World-renowned conservationist and photographer Cristina "Mitty" Mittermeier believes that stunning visual storytelling is the key to unlocking critical action to help heal our ocean and save our planet.
In 2005, she founded The International League of Conservation Photographers and coined the phrase "conservation photography". In 2014, she co-founded SeaLegacy, a global marketing, education, and communication agency for the ocean. SeaLegacy uses strategic communications at the intersection of art, science, and conservation to protect and rewild the ocean for the benefit of biodiversity, humanity, and climate within our lifetimes.
In what ways does nature inspire or inform your work?
A lot of people see themselves as “separate” or “distinct” from nature. For me, there is no such distinction. The air I breathe comes from nature, much of the food I eat is built through natural processes. So the simple answer is, my work is about nature, not just informed by nature. I try to re-build the bridges that create the vital psychological connection that simply says: humans cannot survive without nature- all of nature.
What does it mean to you to be part of a thriving ecosystem?
For the past several thousand years, humanity has lived within a thriving ecosystem; one where nature provides free services, like pollination for our crops, clean water to drink, fresh oxygen to breathe and a diversity of creatures that, in one way or another, serve humanity. This ecosystem has now been so degraded that in many places, it is close to collapse, and just like a game of Jenga, once a piece goes, the rest crumbles down. We would do well to remember how good it feels to know there is clean water still coming out of our faucets and there is still fresh air for us to breathe. As the sea level rises, the forests burn down and we continue to utilize nature as a dumping ground, our once thriving ecosystem pretty soon will be, no more.