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Photos of a Changing World: Russia’s Yamal Peninsula

An ongoing collaboration between Pacific Standard and NOOR Images.


(Photo: Yuri Kozyrev)

Yamal Peninsula in Russia is one of the world’s last great wildernesses. For 1,000 years, the indigenous Nenets people have made lives here. In summer they wander north, taking their reindeer with them; in winter they return south.

But this remote community in northwest Siberia is now under heavy threat from the consequences of global warming. Traditionally, the Nenets travel across the frozen Ob River in November and set up camp in the southern forests around Nadym. These days, though, their annual winter pilgrimage is delayed because the Ob simply isn’t freezing. Last year, the Nenets, together with many thousands of reindeer, had to wait until late December when the ice was finally thick enough to cross. “Our reindeer were hungry. There wasn’t enough pasture,” Jakov Japtik, a Nenets reindeer herder, said.

During the first week of COP22, Pacific Standard is partnering with NOOR Images, the Netherlands-based photography collective. Check back here for more photographs throughout the week, and visit Pacific Standard’sInstagram account, where we’re publishing two special photos each day from NOOR.