The ‘Sea of Death’ is the not-so affectionate name that has been given by the Chinese people to the Taklamakan desert, a desert of such epic proportions and intimidating size, that its name in the local Uygur language translates as ‘You can go in, but you will never come out’.
I visited the Taklamakan desert as part of my work on the issue of desertification in China for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in April of this year and this is one of my favourote images, that I’d like to share with you as this week’s ‘Photo of the Week’.
The trees in the images are dead poplar trees, on the edges of the Taklamakan. As the desert moves, whole forests of trees are engulfed by the sand and huge swathes of land are reduced to no more than forest graveyards. It is an eerie and unnerving place, conjuring up the image of the aftermath of some epic disaster. Well, this is a disaster, an environmental disaster in China on the grandest scale. The significance of which is slowly dawning on people. This is where I have tried to come in by visually communicating the scale of this under-reported issue.
There are some interesting and exciting developments happening for this work at the moment that I’d love to share with you but I dare not talk about it, in case I jinx it. If and when these developments happen, the news will be out here on my blog first, so stay tuned. In the meantime, please spread the word about this issue.