These dark figures are buffaloes crossing parched grassland in Bangladesh during their search for food. Taken by photographer Shafiul Islam, the picture highlights the devastating droughts in northern and western Bangladesh, which have depleted food and water supplies for both people and nature.
It is among the breathtaking entries in this year’s Environmental Photographer of the Year competition, which depict the alarming reality of climate change and humanity’s efforts to repair our relationship with nature.
This atmospheric shot of a swarm of soldier flies (Hermetia illucens), which was taken by photographer Maurizio di Pietro, took home the competition’s grand prize. The subjects of the image are about to become insect flour, as part of research at the University of Turin, Italy, looking into alternative, more sustainable sources of protein.
Just off the coast of Aruba in the Caribbean Sea, photographer Nicolas Marin snapped this glowing, jade-coloured coral. The striking luminescence was captured under ultraviolet light during a night dive. “This photo is important because it showcases the wonder and fragility of marine life and the need to protect it,” said Marin in a statement. “Bioluminescence is a fascinating natural phenomenon that indicates the health of the ocean.”
Other pictures that made the competition’s shortlist include photographer Gil Bartz’s shot of two climate activists stood at the edge of an open pit mine in Lützerath, Germany. The mine opened in the 1980s, primarily to extract a type of coal called lignite, and led to the displacement of over 30,000 people.
On the coast of Matinhos in Brazil, Denis Ferreira Netto photographed efforts to restore the seafront. Large diggers take sand from the sea to refortify the beach and provide better defence against the ocean.
A pair of divers in Bali, Indonesia, are installing concrete blocks at a coral restoration site in this shot by Giacomo d’Orlando. These are meant to act as an artificial nursery for new coral to grow, in an effort to reverse damage to the marine ecosystem caused by unsustainable fishing practices.