 1980s but worsened in the early 2000s. Bargny is currently losing three to four meters of coast each year.

Over 370 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced by floods, windstorms, earthquakes, or droughts since 2008, with a record 32 million in 2022 alone. 

Climate change is driving extreme weather events and their consequences, leading to a rise in the number of climate refugees. In the worst-case scenario, 1.2 billion people could be displaced by 2050 due to natural disasters and other ecological threats, according to The Institute for Economics and Peace.

National and international responses to this challenge remain limited, and protection for those affected is inadequate, despite some steps in the right direction. Most importantly, there is no clear definition of a climate refugee, nor are climate refugees covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention. This means that climate cannot currently be cited as a reason for seeking asylum or refugee status.

How can climate migration be visualized? How can we shift perception about this phenomenon? Can visual stories and data visualization work together to tell the whole story to the public?

This is the fifth talk of the series Visualizing the Climate Crisis, which explores the potential and role that contemporary photography, together with other disciplines, can have in addressing the multi-layered theme of climate change.

The series features visual journalists doing evidence-based, research-informed, image-led reporting on climate issues. They will be in conversation with other professionals representing a diverse range of disciplines, such as science, policy-making, education, architecture, social innovation, media, and more, trying to explore the possibility of thinking beyond photography in a genuinely trans-disciplinary approach to expand reach, involve the wider public, and move people from being inspired to taking action.

In this event, Alessio Paduano (documentary photographer) and Federica Fragapane (Information Designer) are in conversation with Maria Teresa Salvati (founder and director of Everything is Connected), moderated by Paul Lowe (Professor of Conflict, Peace and the Image at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London).

This series is organized by Everything is Connected; UAL, University of the Arts London; and VII Insider.


Alessio Paduano is a documentary photographer born and based in Naples, Italy. His work is regularly featured in national and international publications, including La Stampa, Internazionale, Time, Bloomberg, CNN, Newsweek, and Stern.
Federica Fragapane is an independent information designer specializing in data visualizations. Over the years, she has worked on assignments for Google, the United Nations, the Publications Office of the European Union, and BBC Science Focus, and she collaborates periodically with La Lettura – Corriere della Sera.
Maria Teresa Salvati is the founder and director of Everything is Connected, a trans-disciplinary platform that aims at connecting different areas of research and experiments with new ways to involve and engage the public at large, learning through the results of experimentation and providing the community with new paradigms for communicating the environmental crisis.
Dr. Paul Lowe is a Reader in Documentary Photography and the Course Leader of the Masters program in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK. Paul is an award-winning photographer who has been published in TIME, Newsweek, Life, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Observer, and The Independent, amongst others. He has covered breaking news the world over, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela’s release, famine in Africa, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and the destruction of Grozny.

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