Climate of concern: A sculpture of a stranded polar bear floats down the River Thames in London on Jan. 26, 2009. Talk of climate change dominated the noughties, the hottest decade on record. The Kyoto Protocol went into effect in 2005, and at the close of the decade, world leaders met in Copenhagen to try to create a comprehensive climate agreement. Instead, only a weaker accord was reached. As problems such as climate change, terrorism, and swine flu transcend national boundaries and the world experiences the "rise of the rest," getting countries' to work together efficiently and harmoniously will be the next decade's challenge.
Check out some of FP's best 2009 photo essays:
?Planet Slum: Norwegian photojournalist Jonas Bendiksen spent six weeks living in the slums of Nairobi, then Caracus, Mumbai, and Jakarta. His remarkable panoramic images take us inside slum families' lives, revealing the profound human impulse to fashion not only shelter but a home. (Nov. 5, 2009)
?Edward Burtynsky's Oil: A decade of photographs exploring the impact of oil from the acclaimed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. (Oct. 9, 2009)
?Vova and Dima 4eva?: Does Russia's tandem still get along? (Sept. 16, 2009)
?A Whale of a Controversy: Japan's dolphin-hunting industry gets skewered in The Cove, a just-released documentary by director Louie Psihoyos. But after this year's setbacks at the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting, dolphins aren't the only marine mammals that are in trouble. (July 31, 2009)
?The Land of No Smiles: Renowned documentary photographer Tomas van Houtryve entered North Korea by posing as a businessman looking to open a chocolate factory. Despite 24-hour surveillance by North Korean minders, he took arresting photographs of Pyongyang and its people-images rarely captured and even more rarely distributed in the West. They show stark glimmers of everyday life in the world's last gulag. (April 20, 2009