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    Brent Stirton, who has previously received accolades for stories about war, health, and human rights, has been named Wildlife Photographer of the Year by the Natural History Museum London. His work on God’s Ivory, which explores the illegal ivory trade and its connection to religious iconography, embodies Stirton’s penchant for complex stories. “I work in the area of sustainability and diminishing resources,” he explains, “and I increasingly see a connection between all of these in terms of conflict, human drama, and migration. It’s all interconnected.”

    Video: God’s Ivory, story by Bryan Christy and Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images. Produced by Andrew Hida

    'A career in the oil sands may sound good to some people, but really it is the death of their culture because it’s taking the new generation to work toward a completely different way of life. And it’s a way of life that embraces the destruction of their land.

    These people who have hunted this land for a hundred years can read their environment like a book. They know when something’s wrong. They open up an animal, they can see the health of that animal by how it looks. The industry and the government don’t really take that knowledge seriously.’

    Our friend and former Reportage Emerging Talent Ian Willms’s work from the the First Nations land in Alberta, Canada, was featured on NYT Lens blog yesterday. Read more - An Indigenous Way of Life Threatened by Oil Sands in Canada

    'The Renewables Project is a unique photographic vision of the hydroelectric landscapes of Scotland mid-winter. Nocturnal icy vistas combine with brutalist structures in this award-winning series of large-format images.’

    Toby Smith will be showing more from this project, and also images from Light After Dark, at The Hospital Club in London this weekend. Read more on the Getty Images blog.

    Oil has often brought tumultuous change to the region under which it is discovered. Geologists and oil companies have long known that the Bakken oil field under North Dakota existed, but, until the development of efficient fracking technology, there was no cost-effective way of extracting it. That has changed, and so has Williston, ND. The deluge of oil workers arriving in town has caused a spike in crime and a severe housing shortage. Rental prices rival those in Manhattan, and workers sleep in their cars or in the local church. Despite this, the lure of high-paying jobs will likely continue to draw hordes to Williston.

    See more from Charles Ommanney’s ‘The Promised Land’ here.

    NIGER - Tuareg Nomad women dance at a baptism in the desert. This group has been in the region for the rainy season, taking advantage of easy water and good grasses for the animals. MNJ rebels are fighting the Niger government because they feel that the traditional grazing lands and water rights of the Tuareg are threatened by the Uranium industry. KENYA:Pokot tribesman attacked a Samburu village in a dispute over cattle grazing rights at a time of drought in the region. 50 cattle were shot and over 300 died later from lack of grazing access

    Today is World Water Day

    The world’s most abundant resource is also one of its most problematic. Climate change has brought a noticeable rise in drought and desertification. 258 million people in African have no access to clean water, and what is available often introduces a wide spectrum of disease or conflict into communities.

    These problems bring with them a host of political, tribal, and gender issues. Community-based solutions exist; what is lacking are solutions at a global level.

    See more from Brent Stirton's 'Water is Personal' here.

    LAS CHUNAS, CHACO, ARGENTINA: Juan Carlos Cardoso, 23, has suffered from Cerebral Palsy and a type of Spina Bifida since birth; his mother Carmen takes care of him. In Argentina, there is no national law regulating herbicides, and fumigations in the agricultural fields have been denounced as the cause of an increasing number of birth defects and a 30% spike in cancer cases.

    Chaco native Katherina Pardo, 21, recalls that when she was a student and a plane passed overhead, some of the children would pass out. “We just took it as something normal, at a certain time of the year, at the time of the fumigations. People would begin to feel sick; there would be headaches and fainting. I always blamed the drinking water.” 

    From Stories of a Wounded Land, by Alvaro Ybarra Zavala.

    OWANDO, REPUBLIC OF CONGO - MAY 12, 2011: A local volunteer with the Congolese Red Cross prepares cassava cuttings tolerant to mosaic disease, a plant virus which limits production of the important food crop, that will be distributed to the local population. (Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Reportage by Getty Images for ICRC)

    Jonathan Torgovnik has been named a Canon Explorer.

    In 1989 the world voted to create a global ban on the ivory trade. Since then, tens of millions of dollars in illegal ivory has been smuggled and hundreds of thousands of elephants have been slaughtered.  No single ivory trafficking kingpin has ever been identified and sent to prison.

    The most common use of high-end ivory is for the carving of religious icons. This is a centuries-old trade that continues unabated today. Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, Taoist leaders and Hindu believers bless ivory carvings. These blessings add exponentially to the value of the carvings. High-end pieces can sell for up to $500,000.

    From the feature God’s Ivory, by Brent Stirton

    The latest cover of Time, ‘Lessons from the Storm,’ was shot with an iPhone by Ben Lowy.  

    gettyimages:

    Hurricane Sandy Bears Down On U.S. Mid-Atlantic Coastline

    Resident Kim Johnson inspects the area around her apartment building, which flooded and destroyed large sections of an old boardwalk, on October 30, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

    Johnson fled the area when the water began to rise yesterday. The storm has claimed at least 16 lives in the United States, and has caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard.

    US President Barack Obama has declared the situation a ‘major disaster’ for large areas of the US East Coast including New York City.

    Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

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