Kolor is glad to let you know that we support the project: Saving Mount Everest. Let us meet with Martin Edstöm, photographer and journalist who will explain the waste management project.
- Martin, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Martin Edström, I am a freelancing photographer and journalist from Sweden. My main subjects are natural history, often in terms of environmental reportages, and human rights, often concerning stories about refugees and their situation in various corners of the world. I work both as a writing journalist and photographer, often combining these roles to tell stories. I work a lot with interactive journalism, trying to bring journalism to life a part from still images and text. Interactivity and immersion are incredible tools to bring the readers/viewers closer to a subject – and I want to make use of them. Today’s online journalism has not yet fully reached it’s potential – I think there are enormous possibilities of storytelling that we are still not using. Part of this got me interested in creating virtual tours with Kolor, as a new way of creating immersive ways of storytelling.
- Could you explain the project Saving Mount Everest?
The Mount Everest region has become a major tourism destination. Every year an estimated 30 000 visitors come to trek through the region, most of them heading for Mount Everest. Adding it all up, almost a hundred thousand people trek through this fragile ecosystem every single year. In 2011, the Saving Mount Everest cleaning team brought down over 8 tons of garbage from Mount Everest.
Since then the project, led by EcoHimal, has worked to improve the waste management in Sagarmatha National Park. Started by Everest Summitteers association as a cleaning campaign, the project has now grown to bring together governments and organisations working for preserving the wilderness close to Nepal’s greatest natural wonder. My role has been to document this, and to make people realise the problem – as well as the fact there is a sustainable solution to the problem. The next phase is about making a more immersive experience from the region – an experience through a 360 tour using Kolor software that brings the reader to the Himalayas.
- Why did waste become a problem?
The enormous growth in visitors has brought great strains on the natural environment and produced mountains of rubbish – from base camp and up to the high ‘death zone’. In Sherpa villages along the trekking routes there has never been a sustainable waste disposal system in place. As 50 tons of waste is left behind every season, the consequences have been an eyesore and a threat to the fragile environment. This is now changing for the better.
- The project has started, how things are going?
Things are going well – but there is much, much more to do. Sustainable waste systems doesn’t come easy anywhere in the world, and especially not in the Himalayas. Both more cleaning campaigns and more pro-active work is needed – as well as more information and knowledge spread about the problem and it’s impact. I hope I can help with the latter, through my ongoing work.
- Through this project, what kind of message do you want to transmit?
The reportages, exhibition and coming 360-experience about the Saving Mount Everest project means to tell the story about how the Mount Everest region ended up with such waste problems in the first place. This does not mean just showing the obvious problem or what hopefully is the solution.
- You wrote a book about this project, when it will be released, what can we find inside? Is it a kind of private journal?
The book will hopefully be released on time, in early 2014! Telling the story of the waste problem in a wider perspective, with focus on Saving Mount Everest, the book will introduce readers to Sagarmatha National Park; the old life in the region as well as the new life. Most important of all it will describe the model used for Saving Mount Everest, hoping that it might serve as an inspiration for other problem areas to start the same process of positive change.
- What other projects are you involved in?
Right now I am going to Jordan, to make an immersive 360-story about the Syrian refugees living in the huge city-like Zaatari refugee camp. The story about the refugees is hard to tell in just text and still photographs – people cannot understand the huge implications of all the refugees fleeing the Syrian war. I will create a 360 experience that lets the reader walk through the refugee camp as if they were actually there – and in the 360 experience they can listen to refugees tell their story. This is part of the immersive journalism I am working hard with implementing, as I believe a 360-experience story like this will help people to grasp news like they could never do from just text and photos in a newspaper. I want people to experience the story.
Kolor wishes you and your project a lot of success. We also encourage people to take care of nature… Kolor will keep you informed about the development of the project and its 360-experience.