By TAMMY HUGHES
PUBLISHED: 08:25 EST, 19 June 2012 | UPDATED: 05:44 EST, 20 June 2012
Climate change doesn’t reside highly on the agenda of many supermodels.
But stunning Helena Christensen has dedicated four years to photographing the impact of climate change in some of the world’s poorest communities.
The Danish born beauty queen has now published a booklet of her photographs which she intends to sent to government officials and heads of state attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
World leaders are meeting in Rio de Janerio from 20 – 22 June to discuss how to reduce poverty, ensure greater equality and protect the environment.
Mission: Model Helena Christensen has spent four years documenting the human cost of climate change in Kenya, Nepal and Peru
Oxfam says it will be working to secure better investment and support for sustainable food and agriculture, the elimination of poverty and a cut in emissions in a way that benefits the poorest communities.
As an Oxfam global ambassador Helena, 43, travelled to Peru, Nepal and Kenya to document the impact of climate change on people’s lives and their ability to produce food.
Peru is already feeling the effects of changing climate, such as melting tropical glaciers in the Andes and high levels of solar radiation. Record rainfall in the Amazon basin this year has wrecked crops, spurring inflation and hurting specialty exports like coffee.
Drought: Kenya has experienced a crippling lack of rainfall as a result of climate change
Malaria: Experts warn that rising temperatures in Africa could result in the spread of malaria to areas which were not affected before
Smiling: Not all the images are hauntingly poignant. Some show the everyday life of communities coping with change
Ambassador: Helena Christensen worked with Oxfam to produce the booklet which she will now send to government officials and heads of state attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)
Kenya is also struggling, experiencing severe drought in some regions and experts have expressed concern that previously malaria-free highland areas could witness a shift in conditions by the 2080s, creating a suitable environment for the transmission of the disease.
And communities in Nepal have recorded some of the fastest long-term increases in temperatures and rainfall anywhere in the world – creating devastating flooding. At least 44 of Nepal’s and neighbouring Bhutan’s Himalayan lakes, which collect glacier meltwater, are said by the UN to be growing so rapidly they they could burst their banks within a decade.
Helena’s booklet entitled ‘Meltdown,’ showcases 42 color, black-and-white, and Polaroid photos, documenting the human cost of this climate change.
Images from Helena’s first two trips to Peru and Nepal have been exhibited at the United Nations in New York, in Washington, London and at the climate change talks in Copenhagen in 2009.
Colourful: Helena Christensen dons a traditional beaded necklace as she photographs a village affected by drought in Kenya
Playing: Friends spy on two children deep in conversation in Kenya
Dusty: Brother and sister seem distracted as they stand on the dusty soil outside their home with a sleepy looking dog
Flooding: Three women and boy stand in front of drenched fields in Nepal
Fascinating: Polaroids taken from Nepal reveal a rare insight into village life
Girls clutch two kids in this photo taken in a Nepalese village crippled by climate change
She said: ‘I witnessed the impact of glaciers melting at an alarming rate in my mother’s native Peru, the aftermath of flooding in Nepal and met families in Kenya struggling to cope with a severe drought which put millions at risk of starvation.
‘It is families like this that despite contributing the least to the global climate crisis, are bearing the brunt of the impact.’
She added, ‘The men, women and children in my photographs deserve to live beyond the lens and be remembered by our governments as lives rather than numbers.
‘My images are intended to remind those discussing the fate of our planet that the future is not yet set in stone.
‘I hope that governments meeting at Rio+20 will commit to making the changes so desperately needed to create a future safe from the risks of a changing climate, water, land and food shortages, and to set us on the path to a sustainable and prosperous future for everyone.’
Worth a thousand words: Dedicated Helena took 42 black and white Polaroids for her booklet entitled Meltdown
Himalayas: The stunning Danish born model looks pensive in this photo featuring the famous mountain range
Yummy mummy: At 43 Helena doesn’t look a day over 30. She is pictured here sporting a white Oxfam T-shirt and holding a kid in Nepal
Peru: Helena speaks to a local man about the difficulties he and his family now face
Family ties: Helena took this image of a woman in traditional dress in Peru – where her mother was born
Startled: A Kenyan girl wearing a simple white floral dress opens her front door made out of corrugated iron. She looks surprised as her photograph is taken
Innocent: Young boys play together in Kenya. One looks at an unseen adult with wide-eyes while another directs his gaze towards the camera
Home: Three girls play together next to a building in Peru. One of their party makes her way into the two story house wearing a thick hooded jacket
Lifestock: Many villages in Nepal have experienced loss as a result of devastating flooding, including the death of precious lifestock
Poverty: Oxfam will be working with others at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to determine goals that will help bring communities out of poverty
Family: A family stand outside their home in Kenya
Primitive: A woman sits in the doorway of her home in Kenya
Rain: A brother and sister are photographed playing against the backdrop of stormy skies
Unsanitary: Animals and people share the same living space
Brave: Three young girls in Nepal grapple with the after effects of devastating flooding