Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change
How is climate change impacting wildflower ecosystems on our public lands? What will be lost?
Did you know you can make a difference?
Step into the spectacular beauty of wildflowers on our public lands, and intimately experience the wonder of being in truly breathtaking places that few have seen. We have learned that wildflowers tell stories about climate change and the need to protect where they live.
Because we were so taken by what we saw and learned from Nature’s beautiful creations we have dedicated our lives to telling their stories and becoming a voice for wildflowers.
Our long-standing commitment has evolved into a meaningful and inspiring documentary art project: Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change and its thought-provoking book: Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change. Both our photographs and essays, by established writers and scientists, take us on a journey through space and time. We invite you into the fantastic life of plants. Through our new book, we explore the pioneering research into the mystery and fascinating world of plants, their behavior and their vital role in the natural world.
The more we learn about plants, the more we understand our role as humans and our need to take sustainable steps to protect the natural world and reduce the effects of climate change. Part of our mission is to educate and stimulate curiosity and to encourage young adults and children to explore nature and science.
Dire warnings about our future compete for our attention. We are all overwhelmed by the many important, yet disheartening stories and images.
We personally see hope in wilderness and wildflowers. Hope for our planet and our children’s future in a changing world.
Record-breaking rains during the 1998 West Coast “El Nino” climate event created a truly spectacular “100 Year” Bloom in America’s deserts. Our project began that year, and since that time we have documented wildflower environments from below sea level in Death Valley National Park (California) to the high alpine "rock gardens" above 13,000 feet in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. We have recorded “50 Year” and “100 Year” Blooms in deserts and mountains of the American West that defy description.
Our story addresses climate change and its effect on a universal symbol of beauty, the wildflower. It is about the diverse and delicately balanced ecosystems supporting spectacular explosions of Nature’s color. In the past this occurrence of abundant of beauty and life had reliably returned each spring to our public lands. These habitats are being invaded by both non-local and non-native species, and being altered by climatic conditions alien to their region. As heat moves into the higher altitudes and latitudes, changes are happening more quickly and more dramatically than anticipated. Species and ecosystem extinction is poised on the horizon. The land and air are heating up, and earlier. The timing of regularly occurring, seasonal events interacting with climate (phenology: literally, the science of appearance), such as snow melt, last frost, leafing, flowering, pollination, and migration, are increasingly out of synch. Some buds emerge too early and are frost killed, producing no seeds for the next generation. Although climate models cannot accurately predict what species (plants, animals and insects) can adapt or migrate quickly enough to survive, some projections say we may lose from 20% to 30% of native plant species by the end of the century if we don’t reduce the impacts of climate warming.
We are overwhelmed by so many important, yet disheartening stories and images, and warnings about our future. All compete for our attention, telling us to look, listen, and do something! Because there is always a need for a different, softer approach to attract people's attention, and center it on the climate change story and population issues, we choose to engage our audience by first inviting them to experience, through our photographs, the glorious resurgence of life during springtime in the natural world. And then we provide information about what is happening and what can be done to preserve species and habits, and promote land conservation and carbon emission reduction. Our goal is to create a visual message that motivates action to minimize the negative impact of human activity.
Our project, Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change and our book represent our commitment to:
2. educate both the general public and policy/decision makers about the need to:
A. protect public lands where wildflowers live,
B. bring more unprotected wildflower habitats into the local, state and national public land systems, and
C. understand the effect of climate change on ecosystems, wildflower blooms, and wildlife, and
3. encourage others to take simple but important actions, such as turning off lights, planting native plants and volunteering to remove invasive species from private and public lands. We are grateful for your interest and support. Thank You!
Project sponsored by Blue Earth Alliance
We need your help! Become a Voice for Wildflowers and Donate to Beauty and the Beast through Blue Earth Alliance.
Please contact us to discuss your interest in becoming a sponsor or volunteer.