Carbon Tears: visual documentation on climate change in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi photographer Din Muhammad Shibly documenting the changes for last 16 years

From 2003 to 2016 for the last 16 years Bangladeshi documentary photographer Din Muhammad Shibly working on the visual project "Carbon Tears".

Bangladesh is one of the top five populated nations in coastal low-lying areas that are developing and newly industrialized countries. The poverty level of the country has been decreased from 59% in 1991 to 25.6% in 2014. The population growth rate has declined from 2.9% per annum in 1974 to 1.2% in 2011 and the economy has grown at around 6% in last 10 years. But still, more than 38.4 million people live in poverty. Many of them live in remote or ecologically fragile areas, such as river islets, flood-prone northern zone and cyclone-prone coastal belts, which are especially vulnerable to natural disasters.

Climate Change severely challenges the country's ability to achieve the high rates of economic growth that is needed for poverty reductions.

It is predicted that frequent and severe floods, cyclones, storm surges and droughts will be increasingly to disrupt the life of the nation and the economy. Bangladesh is bound to spend about $1.0 billion per year, which is more than 1% of its GDP to fight the impacts of climate change directly or indirectly. Only cyclones cost the country over USD $25.0 billion. Supporting coastal people to adapt with the changed climate will pose further impacts on economic development.

The Inter-Government Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 5th Assessment Report, estimated that Bangladesh lost 5.9% of its GDP to storms since 1998 to 2099. It says, under a scenario of low crop productivity, Bangladesh could experience a net 15% increase of poverty by 2030. Bangladesh could have a very high impacts on GDP due to the climate change related damages and adaptation costs as it is a low-lying country. Unless the existing coastal embankments are strengthened and new ones are built, sea level rise could result displacement of millions of coastal people and have huge adverse impacts on livelihoods and long term health of a large proportion of the population.

According to the Long Term Global Climate Risk Index 2008-2015, Bangladesh is one of the 10 most climate vulnerable countries of the world. The country is facing severe negative impacts of coastal flooding, river erosion, decreasing crop production, loss of fish and livestock, scarcity of potable water and risk of declining biodiversity along others.

Carbon Tears :

About the Photographer

Din Muhammad Shibly is a professional photographer based in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a special interest in documentary photography. Alongside that, he has been a visiting faculty at various academic institutes for the past twelve years.

He was born in the year 1977 in Rajshahi. Shibly completed his post-graduation on Mass Communication from University of Rajshahi in 1999. During his second graduation from Pathshala South Asian Institute of Photography, he started his career as a photojournalist for Daily Prothom Alo, a leading Bangla daily of Bangladesh in 2004. However Shibly soon realized that his passion rested elsewhere. After completing his BA in Photography in 2007 he

promptly joined the reputed institution as a lecturer in July 2007. He worked there for six years until August 31, 2013. He is also a visiting lecturer of Dhaka University and The Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong. He has worked as 'Head of Academics' in the Department of Photography of Counter Foto until July 2015.

He is currently in an effort to establish an institute, namely ‘Chhaya Institute of Communication & Photography’ in Rajshahi and Dhaka. It will be the first institute of its kind in the north region of Bangladesh.

Apart from teaching, he has worked in ICE Media Ltd, brought by Bengal Foundation as a staff photographer, specifically for ICE Today (A monthly lifestyle magazine), ICE Business Times (a business monthly), Charbela Chardik (a Bangla lifestyle monthly) and Jamini (an international quarterly on arts) from 2005 to 2010 and also with The New Bangladesh Business as a Photo Editor from 2011 to 2012.

In 2011 he established his own organization, Branch & Leaves, but had started to operate in full force from August 2015. It is mainly a journalism and publishing-oriented organization.

His prime arena of interest revolves around socio-political & environmental documentaries. Among, his ongoing projects, ‘Dhaka Ambence’ (started in 2002), ‘She’ (a continued project on his daughter Doyeeta, 15 minutes into her birth), ‘Gunijan’ (portrait series on most eminent persons of Bangladesh), ‘TIME/LIFE (life-long project on effects of climate change in Bangladesh)’ and 'The Maze of Metal (Documentation on Shipbuilding Industries in Bangladesh)' are worth mentioning. His photographs have been published in The New York Times, Bangladesh Business, Jamini, ICE Today, Charbela Chardik, ICE Business Times, Bengal Barota, The Daily Star, Daily Prothom Alo, Daily New Age, Daily New Nation etc. His work has been exhibited in several galleries of Bangladesh, as 17 solo exhibitions and 27 group exhibitions.

Through his photography, he wants to depict social dilemmas and societal conflict to enable civic discourse. He feels that people need photography to help them understand what’s going on in the world, and believes that pictures can have a great influence on shaping public opinion and mobilizing protest.

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All Photos are copyrighted by (C) Din Mohammad Shibly and not top be copied or reproduced in any form.

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