© 2022 Impact Photographer Filip Agoo.

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© 2022 Impact Photographer Filip Agoo.

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© 2022 Impact Photographer Filip Agoo.

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© 2022 Impact Photographer Filip Agoo.

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PASSION

Creating the change.

Being an Impact photographer means a lot to me. I can use my passion for  purposes I truly believe in. And want to stand up for. Like making people happy, helping to end deforestation, building schools, finding ourselves, saving wild animals, promote zero-waste or spreading the art of kindness.

These issues and many more concerns are all out for grabs. By anyone who wants to help out and create the change we need so badly right now. A majority of people on this planet do have an opportunity to chose what to do with their life. I am certainly one in that priviliged majority. My choice is to contribute to a kinder and happier human population. In all its forms and on all continents. Some may see it as a bold mission, others like something we should do by default.

Kindness starts with a large dose of humbleness. We share this planet with all animals, plants and organisms. Teaching kids to be kind to nature is an as obvious as important start. Inspiring them to be kind to others will give them the chance to enjoy the most powerful of all lifeskills. It goes without saying that these issues are worthwhwile to work with. I have seen it grow in my project ABC-Charity for more than 10 years. It has given me more than money can buy and I have no other intentions than to keep that going...

PASSION

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If kind is the new cool, education is the new gold. These kids enjoy their renovated classroom in a school in Kenya, knowing that an education will give them hopeful opportunities in life.

Cutting the branch.

In recent years I have been assigned to travel into the deep forests in Congo, Kenya and Cambodia. I went there to portray the deforestation and it's severe consequences. But also the bright sides of hopeful local projects making hands-on changes for something sustainable and much better. Tailored solutions with and by the indigenous people and local communities. On their true premises, and not as a one-size-fits-all solutions designed and dictaded by the rich world.

 

Deforestation is a not new thing to me, but now I've had the chance to see some of it myself. Fantastic and sad at the same time. A group of locals walked with me into a reinforest for ten days to meet the indigenous people who has been living there...well, more or less forever. A mindblowing experience to say the least, meeting the families, the chief and play with the kids...

On one side I saw the magical life that exists in these forests, on the other side all the obvious evidence that we, the humans, destroy them at a pace beyond comprehension.

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Wild kids raised by the tribe and community. Kind by nature, curious of course and happy. Hopefully living here in the same forest their entire life to see their kids play around in the same way one day. If the forest is still there. It has to be. There is no other way – for them and all of us.

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A forest ranger guard with confiscated chain saws from deforestation raids in Cambodia. The attiudes about what's right and wrong are slowly changing around the forests. I truly hope my images can help to make them change even faster...

Yes, it is obvious. We, the humans, are energetically cutting the branch all life is sitting on. Because of our constant strive for convenience, and due to our most fearful trait – greed. But the people I met deep in these forests were not greedy at all, despite me being a rep from the "enemy" – a white man from a rich society somewhere else. Rather they showed me the opposite – overwhelming generosity and kindness. And the happiness came from within themselves, not from ownership of stuff, having excess food in a fridge or being in charge of what reality show to watch on the TV. Mother Nature is their reality show. On all channels. Every day.

Hey, we can still do it!

The people I've met on these missions are fantastic. I learn so much from them every minute we hang together. I also have had the opportunity to learn how impactful changes can be made in a rather short time – if only the locals are in charge and the development changes are made along with nature, and not against her. That may seem pretty obvious, but the only programs and solutions that do work has to be done on local premises. With the people that know their nature the best, after living there in generations. The programs have to have their longterm and sustainable benefits in focus. The issue of trust is crucial. Unfortunately history unveils many programs implemented by us, the outsiders, where lack of knowledge, lack of listening and lack of understanding has affected the outcome negatively. And there are programs around with shady and hidden agendas in circulation. But I see hopeful signs pointing in the right direction, and many organizations and people that are working very hard, to do good.

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Women in the Kasigau Corridor, learning from each other how crops can be efficently grown vertically in order to use soil and areals better. No need to cut down more trees to grow more food...

So, absolutely yes, we are late on the transformation needed to keep the boundaries within the climate agreements signed in Paris, but there are still many fantastic examples showing how groundbreaking changes have been created. Great implementation examples showing sustainable paths away from the unhealthy patterns we have seen the last 50-100 years. Examples by people I am proud to have had the chance to meet and portray. Check out some of them here.