Low income communities have a much greater chance of being next to a toxic emission site like the massive oil refineries in Wilmington near San Pedro, but nestled in the hills above the high end homes of LA’s Westside side is the Inglewood Oil Field, one of the largest urban oil fields in the country. Rural farmers find their crops and livestock competing for space with pump jacks and fracking sites, and even our precious coastline cannot escape the blight of oil derricks and the potential leaks and devastation they can reap.
Drought and wildfires are occurring with greater frequency as the growing effects of climate change draw closer and closer to many communities. Our vital wetlands are shrinking from encroaching development and enormous amounts of trash from urban runoff are poisoning our oceans at an alarming rate.
Many of these photos were taken in the course of various environmental stories I have done over the years. I sometimes found myself taking beautiful photos of some disturbing subjects, which caused me to ask myself if I was doing a disservice to that subject. The fact is there is beauty in some ugly things, and I realized the strength in that beauty can draw viewer’s attention to subjects that we often turn our eyes away from.