Visions of Sustainability
Credit: Dave Gilvear, Winner of the 2015 Visions of Sustainability photography competition

In 2015 we launched the Visions of Sustainability photography competition to highlight six key themes of research: health and well-being, sustainable societies, sustainable transport, climate action and resource efficiency, sustainable energy and sustainable food, agriculture and water.

The judges decided unanimously on the winner, Dave Gilvear, for his picture 'Salmon Fishing for the Future' which was entered into the sustainable food, agriculture and water category.

On this page you will find the winner and highly commended photos from each category, and you can view all the entries in our Visions of Sustainability 2015 booklet.

Thank you to everyone who entered their photos into the competition.

Dave Gilvear - Salmon fishing for the future

Overall winner 

This picture is of my daughter being taught about fishing for salmon on the River Forth in Scotland from one of the 'old boys' who has fished the river all his life. He is explaining how his different fishing flies mimic those of the insects found on the river. In the first instance it encapsulates sustainability in that it is the passing of information to new generations about how to use and enjoy the environment.

Read more in the booklet

Luke Gartside - Dave's plot

Highly commended: sustainable societies 

Dave lives in a small off grid community of self built homes in rural Cornwall. Sustainability and self sufficiency lie at the heart of the community, with all of the residents generating their own power using solar and wind technology and some, including Dave, keeping chickens and growing as much food as possible on their site.

Read more in the booklet


Jamie Quinn - Plymouth's new incinerator

Highly commended: sustainable energy

This shot of Plymouth’s new incinerator was taken from the main railway line, out of a train window. Although I have personal reservations about the sustainability of an ‘Energy for Waste Plant’, I guess it is more sustainable than landfill! This photo was taken during testing of the facility, before the completion of the construction of the plant.

Read more in the booklet

Ilaria Torre - Earth Hour

Highly commended: climate action and resource efficiency

The Earth Hour is a world wide event organised by WWF to take action against energy waste and climate change. Everyone in the world is asked to take part by switching the lights off for one hour, at 8pm. This year the Earth Hour saw millions of participants all over the globe, many iconic landmarks were switched off, and even Spider-Man sponsored it. I brought the Earth Hour to my house by having a candlelit dinner, which lasted so long, that we had the lights switched off for much longer than an hour!

Read more in the booklet


Clare Pettinger - Out of order

Highly commended: health and well-being

This photo presents an irony in relation to diet-related (ill) health, so I was compelled to capture it. This vending machine is located in a Plymouth based workplace that hosts public health practitioners. I think this is seriously out of order!

With obesity prevalence (and associated co-morbidities) reaching pandemic levels and leading to premature deaths, there is an urgent need to tackle the multi-faceted complex nature of our food system – with particular emphasis on how high energy/low nutrient dense food items (as known as junk food) are marketed, distributed (and consumed).

Read more in the booklet

Stephen Essex - Le Tram

Highly commended: sustainable transport

This photo is of ‘Le Tram’ public transport system opened in Brest in 2012. Not only has the new service provided a more efficient means of mass transportation around the city, but, now after a few years, the tram line itself is beginning to enhance and blend into the built environment. In early Spring, the tram line in parts of the city has become a ‘green’ path and habitat for wild flowers.

Read more in the booklet

Matthew Fox - Thermal image of the Plymouth University Roland Levinsky building

Special commendation: sustainable societies

This is a thermal image of the Plymouth University Roland Levinsky building. Whilst a photograph captures visible light to form a picture, a thermal image uses infrared radiation, to create a picture that portrays surface temperatures. In the field of sustainability it is important that society affords the opportunity for self-reflection. Offering a unique viewpoint, this thermal image represents one example of how Plymouth University reviews itself as part of its efforts to be a self-aware sustainable institution.

Read more in the booklet