In this time around the globe Ashley has probably seen more impacts of climate change than any living human.
Ashley Cooper is a professional environmental photographer. He spent fourteen years travelling to every continent on the planet to document the causes and impacts of climate change and the rise of renewable energy. This epic journey was entirely self funded through image sales to newspapers and magazines. Ashley then crowdfunded £45,000 to self publish the award winning book, Images From a Warming Planet.
After gaining an Honours Degree in Geography from Aberystwyth University Cooper spent three months travelling through East Africa. Here he saw at first hand the work being undertaken by the British Leprosy Relief Association. When he returned to the UK in 1986 he spend six months planning a fundraising expedition to raise funds for LEPRA. Ashley set out to climb the 313, 3000 foot peaks in GB and Eire. 111 days later after over 1000 miles of walking and 500,000 feet of ascent, he became the first person ever to achieve this feat. The expedition took place in the coldest and wettest summer on record in the UK with rain and or snow on 91 of the 111 days. The event raised £14,000 for LEPRA. He was taken on as the customer services officer for Europa sport, the outdoor equipment wholesalers who had sponsored all his equipment for the expedition. A year later he returned to Malawi to spend a month in the field withe LEPRA officers. Meeting leprosy sufferers who were being treated with the money that he had raised.
In 1988 he was taken on by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), as their Community fundraising Manager for Cumbria. A job Ashley held proudly for twenty years. When he first started with NSPCC, Cumbria had one Child Protection Team, based in Carlisle. In the next 20 years, he launched a number of special appeals, in order to open an additional three Child Protection Teams. In total, through managing and motivating a network of volunteers in Cumbria, they collectively raised over £4 million.
In 2010 Ashley left NSPCC to pursue his full time career as a professional photographer. In 1994 he had travelled to Alaska to do his first dedicated climate change photo shoot. What he saw was a complete shock to him and he vowed to spend the rest of my time, documenting the impacts of climate change around the planet. In 2015 he realised his ambition to document the impacts of climate change and renewable energy on every continent on the planet, the only living photographer to have done so. This epic journey was entirely self funded through image sales into newspapers and magazines and cost around £300,000 whilst amassing the world’s single largest collection of climate change/ renewable energy imagery. He crowd funded £45,000 to enable him to self publish, “Images From a Warming Planet”, an art photographic book depicting the best 500 images from my climate change project. The book goes through the causes of climate change, all its impacts and finishes with the solutions, mainly around renewable energy.
Jonathon Porritt wrote the foreword for the book and called it “An extraordinary collection of images and a powerful call to action”. The book has received very favourable reviews from Sir Tim Smit, Chris Bonington, Mark Lynas, Mark Edwards, Emma Thompson, Bill McKibbon etc. Currently the Pope has a copy of the book, as does Al Gore and Prince Charles.
Coopers work has appeared on the front covers of most major UK newspapers and is widely used by the Guardian. His epic climate change journey took him to over thirty countries, often working in remote and dangerous locations. In 2010 he won the climate change category of the Environmental Photographer of the Year Competition, for the last two years he has been the lead judge of the competition. In this time he has probably seen more impacts of climate change than any living human. He is currently working to set up a new international climate change initiative called iCommit.
With the aid of his stunning visuals, Ashley talks widely about his experiences documenting climate change on the front line. His venues have included the Royal Geographical Society, Corporations, Learnfest, Antarctic Cruise ships, Festivals and Universities.
For the last 25 years he has been a member of the Langdale/Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team, the busiest mountain rescue team in the UK, with spells as both Team Secretary and Team Chairman.