Chile’s ecological progress and challenges portrayed through aerial views of its mines, deserts and energy projects With Atacama, Santa Fe-based photographer Jamey Stillings (born 1955) depicts aerial views of large-scale renewable energy projects, enormous mining operations and the stark beauty of the Atacama Desert, so often scarred by human activity.
Chile produces a third of the world’s copper and has the largest known lithium reserves, and we utilize these resources daily in our cars, computers and smartphones. The country’s mining industry has traditionally been dependent on imported coal, diesel and natural gas for its energy. Yet the Atacama Desert has excellent solar and wind potential: new renewable energy projects there now supply significant electricity to the northern grid, transmit power to population centers in the south and are reducing mining’s dependence on fossil fuel.
Stillings’ photography elicits a critical dialogue about meeting our needs while seeking equilibrium between nature and human activity.