The Changing Climate of Food

Robert Dash

2018 - Ongoing

The Changing Climate of Food

We humans are busy going about our lives, while nature is in shock from the choices that we make. This series offers a micro perspective on how one part of nature–our food–is connected to climate change. As a career educator, lifetime fan of tiny nature, and photographer, I'm compelled to interpret these issues in a new way.

Every day, we’re more intimately tied to food than most anything else. Foods become our personal friends, or adversaries; these relationships play out on the world stage as they shape environmental quality, and even climate change. Making new "food friends" and letting go of old ones, as a society, can dramatically impact these issues.

These images symbolize both the abundance and the threat that humanity has brought to the dinner table. I feature resilient, edible seeds and grains like quinoa, buckwheat, millet, sunflower, and chia, all of which offer significant minerals and nutrients and can be a great source of plant protein. Reducing meat consumption in favor of these plant sources would have a huge impact on reducing greenhouse gasses. Staple crops like wheat, rice and soy are all threatened by human-caused climate change. Red chilis and tomatoes are impacted by fluctuating, extreme weather. Yields and nutrient values of these and other foods are decreasing, putting extra strain on developing regions. Spices such as cloves and saffron, hops grown to make beer, avocados, cacao and coffee beans are all under pressure due to climate change. The relatively new field of "carbon farming" offers exciting hope. I include an image of azolla, the floating fern which is credited with removing half of the planet's excess CO2 50 million years ago, as a symbol of that hope.

Each image was made with a scanning electron microscope, and features natural objects scaled at several times smaller than a pinhead. DSLR macro photography completes the photomontage, to allow a surreal conversation between natural objects, and minute details of themselves. They are inspired by nature, and the artistic visions of Escher, Uelsmann, Blossfeldt, and Chris Jordan. Images are best seen at 30” x 30”.

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  • Sunflower Petals and Pollen

  • Azolla, Floating Fern

  • Tomato and Seeds

  • The Life Cycle of Rice

  • Millet Vessel

  • Inner Cliffs of Buckwheat

  • Red Chili Seed

  • Carrot Leaves

  • Kale Seeds

  • Cardamom, Clove, Saffron

  • Hops On a Leaf's Edge

  • Quinoa 2700x to 1x

  • Inner Chia Seed Nebula and Asteroids