World's Top Nature Photographers Communicate the Power & Scarcity of Fresh Water in New Art Exhibit

3/28/2011

Venice, CA — Though water covers our blue planet, only a meager 2.5 percent is fresh, and with population growth and climate change rapidly increasing the demand for this scarce resource, individuals, corporations and governments will have to rethink the way they perceive and use water. This is the main message of a stunning, moving, and educational new photography exhibition being featured at the G2 Gallery in Los Angeles from March 29 to May 8, and produced by Conservation International (CI) in collaboration with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). A reception will be held on Thursday, April 7, from 6:30–9:00 pm. (Attendance by RSVP only. More details at the bottom of the press release).

The "Fresh Water: The Essence of Life" exhibit features images by 17 of the world's most accomplished and award-winning nature photographers including Frans Lanting, David Doubilet, and Paul Nicklen. Their works are also featured in a beautiful hard-cover book called "Fresh Water: The Essence of Life", the latest in the Conservation Book Series published with support from CEMEX. Exhibits from these photographers – who have collectively contributed artistic images to scores of books and magazines includingNational Geographic, Smithsonian and TIME," show the astonishing beauty and the many forms of freshwater ecosystems in our planet, but also the threats to such ecosystems and the devastation they can bring.

Tracy Farrell, Senior Director of Conservation International's Freshwater Initiative, said: "These artists tell a story that we may feel uncomfortable hearing: water is essential for life and our world is getting drier and drier way too fast. But we can redefine our relationship with nature so that water can be available and shared equitably to meet the demands of people and nature or we will both suffer the consequences. I hope visitors to this exhibit will be challenged to understand water in a whole new way and motivated to rally support for the conservation of this incredibly important but threatened resource."

According to photographers, inspiration for the exhibit came from an increasing recognition that this most precious of all resources on Earth is in imminent jeopardy without major changes in its management. It is estimated that just 15 years from now, nearly two-thirds of countries will not have reliable supply of water. In the U.S. alone, nearly 40 percent of all rivers and streams are too polluted for fishing and swimming due to sewage, agricultural run-off, and other contaminants.

Through the exhibit — which is open to the public — photographers hope to communicate that if we are to reverse these trends, we must protect key watersheds, better manage them, and incorporate the value of freshwater ecosystems and their benefits to people into our economic and political decision-making.

Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier, President of iLCP and curator of the exhibit, said: "During a recent visit to the Amazon, while swimming in a pristine river, I realized just how rare such an experience is becoming on our planet. The photographs in this exhibit illustrate the numerous ways in which fresh water shapes our lives and how much we depend on it. I hope these images transport people and allow them to have an experience similar to the one I had as I swam in those waters."

California is one of the world's most important places for biodiversity conservation and one of the most threatened, with only about 10 percent of the original habitat left. Here, the water crisis is likely more evident than anywhere else in the country. A massive structure of pipelines, canals and aqueducts has been built to overcome the disparity between water supply, which is mostly in the north, and demand — mostly in the middle and south. Add to that the pressures of a recent drought, a growing population and the much needed water to irrigate the farms that grow half of all the country's vegetables, fruits and nuts.

G2 Gallery's owner, Susan Gottlieb, said: "We are pleased to host an exhibit about an issue that is so close to home. The fresh water crisis is a global concern and, unfortunately, we have already started to feel its negative impacts in our own backyard."

To reflect the growing importance of global freshwater management and conservation, Conservation International recently launched a new strategy aimed at protecting and restoring the sources, flows and services related to freshwater ecosystems to benefit nature and people. These ecosystems support more than 500 million people and 126,000 freshwater dependent species. The key areas where Conservation International works hold approximately 60-65 percent of all fresh water coming from natural ecosystems such as the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, the upper Zambezi and Okavango rivers in Southern Africa and the lower Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam.

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INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY:
Media are invited to an opening reception for "Fresh Water: the Essence of Life" on Thursday, April 7, from 6:30–9:00 pm, with Conservation International's Senior Director of the Freshwater Initiative, Dr. Tracy Farrell, and iLCP's President and exhibit curator, Cristina Mittermeier.
***This event is by RSVP only. Please email jhiguchi@conservation.org***

HOURS & TICKETS:
Exhibit: "Fresh Water: the Essence of Life" - March 29–May 8, 2011
The G2 Gallery, 1503 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291-3742
Tuesday–Saturday 11–9 / Sunday 11– 6
Tel.: 310.452.2842
Email: info@theg2gallery.com 
Website: www.theg2gallery.com
Free Admission

PHOTOS:
Images being exhibited are available for download:
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/16118902_5pCHc
***Please provide credits to the photographer as stated in the caption and metadata of each photo***


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Patricia Malentaqui
International Media Manager
Conservation International
703 341-2471
pmalentaqui@conservation.org

Kim McCabe
Media Director
Conservation International
703 341-2546
kmccabe@conservation.org

Diane Shader Smith
G2 Gallery
310 386-6803
dianeshadersmith@gmail.com

Gia LaRussa
G2 Gallery
310 452-2842
gia@theg2gallery.com

Conservation International (CI) — Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature for the well-being of humanity. With headquarters in Washington, DC, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information, visit www.conservation.org

G2 Gallery — Established in March 2008, The G2 Gallery in Venice, California, is a green art space with a dedicated focus on contemporary nature and wildlife photography. In keeping with G2's commitment to supporting arts and the environment, the gallery presents exhibitions with eco-conscious themes, donating the proceeds from all art sales to environmental charities and hosts free concerts and lectures that bring awareness of critical issues to our community. For more information, visit: www.theg2gallery.com

International League of Conservation Photographers — iLCP is a project-driven organization with a mission to translate conservation science into compelling visual messages. We work with leading scientists, governments, and conservation groups to produce the highest-quality documentary images of both the beauty and wonder of the natural world and the challenges facing it. The photographers of the iLCP are distinguished by the unique set of skills, talent and years of field experience documenting complex environmental subjects, and a commitment to conserve the landscapes, people, and wildlife in the places where they work. The work of iLCP photographers covers the entire range of threats to biodiversity and is a critical component in the conservation toolbox. For more information, visit www.ilcp.com