Shortlisted entries 2011

11. Paradise lost
Environment, Professor Rorden Wilkinson

This picture shows the results of just 4 months coastal erosion. It was taken on a coralline island resort in the Seychelles. Beautiful and dramatic as it is, the picture became emblematic of our research. We wanted to find out how small Indian Ocean island states were faring in the face of dramatic global change. The answers we came up with are encouraging (they are doing a great deal with the resources they have) and worrisome (the resources that they have are quickly eroding). The image shows the pace of environmental change and demonstrates how disastrous the loss of this habitat would to a country that generates 58% of its GDP and 57% of its employment from tourism. It also illustrates how the pristine beauty of these places can shroud serious engagement with the problems they face. Our research gets beyond images of deserted paradises in pursuit of meaningful solutions.

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