Location: Santa Fe, NM, United States
Changing Perspectives: Chile, examines the evolving nexus between renewable energy development and mining in the Atacama Desert of Chile.
By documenting significant developments in the global energy landscape, I am working to create and share imagery that is focused on solutions. Since 2010, I have photographed renewable energy sites in the American West, Uruguay and Japan, as part of a multi-chaptered documentary project called Changing Perspectives. In 2017, I traveled to northern Chile. Changing Perspectives: Chile represents the newest chapter in this work.
Chile produces half the world's copper and has the largest known lithium reserves. Each day, we utilize Chilean copper in our cars, computers, and smart phones. Northern Chile's mining industry is heavily dependent on imported coal, diesel and liquefied natural gas for its energy. Yet, the geography and geology of the Atacama Desert provide Chile with excellent solar and wind potential. New renewable energy projects in the regions of Antofagasta, Atacama, and Tarapacá supply electricity to the northern grid, transmit power to population centers in the south, and are beginning to reduce mining's dependence on fossil fuels. As the cost of solar and wind energy dropped below that of coal two years ago, renewable energy now presents a viable economic opportunity for mines with the added benefit of reducing the industry's carbon footprint.
We are at a critical juncture in the evolution of our species. How we choose to live on Earth in the coming decades will determine not only our prospects for survival, but also the viability of the global ecosystem. Innovative ventures in many countries reflect a positive international commitment to transform our cultures and economies away from dependence on fossil fuels toward a future that taps the sustainable potential of sun, wind, hydro and geothermal resources.