The Environmental Photographer of the Year – 14th edition

    17 Nov 2021

    Now in its 14th year, The Environmental Photographer of the Year competition showcases the most inspirational environmental photography worldwide.  The award celebrates humanity’s ability to survive and innovate and showcases thought-provoking images that call attention to our impact and inspire us to live sustainably.

    The winners have been announced in the environmental photographer of the year competition, organized by environmental and water management charity CIWEM and WaterBear, a free streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet. The awards celebrate humanity’s ability to survive and innovate, and showcase thought-provoking images that highlight our impact and inspire us to live sustainably

    Vote for the people’s choice award here!


    The competition is free to enter for all ages. Entries closed on 14 August 2021 and winners have been announced at COP26 in November 2021. 

    The picture on the cover of the news is called “The rising tide sons ” and it was taken by Spanish photographer Antonio Aragón Renuncio. He has won the top prize of “Environmental Photographer Of The Year 2021” competition, the results of which were summed up at COP26. It depicts a child sleeping inside his house destroyed by coastal erosion on Afiadenyigba beach in Ghana.

    The photo shines a spotlight on the rising sea-levels in West-African countries, which has forced thousands of people to leave their homes.

    Mr Renuncio received £10,000 prize money.



    More photos from the award (they are all so beautiful and scary at the same time) are on the website and the Instagram of the competition (to which very few people have subscribed – do you want to become a new subscriber?).



    The categories are:

    •       Environmental Photographer of the Year
    •       Young Environmental Photographer of the Year
    •       Environments of the Future
    •       Sustainable Cities
    •       Climate Action
    •       Water and Security
    •       The Resilient Award

    People’s Choice (for the last category, visit the competition on Instagram and hit like to vote for your favorite photos with the hashtag #EPOTYPeoplesChoice2021 before 1st December!).

    The Environmental Photographer of the Year supports the urgent calls to action of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, recognising the intricate interconnected nature of development, poverty reduction, equality, security and climate action and the unprecedented effort from all sectors of society required to address the defining issues of our time.

    The competition supports the urgent calls to action of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and recognizes the intricate interconnected nature of development, poverty reduction, equality, security and climate action and the unprecedented effort from all sectors of society needed to address the defining issues of our time.

    This year’s collaboration between WaterBear Network, Nikon Europe and CIWEM is empowered by the media reach and storytelling capabilities of the WaterBear platform and global network and the specialist expertise of CIWEM and Nikon.

    The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is a Royal Chartered independent professional body and a registered charity in the United Kingdom working internationally to advance the practice of water and environmental management. CIWEM represents a community of 30,000 professionals with a shared vision for a safe and sustainable world.

    WaterBear is the first network of its kind: a free interactive video and digital platform dedicated to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It does this through inspirational content, cutting-edge technology that facilitates action, and through its global network of partners. It uniquely empowers the viewer to take direct instant action to support NGOs around the world and shape a better future for our fragile planet


    The list of this year’s winners for The Environmental Photographer of the year 2021

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



    Additional winners were recognised in 5 categories:

    •       Environments of the Future: Flood, Michele Lapini, 2020
    •       Sustainable Cities: Net-Zero transition – Photobioreactor, Simone Tramonte, 2020
    •       Climate Action: The Last breath, Kevin Ochieng Onyango, 2021
    •       Water and Security: Green barrier, Sandipani Chattopadhyay, 2021
    •       The Resilient Award: Survive for alive, Ashraful Islam, 2021

    The Environmental Photographer Of The Year competition, now in its 14th year, showcases some of the world’s most inspirational environmental photography.

    The award celebrates humanity’s ability to survive and innovate and supports the calls to action in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

    The winners of this year’s competition were revealed at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

    Here are other winning photos from the competition, with descriptions by the photographers.


    The Resilient Award: Survive for Alive, by Ashraful Islam, taken in Noakhali, Bangladesh


    “Flocks of sheep search for grass amongst the cracked soil.

    “Extreme droughts in Bangladesh have created hardships for all living beings.”

    Sustainable Cities winner: Net-zero Transition – Photobioreactor, by Simone Tramonte, taken in Reykjanesbær, Iceland




    “A photobioreactor at Algalif’s facilities in Reykjanesbaer, Iceland, produces sustainable astaxanthin using clean geothermal energy.


    “Iceland has shifted from fossil fuels to electricity and heat from renewable sources.”

    Climate Action winner: The Last Breath, by Kevin Ochieng Onyango, taken in Nairobi, Kenya




    “A boy takes in air from the plant, with a sand storm brewing in the background, in an artistic impression of the changes to come.”

    Water and Security winner: Green Barrier, by Sandipani Chattopadhyay, taken at Damodar river, West Bengal, India




    “Irregular monsoon seasons and droughts cause algal bloom on the Damodar river, India.

    “Algal blooms prevent light from penetrating the surface and prevent oxygen absorption by the organisms beneath, impacting human health and habitats in the area.”

    Environments of the Future winner: Flood, by Michele Lapini, taken at River Panaro, Nonantola, Modena, Italy




    “A house is submerged by the flooding of the River Panaro in the Po Valley due to heavy rainfall and melting snow.”

    Here are some of the shortlisted images in the competition.

    Fishing in River, by Ashraful Islam, taken in Sirajgong, Bangladesh




    “Algae accumulates and fills the whole river, then many boatmen come here to fish in the water.

    “The river is filled with green moss.”

    Drying Incense, by Azim Khan Ronnie, taken in Hanoi, Vietnam




    “Vietnamese workers sit, surrounded by thousands of incense sticks in Quang Phu Cau, a village in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the sticks have been traditionally made for hundreds of years.

    “Incense plays an important role in the spiritual lives of Vietnamese people.”

    Hooked Pup, by Celia Kujala, taken around Coronado Islands, Baja California, Mexico




    “I met this California sea lion pup with a hook embedded in his mouth.

    “For the duration of the dive he stayed near me and seemed to be asking for help.”

    The Nemo’s Garden, by Giacomo d’Orlando, taken in Noli, Italy




    “The Nemo’s Garden represents an alternative system of agriculture especially dedicated to areas where environmental conditions make plant growth extremely difficult.

    “This self-sustainable project aims at making underwater farming a viable eco-friendly solution to counteract the increasing climate-change pressures on our future.”

    Environment Confined in Plastic, by Subrata Dey, taken in Chittagong, Bangladesh




    “I captured this picture from a plastic-recycling factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

    “Plastic recycling helps protect the environment from plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Clean Energy, by Pedro de Oliveira Simões Esteves, taken in Serra de São Macário, Portugal




    “Wind-energy turbines, moments before the sun sets over the mountains on a cloudy day.”

    The Polygonal Forest, by Roberto Bueno, taken in Sierra de Béjar, Salamanca, Spain




    “A good management of forests is fundamental to contain climate change.

    “This is a chestnut forest managed by wood owners in a sustainable way.

    “They cut trees in polygonal areas and in the middle of them they leave smaller areas with trees that help the natural reforestation of the wood.”


    All pictures are subject to copyright.


    Earlier, Expo 2020 Dubai witnessed the launch of the sustainability-focused photography competition. You may read more here.

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