In The Picture: China’s New Energy Pioneers with Toby Smith

Talk August 24, 2011 7:00 PM

Photographer Toby Smith recently spent two months in China producing his latest project, China’s New Energy Pioneers. He will be presenting his photography and discussing China’s environmental record in an event moderated by Jim Footner of Greenpeace.

Covering 11 provinces, Toby Smith‘s work took him to coal mines, wind farms and hydro-electric plants while capturing the landscapes and people implementing the Communist Party’s latest Five Year Plan.

Announced in March 2011, the new Plan is significant in its attempts to address escalating energy and environmental problems. A cap on coal dependency, ambitious targets for non-fossil fuel energy sources and a drive towards more renewable sources of energy reflect the Communist Party’s intentions to aim for a cleaner, greener kind of growth.

With new power stations connecting to the grid in the People’s Republic of China at a rate of one per day, how China chooses to fuel its booming economy is one of the most important questions for the world of today, and of the future.

Toby Smith is a contemporary reportage photographer and director of Roof Unit, a collective of photographers based in East London. He specialises in environment and energy matters.

Smith’s feature stills and video work has been published by National Geographic, the Guardian, TIME, the New York Times and the BBC among others.

Moderator Jim Footner manages the Climate Change Team of Greenpeace UK. Over the past nine years, he has worked on climate and energy issues for Greenpeace in various parts of the world including Asia. He led the Greenpeace campaign against new coal fired power stations in the UK, and co-ordinated the use of the Rainbow Warrior as part of an oil spill response team in Lebanon after the most recent conflict.

Footner is also a trustee on the UK board of the French charity Development Workshop France, which specialises in resilient architecture and design in some of the world’s most hostile environments.