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FEATURE STORY

Colombia: 18-year-old takes picture of drought and wins international award

March 4, 2013


Image

"Drought: Water is source of life for nature and it is a reality that the planet is suffering from climate change. The most intense drought in Colombia would be just ahead. Agriculture, cattle, forests and health are the most affected by this phenomenon. Water is life; Do you value your life? Value water."

Photo by: Oliver Olivella

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The photograph “The drought” by Oliver Olivella, an 18-year-old Colombian, was one of the winning projects in the Voices4Climate competition.
  • Awards went to videos, photos and podcasts on climate change, sent by 19 young people from 14 countries.
  • Oliver took the picture to show the damage done to nature in a place where he used to play when he was a child.

An earth that yearns for water, cracked, and two naked feet, alone on the dry ground. The photograph, taken by Oliver Olivella, an 18-year-old Colombian, was one of the winning projects of the Voices4Climate competition, sponsored by the World Bank.

During an event last Friday in the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington, DC, 19 young people from 14 countries were awarded for their photographs, videos and podcasts on climate change.

Oliver was one of them. The young man from Cartagena de Indias, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, is a photography student in Bogota.

 “I always considered that photography is a form of communication, a form of expression,” explains Oliver. He says about his photo that it is “simple, but it explains itself alone, by itself it explains the environment problem.”

A pond turns into a dump

Oliver took the photograph last year in a municipality near Cartagena, called Turbaco, where he lived for nine years. Parts of his family still lives there.

He lived very close to the place where he took the picture. They played there when they were children, says Oliver. “When I was little, I remember that a natural pond would form when it rained, and it was surrounded by many trees.”


" It is simple, but it explains itself alone, by itself it explains the environment problem "

Oliver Olivella


“Nowadays, because of the pollution of the people, it has been turned into a dump,” he explains. He describes that the trees don’t have leaves any more, and that the green disappeared.

He still goes and visits the municipality to see his family. And one day, he came with his sister to see the place where he used to play with his friends.

 “I was surprised to find that the earth wasn’t even normal, it was very dry,” he says. It seemed very strange to him. So he took off his shoes to feel the earth, and shot the picture. “I took it thinking about the environment problem,” he says.

The event in Washington was organized by Connect4Climate, a global Alliance on climate change of the World Bank, the Global Environment Fund, and the Italian Environment Ministry.

Apart from the image, Oliver reinforces the message in the legend that he wrote for his photograph: Water is life; Do you value your life? Value water.

About the World Bank in Colombia

The World Bank is collaborating with Colombia on development issues like climate change by offering a whole array of knowledge, financial and convening activities, including giving technical assistance and analysis, and bringing key stakeholders together.


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