World Heritage sites attract us. We visit and are inspired by their aesthetic beauty, conservation values and cultural attachment. Our well-being benefits from encounters with nature and the artifacts and monuments that stand in tribute to the creative efforts of our ancestors. World Heritage sites support us with their ecosystem services. Our understanding of the past we see or imagine in culturally significant sites helps us deal with future changes. World Heritage sites need us. When UNESCO established natural World Heritage sites in 1972, climate change was not recognized as a concern. Climate change is now their biggest threat.
Ashley Nixon is a documentary photographer, writer, filmmaker, and university teacher based in Calgary, Canada. He is a curious explorer of people and places who combines his artistic and scientific sides to communicate about sustainability issues, culture and natural heritage.
Ashley has a Ph.D. in ecology, earned by studying environmental changes associated with woodland restoration on the beautiful island of Rum in the Scottish Hebrides and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. He teaches sustainability and writing about images (photography) at Mount Royal University.
Instagram and Twitter: @JAshleyNixon
World Heritage: Environmental Change
Ashley’s new book to coincide with this exhibition is available at Betula Books. Here is a sampler gallery:
In Conversation: Ryan Wilkes and J. Ashley Nixon
World Heritage sites inspire us with their aesthetic beauty, conservation values and cultural attachment. Their ecosystem services provide us with food, water, and other resources. Athabasca Glacier is part of the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park, Canada. This vast territory of ice reduced by 18 percent between 1985 and 2018. Glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania have declined by more than 80 percent in the last one hundred years. If this rate continues, it will be completely deglaciated by the 2040s. World Heritage sites need us to change and act as climate citizens in this climate crisis.