This is having an impact on both nature and man. Freshwater fish provide food for 200 million people and livelihoods for 60 million, the report says, and we depend on river ecosystems for water, sanitation and energy.
“It’s about inspiring people to become more aware of the natural world around them and once the connection is made, to change the way they behave, the way they act, the way they connect with the life around them, “Shelton tells CNN.
South African rivers in danger
“I am witnessing this widespread deterioration of the freshwater ecosystems around me and I am really motivated by the opportunity to be able to work on the conservation of some of these systems,” says Shelton.
He is involved in a number of freshwater conservation projects, such as the Cape Critical Rivers project, which focuses on the conservation of threatened species such as the Clanwilliam sandalfish and Barrydale’s redfin, and outdoor learning projects that aim to connect young people with river ecosystems.
But Shelton believes images have the power to go beyond borders and communicate the beauty of nature and the biodiversity crisis on a global scale.
“Through these images and the science that accompanies them, (I want to) open people’s minds to the beauty and fragility of life beneath the surface of our rivers and wetlands,” he says.
“I hope that through connecting with these invisible worlds, people will treat them a little more kindly and that people will be a little more thoughtful about how we live our lives and how we interact with these natural ecosystems. ”