The conservation of our planet is an extremely hot topic in today’s world- yet no one really seems to know exactly what is going on, or the steps that should be taken to help save our home. Maine biologist and photographer Cristina Mittermeier has traveled the world on her sole passion, conservation, and has made it her mission to educate and inform everyone in every country about what she has seen, and what we can do to help stop this global catastrophe. Mittermeier worked with “National Geographic” on a wildly impressive series highlighting specific communities and how they utilize natural resources such as water to survive. Mittermeier will be talking about her experiences, her life’s work and what we as people need to do to save the planet in her touching Nat Geo Live series this Thursday at the Kimmel Center.
Cristina Mittermeier talks incredible photos and saving the planet, one click at a time
What came first for you, your love of biology or your love of photography, and how did you decide to merge the two?
For me, it’s not even the love of biology, it’s the love of conservation. It’s imperative to protect our planet and I just realized photography is a much better tool than science, we can reach a larger audience. So that’s why I merged the two. If I was not using photography for the purpose of protecting the planet, I would probably not even be a photographer.
You decided to focus on different communities and how they utilize water to survive for your Nat Geo Live Series, what drove you to focus on that subject specifically?
I’m a Marine biologist by training and the thing that I’m interested in is coastal communities. A huge part of my career has centered around indigenous people, so I wanted to find a way to merge what interests me about indigenous people, which is the knowledge that they have in how to live on this planet and my love of the ocean. That’s why I merged the two in one talk. I’ve traveled to 130 countries and worked in every continent, so when you think about one billion people on our planet living less than a hundred kilometers from the ocean there is no shortage of communities, I just go where the stories are.
Which communities did you choose to observe?
I photographed in Northern Greenland, I also worked in Hawaii and British Colombia.
Throughout your career what have been some of the most interesting occurrences you’ve seen while out documenting all of these communities?
I think the most interesting thing that you realize is indigenous people and people that live close to nature are so much more aware and worried about the state of our planet. People in urban places and cities that have totally lost connection seem to be a lot more unconcerned about the extinction crisis and the climate crisis. It’s just very interesting to see the people that are the most awake are the ones that we call primitive.
Since conservation is such a passion of yours, what would you say to people who are not as concerned with the state of our planet?
That it is time for conservation not to be just the passion for the handful of people that are aware. It needs to be everybody’s passion, we don’t have anywhere else to go, this is where we live. If you were in a vehicle that was on auto-pilot and it was swerving and driving towards a cliff you would probably want to get in the driver’s seat rather than just keep trusting that the autopilot is going to get us there. We need to all become much more engaged.
How was it working for “National Geographic”?
For any photographer, it’s an incredible honor and a privilege to work with the “National Geographic” magazine, it’s the tip of Mount Everest. So if I ever get another opportunity work with them, [I’ll] always take it.
Overall what can Philly audiences expect from your Nat Geo Live series at the Kimmel Center?
They should expect to be inspired and entertained and hopefully, by the time they leave the lecture, they will have laughed and cried and reflected on their own place in the world. Hopefully, they leave feeling empowered to create the change that we need.
For more information on the show and to buy tickets visit kimmelcenter.org