THE WITNESS TREE: Recording Climate Change in Cost Rica, Antarctica and the Amazon Rainforest

Brooklyn landscape photographer Carolyn Monastra recently completed an adventure-filled ride down the Amazon River in February as she continued her travels to record the effects of climate change.  I first wrote last fall about her project The Witness Tree, which will continue to take Carolyn around the world this year to document sites affected by the warming temperatures.  I wanted to track her artistic project further, because I believe it is a truly courageous one, funded by a grant as well as donations.

Carolyn is targeting international locations like the Amazon River that represent a diversity of natural environments and cultures to demonstrate, in her words, “that this is indeed a global epidemic.”  She started her current travels in Costa Rica, where she first visited two permaculture farms started by concerned citizens working to restore Mother Earth’s Greenery. This was a fun-filled side-trip showcasing heroic farming efforts by volunteers from the U.S. and other countries to thwart climate change.  She then chronicled her visit to the threatened Monteverde Cloud Forest.  This usually misty forest has environmentalists concerned, she says, because it is being affected by warming temperatures which are causing its vital clouds to form higher up in the atmosphere, decreasing the number of misty days during the dry season.  She has amazing photographs of the flora and fauna in the forest that are already being affected, and she especially loves the beautiful orchids.

Her next posting was even further south in Antarctica, where she reported that ice is melting more in this region than anywhere else in the world and the rate of melting is accelerating more rapidly than was initially thought. Ninety percent of the world’s ice and about 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is contained in Antarctica, she warns.  Despite the subzero cold, Carolyn can’t find enough superlatives to describe the beauty of the scenery as she eagerly photographs it. She also issues an alarm about the consequences facing the rest of the world if this rate of melting continues.

As Carolyn heads into the seventh month of her journey, I hope you won’t want to miss the opportunity to share the drama of her latest explorations, including her dramatic photographs of the Amazon Rainforest, on her blog at .  Carolyn’s Witness Tree Project is both an incredible educational experience and a tribute to the power of one individual in our global media  age.


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