Donald Trump should go on a world tour with a climate change campaigner to see for himself the impacts of global warming.
The invitation was issued by Richard Leafe, the chief executive of the Lake District National Park, at the opening of a new exhibition, Images from a Warming Planet.
Photographs taken by Ashley Cooper over a 13 year journey around the globe to document the effects of climate change are now on display at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere , as his mammoth book of 500 pictures is launched.
Richard Leafe told visitors to the opening of the exhibition that the USA president elect, “the most influential climate change denier on the planet” ought to be shown the impacts that Cooper had documented “and the consequences of these on peoples’ lives”.
Leafe said that Cumbria was no stranger to the effects of climate change as the region approached the anniversary of Storm Desmond, “one of the most potent climate-change-driven events here in the National Park.”
The opening of the exhibition, coincides with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which is taking place in Marrakech.
Cooper said: “This has been a very long journey, and I hope that it does make a difference. For those who may be wavering, global warming is not a case of what might happen in the future. These images show what is happening now. These pictures show the consequences, and it is only going to get worse unless we act now.”
Environmental activist Kate Rawles, who is about to ride the length of South America on a bicycle made out of bamboo to raise awareness about the loss of biodiversity, told guests at the opening: “Ashley has witnessed more impact of climate change than any other human being on the planet.”
She said that his images “howled” the message far more effectively than any statistics.
Cooper, whose photographs include images of drought, flooding and the misery of refugee migrations, said: “Those least responsible for climate change are the ones who are most impacted by it.”
He added: “We are at a crossroads and we need to change direction and de-carbonise very quickly. Renewable energy is the way forward. The future is ours to control.”
Leading environmental campaigners have hailed his book and exhibition as a call to political action. Jonathon Porritt says that Cooper’s book is an “extraordinary photographic record” which must not be seen as just another snapshot in time. “Do not be tempted into any kind of passive voyeurism; do not allow the power of the images to come between you and the people whose changing lives they portray,” says Porritt. “See it more as a declaration of solidarity, and as the powerful call to action that it surely is.”
Images from a Warming Planet: One man’s mission to document climate change around the world is available at the Heaton Cooper Studio (£40). From the sale of each book, the studio will donate £4 to 1010uk.org, the climate change charity.