Islands in the Anthropocene

Photography Trip to Iceland and Cuba – May 2018

What do Iceland and Cuba have in common?

Besides the fact that they are islands struggling for survival in the midst of rising seas and climate changes, they are both destinations for Dr. Michael Mortimer, and an intrepid group of photographers traveling with Photo Workshop Adventures in May 2018.

Do you have a camera? Do you like to travel? Can you imagine experiencing these two polar opposite environments, back to back, in 14 days?

If so, read on….

In the early 21st century, whether we knew it or not, the world entered the Anthropocene—a new epoch where human presence is felt in every system on the planet, and where nothing on the planet is free from the influence of humanity. The Anthropocene forces us to recognize that the environmental problems we now face are our own doing, and the solutions are likewise ours to craft. Island nations such as Iceland and Cuba are unique in this rapidly changing world. They are struggling with threats to biodiversity, sea level rise, food security, and water supplies.

ICELAND+CUBA

Islands in the Anthropocene is a unique, one-time travel offering for comparing two fascinating island nations from a photographic perspective. We will be exploring together the risks and possibilities these two places face in the decades to come.

But here’s where it gets really exciting (and different)… this adventure is not just about photography. Dr. Michael Mortimer, the Founding Director and Faculty Member at the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability at Virginia Tech, is traveling with the group on this amazing journey. Best of all, he is an accomplished photographer and makes it a point to always have his camera with him while traveling the globe.

Iceland — The land of the Northern Lights and harsh but spectacular landscapes. But what of its environment? Or its future? Is everything as it seems?

Consider:

  • Iceland has been ranked one of the ‘greenest’ countries in the world, yet the little island produces more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than most of the countries in Europe, and other island nations like Japan and the United Kingdom.
  • What will the effects of global climate change be on Iceland’s dramatic but surprisingly fragile landscape? Since when are more trees a problem?
  • Are Iceland’s iconic glaciers disappearing? Are its seas rising?
  • Are Iceland’s geothermal power and hydropower the clean, green alternatives they’re cracked up to be? Are they a solution or part of the problem?

 

Cuba — A tropical paradise with a storied past, Cuba offers us a unique view of a world few have been able to see. Is it the world’s most sustainable country? Is this island a model for sustainable development in the Anthropocene?

Consider:

  • Cuba has recently been ranked by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the world’s most sustainable places due to its high score on the human development index compared to its relatively low economic output and rates of material production and consumption.
  • How has Cuba managed to protect tropical rainforests and coral reefs, build sustainable food and agriculture systems, and provide universal healthcare and education despite economic sanctions and geopolitical marginalization?
  • How are climate change and the rise of international tourism threatening Cuba’s rich natural and cultural heritage, from mangrove forests and untouched beaches to colonial architecture and historic farm communities?
  • Is Cuba a model of self-reliance? Is the island a shining example of sustainable luxury? What lessons does Cuba have to teach us about living the good life in the Anthropocene?

Photo Workshop Adventures invites you to explore these issues through the lens of your camera. Come along if you love photography, are concerned about the planet’s future, and want to learn more about both.