Tuvalu beneath the rising tide by Sean Gallagher, Environmental Photographer of the Year 2019

Striking images from the 2019 Environmental Photographer of the Year revealed

Energy & Climate Change, Management & Regulation, Natural Environment

​Winning environmental photographs revealed showing impacts of climate change from across the world

The CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year exposes the terrible impacts being wrought on our planet by humans, but also celebrates humanity’s innate ability to survive and innovate, lending hope to us all that we can overcome challenges to live sustainably.

The competition supports the urgent calls to action of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and recognises the intricate interconnected nature of development, poverty reduction, climate action and the unprecedented effort from all sectors of society needed to tackle the defining issues of our time.

This competition is run by CIWEM and is proudly supported by the UN Environment, Arup and Olympus UK.

Terry Fuller, CIWEM chief executive said,

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the time to act. We need to see action from all sectors of society. This competition showcases the reality of how people are being impacted by the climate all around the world and aims to spread an important message worldwide to inspire big change.”

The winners have been announced alongside the UN Climate Action Summit taking place in New York today. The summit aims to showcase a leap in collective national political ambition and demonstrate big movements in the real economy.

These winning photographs reveal the raw reality of how people and wildlife are struggling with the impacts of climate change all around the world. This award exists to inspire change from political leaders, decision makers, and the general public.


The Environmental Photographer of the Year, High Tide Enters Home by SL Shanth Kumar.

A victim of climate change: A huge wave lashed at a shanty town in Bandra, Mumbai, throwing a 40-year old fisherman out of his home. He was pulled in by the strong currents, and was rescued by fellow fishermen. The reclaimed city of Mumbai is facing an increased risk of coastal flooding as a result of climate change. The city's land and sea temperatures have been rising causing a corresponding impact on the sea level.

SL Shanth Kumar said “I believe change is a constant phenomenon. Today this change is manifesting in the form of climate change. As a photojournalist, I am seeing it all unfurl before my eyes. I have seen drought, excessive rain, summers getting hotter and winters getting colder. I believe this change is not good and we need to act now otherwise it will impact the generations to come."

Changing Environments Prize, Tuvalu beneath the rising tide by Sean Gallagher.

Fallen trees lie on a beach as the waves from the Funafuti lagoon in Tuvalu lap around them. Land erosion has always been a problem for the country, but problems are intensifying as sea levels rise. Rising seas are on the verge of submerging the tiny archipelago’s islands completely under water.


Sustainable Cities Prize, Polluted New Year by Eliud Gil Samaniego.

On the 1st January of 2018 Mexicali was one of the most contaminated cities in the world because the pyrotechnics, climate change, geographic location, industry and cars.


Water, Equality and Sustainability Prize, Water Scarcity by Frederick Dharshie Wissah.

A young boy is drinking dirty water due to lack of water points in the area, which has occurred due to deforestation. A lack of clean water greatly increases the risk of diarrhoeal diseases as cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery, and other water-borne tropical diseases.

Climate Action and Energy Prize, Remains of the Forest by J Henry Fair.

Hambach Forest was nearly 12,000 years old when it was bought by a power company to dig for the brown coal buried underneath. The ancient forest was once the size of Manhattan. Now only 10 percent of it remains.

Young Environmental Photographer of the Year, Desperate Measures by Neville Ngomane

This rhino is being de-horned in an attempt to protect it from being poached. With the current severe level of poaching, experts recommend that rhinos should be dehorned every 12-24 months to effectively deter hunters. The photographer left the comment “This was not an easy watch.”

You can find a full gallery of the 2019 shortlist here.

For any press and communications enquiries, please contact Sarah Farache, Press and Communications Officer on 020 7269 5820, E:sarah.farache@ciwem.org.

Notes to Editors

  • CIWEM, The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, is the leading independent Chartered professional body for water and environment professionals, promoting excellence within the sector. www.ciwem.org
  • The Environmental Photographer of the Year is an award run every year by CIWEM. It celebrates the very best in environmental photography from around the world www.ciwem.org/awards/environmental-photographer-of-the-year.
  • Arup are an independent firm of designers, engineers, architects, planners, consultants and technical specialists working across every aspect of today’s built environment. https://www.arup.com/
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. https://www.unenvironment.org/
  • As a leading manufacturer of optical and digital precision technology, Olympus provides innovative medical systems, digital cameras and scientific solutions. https://www.olympus.co.uk/

Share this article

Become a member

Whether you are studying, actively looking to progress your career, or already extensively experienced, our membership will add value and recognition to your achievements. We can actively help you progress throughout your career.

Become a member

View our events

We organise a wide portfolio of UK and international thought leading events, providing an industry recognised forum for debate, CPD and sector networking. These events also support our policy work and inform key initiatives.

View our events