We should all pause to remember and embrace the too-soon-lost life of Oregon environmental and climate change photographer Gary Braasch, who passed away March 7 while doing what he loved – snorkeling and photographing Great Barrier Reef.

Gary Braasch

Braasch’s life commitment to chronicling the impacts of a warming world leave an indelible and unmatched legacy for this and future generations. A designated “Nikon Photographer,” Braasch was as facile with his camera as he was with his pen and keyboard. He went anywhere and everywhere to capture climate images and share them with the global community. That he did so with such humility and grace and with such commitment to his trade only enlarged his reputation as the ultimate professional.

The Gary Braaschs in one’s lifetime come around far too seldom, and leave us, as here, far too quickly and unexpectedly. His death at age 70 leaves a void in climate communications and education efforts at a time when his work was most valued and needed.

Gary’s most recent images for this site were posted in the past three months as part of his work during the Paris COP meeting leading to historical global commitment to addressing anthropogenic global warming. That he lived to witness and experience that accomplishment only underscores the challenges still remaining as its fruits are borne over coming years. It’ll take hundreds of would-be Gary Braaschs still-to-come to make up for the one we and our planet have now lost. Rest in peace, Gary. You did good and did it exceptionally well.

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Bud Ward

Bud Ward was editor of Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as assistant director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission...