by staff writer
For French novelist and storyteller Yann Quero, coming across a church in northern France in 2011 where a weather beaten statue of the Virgin Mary was a starting event, mostly because the limestone statue standing on a perch on the outside church walls captivated his writer's imagination. So he took a photo and sat on it for several years, never showing it to anyone except a few friends in private. But all that changed last month when Quero sent a copy of the photo to this reporter and calling it "The Madonna of Global Warming." Look closely and you will see how the ocean air of the nearby Atlantic ocean has over the years turned the once-smooth limestone statue into what looks now like a ghostly, worm-eaten warning to the world. Quero said he wrote a caption for the photo: "If we do nothing, there will be no more hope..."
PHOTO CREDIT: Yann Quero
Photo: Yann Quero
When I received the photograph by email, I was naturally curious and intrigued to know more about it and how Quero had found it. I wrote back to the author and asked fhim or more information and background details about the statue in the photograph: where the church was, in what country, who took the photo, was there a copyright, was the statue perhaps created from dead coral from a coral reef and then placed in the church as a statue of the Virgin Mary, and then , when was the photo taken?
"The statue was not made of coral but of regular limestone
," Quero told IPS.
"It was gnawed by the elements as it is on the pediment of a church located in Lorient, not far from the ocean, in French Britanny."
Quero, who is a novelist and a short story writer of international repute, added:
''I took this picture in 2011, but I never showed it before. I also have a close-up of the statue [which he attached; see here]. They may both be used. The first is probably a stronger image for the caption of the picture because of the cross above the church, but the second shows more cleary the damage to it by the elements in close-up.
And it could indeed be a good idea to show readers a non-deteriorated statue [see here] just to show viewers what the original might have looked like, long ago."
Iconic photographs such as this one might help communicate the dangers and risks of global warming to ordinary people in a powerful, emotional way, Quero said, adding that such pictures prove that the world needs to be more aware of global warming. If media outlets
can produce more photo stories about global warming, with a picture like the one he took in northern France, more people worldwide will be able to think about these things in a human, even religious way.
One person I showed this photo to in Taiwan told me: "Seeing that weather-worn Madonna photo about global warming effects and implications makes my hair stand on neck. It's unbelievable. I wonder when humankind can behave more responsibly for our Earth. We need to cooperate and take action immediately to save ourselves before it becomes too late. Global warming is a fact that we cannot have blind eyes to. This photo is chilling."
We shouldn't get too comfortable with the concept of global warming, Quero believes
, and that's why he is making his photo public now.
It's true, there's no point in terrifying the public with images of a kind of looming, inevitable apocalypse, according to most climate risk communicators. Instilling fear is no way to get
thingsdone, they say. But as the world after the
relaxes and gets more complacent, maybe a photo like the one Quero snapped five years ago could serve as
a usefulwake-up call to inspire us to work harder to avoid any potentially disastrous fate.