The Environmental Photographer Of The Year 2021 competition winners were announced at this years UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). As you can imagine, the images are as beautiful as they are devastating. 

Receiving over 7000 images from over 120 nations, these important images tell the stories of the climate and ecological emergency. And it doesn’t look good. From flooded homes to floating gardens, artificial snow to photobioreactors, these photos, as well as highlighting the disastrous state of our planet, also capture humankind’s ability to adapt and innovate through man-made technologies.

A collaboration between independent charity Ciwem and streaming channel WaterBear, alongside Nikon Europe and Arup, the awards provide an international platform to raise awareness for the environmental issues that put our planet at risk. 

Spanish photographer Antonio Aragón Renuncio received the top prize for his photo titled “The rising tide sons”. The photo depicts a child sleeping inside his house destroyed by coastal erosion on Afiadenyigba beach in Ghana, spotlighting the rising sea-levels in West-African countries which have forced thousands to leave their homes. 

The Young Environmental Photographer of the Year was awarded to Amaan Ali from India, for his work titled “Inferno”. The image shows a boy fighting surface fires in a forest near his home in Yamuna Ghat, New Delhi, India. 

Other notable images include Kevin Ochieng Onyango’s image “The Last Breath”, which shows a little boy breathing through a face mask and tube attached to a plant seedling, highlighting our reliance on the natural environment to produce oxygen.

Michele Lapini’s “Flood” captures a house submerged by the flooding of the River Panaro in the Po Valley, Italy, due to heavy rainfall and melting snow.

Sandipani Chattopadhyay’s powerful image captures algal blooms in West Bengal caused by irregular monsoon seasons and droughts. These algal blooms prevent oxygen absorption and subsequently impact human health and surrounding habitats.

Looking towards the future, Simone Tramonte’s entry titled “Net-Zero transition - Photobioreactor”, depicts a photobioreactor at Algalif’s facilities in Iceland which produces sustainable astaxanthin products. Iceland has abandoned fossil fuels in favour of 100% renewable sources for electricity and heat. 

Although the official awards were announced at this year's COP26 climate conference, you can still get involved by voting for the People’s Choice Award via social media. Get your vote in at The Environmental Photographer of the Year on Instagram before 1 December 2021.