BaseCamp Photojournalist of the Year
University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover
Jonas Kakó is currently studying photojournalism & documentary photography in Hannover, Germany. His work has been published by National Geographic, Stern, NZZ and The Globe & Mail, among others. In his long-term photo essays he focuses on the effects of climate change on underrepresented communities and the environment.
The dying River
The Colorado River once stretched over 2,000 kilometers, from the snow-capped slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California across the western United States and Mexico.
But the river in the desert of Sonora has been drying up since the 80s and no longer reaches the delta, because extensive agriculture and diversion of water to metropolitan areas such as Phoenix and Las Vegas led to changes in the course of the river. Dams, huge canal systems, growing cities in the desert.
Today over 44 million people depend on the water of the Colorado, but less and less snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, due to the climate crisis, intensifies the struggle for water rights. Farmers have to file for bankruptcy, real estate developers buy farms just to get water rights.
The Cucupá, wich translates as „People of the river“, live in the Colorado Delta. "As a child I often went swimming in the river, today I fish in the wastewater from agriculture, which pictures the Colorado River here with us," says Leticia Galavis Sainz (51). "The Cucupá have always made a living from fishing, but without the river our culture dies too!